There are so many dystopian books out there for Young Adult readers, and some of them leave me feeling empty. Sometimes the point of dystopian books are for the author to showcase their world building skills. I always enjoy a book more when there's a healthy dose of world building. Starters doesn't disappoint with that. Since reading Divergent, I've been on the hunt for a good world building book and I think I've found it in this debut author novel. While the world building of Starters isn't perfect (I'll get to that in a second), I'm simply happy to see it at all. It really isn't done halfway.
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
I've read quite a few reviews for this book, and many people have a lot of gripes with the world building. I didn't see needing to know why the Spore Wars happened in the first place as being an issue. The book was written from the perspective of someone who would have been a preteen when the war broke out, so of course she wouldn't know the details. The only beef I have, like a lot of people, were the ages chosen for the spore vaccine. To combat the spore attacks, only the vulnerable populations were able to get vaccinated. For this society, that meant under 20 and over 60. But in a world where people can live up to 200 I'd think that 60 would be the new 30. The age choices didn't make sense to me. Mini-rant over.
That being said, let's get onto the good stuff. I couldn't keep myself away from this book! Even at work, I was itching for my lunch break to read it. It's a total page turner. Price fills the book with mystery, suspense, and some pretty darn good action. I think I'd recommend this book to fans of Stephenie Meyer's The Host. It's got the same amount of world building and suspense. And people inhabiting someone else's body. I can't wait to read the second and final instalment, Enders. It's expected to be out in December this year. Eight months!