Imagine a world that is populated only by the very young and the very old. Everyone in between has been killed by biological warfare because they weren’t vaccinated. Children and teenagers who don’t have living relatives survive day by day, living in abandoned buildings and scrounging for food. There is one company who offers a way out of poverty for teenagers who are willing to rent out their bodies to the elderly, who just want to feel young again. This is the situation that Callie finds herself in when we first meet her in Lissa Price’s amazing debut novel, Starters.
16-year-old Callie lost her parents when the ‘genocide spore’ wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first – the very young and very old. She and her little brother must go on the run, living as squatters, fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes in the form of the Body Bank run by a mysterious figure, known only as The Old Man. The Body Bank allows teenagers to rent out their bodies to ‘Enders’ – the elderly members of society – who want to be young again. But Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party in her body. She intends to commit murder.
I absolutely loved this book! Starters really stands out among all the other young adult science fiction/dystopian books being published at the moment. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and Lissa Price was constantly surprising me. There were so many twists and turns that I gave up on trying to figure out what would happen next. Callie is an intelligent, kick-butt female character that is always putting the safety and health of her brother over her own life. The reason she first goes to the body bank is to get the money she needs to make a good life for her brother, and she is constantly thinking about him and doing everything she can to make sure he’s safe. I liked that the story is told in first person from Callie’s point of view as it helps you understand her motives and you really feel the punch to the gut when she uncovers the truth. I loved the character of the Old Man because there is so much mystery surrounding him. He always seems to be just out of reach and you don’t really know who he is or what part he plays. I can’t wait to find out more about him in the next book.
Lissa Price is an extremely talented author and definitely one to keep an eye on. The sequel to Starters, called Enders, is due out in December 2012 so I’m glad I don’t have to wait long to read the next part of the story.
5 out of 5