Book 35: Starters by Lissa Price
Author: Lissa Price
Page Count: 336
Genre: Dystopia/science fiction
The Spore Wars killed everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. Teens aren’t allowed to work, so those without grandparents to claim them are left to wander the streets, begging for food. Sixteen-year-old Callie’s only option is a place called Prime Destinations, a place where teens can rent out their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. Three rentals, and she’ll have enough money to get a real home for her and her sick brother. But what happens when the chip placed in her malfunctions, and she wakes up to discover that the woman renting her body plans to commit a murder?
I had such high hopes for this novel. I love dystopian novels, and I love the name Callie, so this book seemed great. Plus the title was pretty and the premise sounded really interesting. I was thrilled when I finally got this book from the library. I started reading it right away. And then things fell apart.
I couldn’t get into this book. I tried. I really did. I eventually put it down and read another book instead. Then another. Then another. I generally try not to start another book until I finish the one I’m on, so to have me read three books before I finally finished this one is saying something. The characters felt sort of weak. The love triangle felt obligatory and didn’t really lead to anything. I especially didn’t understand why Callie and Blake would be drawn to each other, especially towards the end of the book.
I didn’t really start to get interested until the middle of the book, when Callie and her renter start really communicating, and even that was only slightly more interesting. Around page 200 I started to care a bit more and actually enjoyed reading it for a while, but that was almost 2/3 into the book, and by that point I had already contemplated stopping reading several times by that point.
The character of Sara seemed thrown in to remind Hunger Games fans of another character of the same age in that series. The quote on the cover of this book says that fans of the Hunger Games will love it, but that wasn’t the case with me, and it felt like they were trying too hard. A sixteen-year-old girl has to leave behind her younger sibling and the guy she doesn’t like but sort of does to go risk death to make a lot of money so that they can all live a great life. She keeps thinking about her father. Other people are controlling her life without her really knowing it, at least for a while. It just…it doesn’t work, at least not for me.
The ending as a whole felt anti-climactic and sort of thrown together. If an author feels the need to spend several pages summarizing everything that happened in the book in order for the ending to make sense, something has clearly gone wrong. The very, very ending of the book was supposed to be surprising, but I had already been predicting that for at least 40 pages by that point, so I wasn’t surprised. That is, however, the only reason I would read the second book, due out later this year: I’m curious to see the rationale behind that.
Overall, I had force myself to keep reading this book, and there were so many loose ends and things that didn’t really make sense. It was a good premise that didn’t live up to my expectations. I think I actually enjoyed Twilight more – that’s how much I disliked this book.