Review: Starters

Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price
Release Date ~ March 13, 2012
Delacorte Books for Young Readers ~ Random House
ISBN13: 9780385742375
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis:

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. . .

Starters has been receiving a fair amount of hype coming up to its release, and because of this I was a tad wary of how it would turn out.
But I was so impressed with a dystopian that includes some fresh ideas, ones that distinguish it from all the other dystopian books next to it on the bookshelves!
  1. There is no purely "black versus white" battle:
    I really, really appreciated that Lissa didn't stick to typical dystopian themes with some super duper evil force out there, that just has to be overcome via revolution in some way. She carefully blends the two together, and you come to realize that the people Callie meets aren't quite as good (or as bad) as they first seem; this was truly refreshing and unexpected in a new YA dystopian riding the current trend.
  2. A subtle kind of creepy:
    The premise of Starters is extremely disturbing, but one that I found really became creeper the more I thought about it. You have old people... taking over young bodies... and the young people won't have any clue what they were doing while this happened. That is freaky. And that you have no idea who the person you're talking to really is, and wondering what other secrets Prime Destinations is keeping... because if they're doing weird stuff like this, you just know there's worse stuff coming.
  3. A Cinderella-esque feel:
    Okay, I mentioned this on Twitter and most people had no clue what I was talking about so maybe it's just me. But there really is a very subtle, yet distinct, Cinderella flavour to this story. It isn't a retelling at all- but I did pick up on what I saw was some influence on the story. I think people who liked Cinder may also enjoy Starters in a similar way, even though they're very different stories with different writing styles. But still, dystopian tales with rags to riches heroines and a fancy ball where they leave behind a shoe. Plus, they don't have parents.
  4. A mystery vibe:
    I also liked reading about Callie as she tried to put the pieces together and solve whatever it was that was going on; between trying to figure out the plans that Prime had, and exactly what it was Helena was trying to accomplish and why, Callie easily had lots of work for her to do.
But I also kind of felt that parts of the story were far slower than I would have liked; the flow wasn't entirely as smooth as it could have been, and it took a while for things to actually start happening. And the plot definitely has a few holes (it doesn't surprise me, and I don't expect flawless dystopian mysteries either) but overall it was extremely well done and the praise is well-deserved! I enjoyed this one far more than I expected to and I'm looking forward to its sequel.

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Precious said...

Hi Brenna! I enjoyed reading your review. I've had several opportunities to buy this book but I never did. I don't know. With all the hype and all the reviews pouring in...I think I just lost my interest for some reason. But I'm glad that I stumbled upon your review! You've convinced me. :)

Unknown said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book Brenna! I don't think it's necessarily for me - I don't read a lot of dystopian, but I am kind of intrigued by the mystery and overall creepiness of it. The cover kind of turns me off though - it just seems really, I don't know, kiddish?

ChristasBooks said...

I like how you pointed out it's not as simple as "good vs evil" in this book. It truly is a bizarre set of circumstances and it makes for a interesting read.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I like that you describe it as a subtle kind of creepy, it's so true. I had a few issues with this story in a few places as well, with the slow going parts. I can kind of see what you mean by the Cinderella feel to it. Great review!

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