March 3, 2012

REVIEW: Starters by Lissa Price

Title: Starters (Starters #1)
Author: Lissa Price   Website | Twitter
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 13 March 2012
Format: Netgalley, ebook *
GR Summary:
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.

My Review:
In Starters, Lissa Price introduces this futuristic world occupied by seniors called Enders and teens called Starters. This world takes place a year after the Spore Wars that killed off people between the ages of twenty and sixty. Living in this world is Callie Woodland. Orphaned at a young age with her little brother, Tyler and best friend Michael, they are constantly on the move. The three of them are squatters, moving from the next abandon old building to the next hoping to avoid marshals and renegades. Callie promised her father she’d take care of Tyler and her dream is to have a permanent roof over their heads. The only solution seems to be Prime Destinations, a sort of clinic that uses young bodies for Enders to rent in order to relive their youth, literally. Although the pay is good, Callie doesn’t realize the danger she is in the moment she decides to rent her body out for the first time. Her renter, Helena, has other plans to use Callie’s body for.

From the first page I was immediately intrigued by Starters. At first, I was a little confused in the beginning but as I got into the story, everything became clear. Lissa’s writing style is lovely and has a great flow. The way she writes is easy to understand. It’s not difficult to visualize what she intended to set up in Starters. Some aspects of the story such as Callie and Helena’s tandem reminded me of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host and Callie’s make-over team was very reminiscent to Katniss’s team during The Hunger Games, which I loved. 

The world that Lissa has built up is a little chaotic, but seemingly advanced with all the fancy technology. I loved the world Lissa created because it’s so different from other futuristic novels I’ve read. There seems to be a government, but they are not the center of the book’s attention. The age gap in Starters is very interesting. It’s unbelievable to imagine a world with only seniors and young people walking around. Also, the thought of seeing unclaimed, homeless kids running around trying to survive is a brilliant parallel to the rich and privileged Enders whose lives are nearly endless with all the new found technology keeping them from dying off. I liked being able to compare the different worlds of the two: the rich vs. the poor.

What I enjoyed with Starters the most was the overall plot. I love how the main focus is on the facility, Prime Destinations or more commonly known as the body bank to the protagonist. In the world that Callie lives in, it’s not unusual, especially for an unclaimed, to rent their body to a senior for money. However, there is nothing innocent when it comes to dealing with Prime Destinations. Under the glamour of advanced technology, endless beautification and irresistible cash, something dark and sinister lies deep within this facility that has something to do with the ever mysterious Old Man. The idea of renting was downright creepy and slightly disturbing to me. I could never imagine allowing anyone to take over my body and having no control of what they did to it. It really scares me that Callie allowed this. However, Lissa really draws you in with this idea. It’s what made me want to read this story because I have never encountered anything like it before. It’s so fascinating and maybe even a little thrilling.

This book is in the point of view of Callie. She’s a Starter, young and unclaimed; left to care for her seven year old brother, Tyler, after her parents die from the spores. I instantly liked Callie from the start of the book. I connected with her quickly. I really feel for her. What she’s going through is tough, having to live on the streets, trying to survive day after day. I completely understood the decisions she made throughout the novel and I get that she did all of it for Tyler. Callie is strong-willed, determined and self-less. She’s sets her mind on something and she goes through with it. She’s young, realistic and bound to make mistakes and this what makes her a great character. She’s a fighter for what is right. Callie really had me aching for her throughout the whole book. I wanted to comfort her and shield her from the sick world she lived in.

There seems to be a shadow of a love triangle happening with Callie’s best friend Michael and the rich and privileged, Blake, but it’s still too early in the series to tell where it’s going and if there really is one. I do wish to have gotten to know Michael more. He was like a ghost to me and not prominent in the book at all. However, Blake captured my heart from the moment he opened his mouth. He was a complete sweetheart, very concerned with Callie and so charming. I do have to say that their romance for each other developed pretty quickly to me, but the way Callie felt for Blake had me trusting him to no extent. 

I have to say that Starters has this profound mystery to the story. Nothing is what and who they seem to be. I was more than propelled to read further. The unknown of this book was begging for me to uncover it. The never-ending plot twists really had me mind blown and definitely left me gasping from shock. I was literally at the edge of my seat from the excitement. The build up was perfect and the revelations were truly jaw-dropping. The ending left me with a little sad and bittersweet feeling with a tinge of hopefulness, but also with an unnerving feeling of what’s to come in the second book.

Overall, Starters is highly compelling novel that is full of tricks and surprises with every turn of the page. I definitely recommend this book to anyone.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for allowing me to read and review this book. In no way do they influence my opinion/thoughts of this book. It is solely my own.

Pre-order Starters:
B&N | Amazon


  1. This book sounds so interesting. To be honest the cover kind of freaks me out-but in that way that totally makes me want to read it! It sounds like you really enjoyed this book! Defiantly going to have to check this one out! Awesome review Jessiare!

    1. The cover is pretty creepy right? But it's the reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place. I really did love this one. I hope if you check it out too, Bailey!

  2. This book looks really interesting. I love dystopians, so I think I'll have to check it out! Great review!

    1. Thanks Benji! I hope that when you pick it up you'll enjoy it too!

  3. This review is the first I've heard of Starters. It sounds good! I'm a bit confused; is it YA or MG?


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