Callie doesn’t have many options.
Since the Spore Wars decimated the population between the ages of twenty and sixty, including Callie’s parents, there has been a power play going on in society. The Enders are all the older generation that have survived. They’d already become a bigger part of the populace since their lifespan had increased exponentially over the years – it is now common for people to live to two-hundred. Because of this there were new laws enacted to maintain their ability to make a living – no one under nineteen is allowed to be employed.
Problem is, now that the Spore Wars have left so many orphans, the Starters are left to poverty and hunger with no real way of digging themselves out of that hole until they get to nineteen – if they survive that long. The only way to avoid this future is if you have a grandparent or any relative that lived – someone who will claim you and provide for you.
Callie, and her sick little brother Tyler, do not. They’ve been squatting with their friend Michael and hiding from renegades that would kill them for a cookie. Or less.
When an opportunity arrives where Callie is offered a lucrative deal to become part of Prime Destinations, she’s faced with a difficult choice. Prime Destinations creeps her out. It’s run by a cryptic figure called the Old Man. They rent out Starter bodies to Enders who want to feel young again. For three rentals you get a huge sum of money to have your mind put to sleep while someone else walks around with your body. It’s extremely weird.
But Callie is desperate. She’s sees no other way to get Tyler what he needs. So, she agrees. Even if it makes her sick to her stomach.
Yet things don’t go as planned. The neurochip they implanted in her brain malfunctions and she wakes up, mid-rental, living the life of the Ender who was joyriding her. She’s in a mansion, driving expensive cars, wearing designer clothes that could feed her and her brother for months, and suddenly dating a senator’s attractive son.
She’s afraid of going back to Prime Destinations to let them know about the malfunction, because she knows they won’t pay her the stipend if anything went wrong. She desperately hopes that the neurochip will kick back in, so she just plays along.
Then she finds out her renter is planning to use her body in a much more devious way than carousing. And it involves Prime Destinations, and an endgame that is far too horrible for her to ever have imagined…
I love the cover of Starters, as well as the premise. I was thrilled that Starters was speedily, excellently creepy and suspenseful, made better with a smart and swift tone and clipped pace. The stakes for Callie, Tyler, and Michael are made clear incredibly quickly… and it wasn’t long before my bibliophile soul was singing about how awesome sci-fi is!
A series of freaky events begin to occur when her third rental starts going wonky, which became quite a nail biter. I loved how Starters hypnotized me in a briskly moving, twisting plot. It’s the kind of book I love reading because there is pretty much no effort involved. You can read it in one sitting.
I really, really liked Starters. It was great escapist entertainment and intelligently done, with heart. My only small complaint was that *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* it reminded me a bit more of Meg Cabot’s Airhead trilogy than I wanted it to… which meant I guessed one of the twists rather rapidly, and was a little disappointed to be right.*END OF MINOR SPOILER ALERT*
But there’s some more twists coming, I can tell. I will look forward to reading Enders, the sequel, when it comes out later this year. Starters is more than worth reading – I just hope there’s a tad more originality in the revelations this time around.
And I’m sorry for having to put a spoiler alert in my review. I usually never do that. It’s just that sometimes it’s really hard to give an opinion without one. So, please do avoid reading it (if you haven’t already, that is) until after you’ve read Starters. I’d love to hear if anyone else felt the same way.
Anyway, I am still ecstatic that Enders is not going to be a long wait!