Published March 13th, 2012
HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVERStarters takes place in a strange society with some serious issues. As a citizen you are either extremely poor and live a life full of hardship, always running from authorities, or you're rich and have access to everything you ever could have wanted. Our main character, Callie is a minor in the first category, always running from place to place looking for shelter with her younger brother Tyler and good friend Michael.
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. . .
When the situation grows worse for the trio, Callie knows she will do anything to keep those she loves safe and secure. She turns to Prime Destinations, a shadily run operation that allows rich seniors to "rent" out the bodies of unfortunate minors who have no family and no other way to make money to live. She agrees to 3 rentals.. and the first two go off without a hitch, almost too easily. Callie begins to gain hope, thinking that this is their way out of the streets and extreme poverty they have been subjected to for years. However, the third rental makes things.. interesting.
Callie was a strong character with a big heart. She puts her brother in front of all else, subjecting herself to something she is terrified of doing. Even when things go awry and she wakes up during the third rental, able to communicate with her renter, her thoughts still stray to her brother. She had a strength about her that you don't usually see in these types of novels, and she thinks for herself, not easily swayed by the actions of others.
The mysteries behind Prime Destinations for so shady that it was a bit spooky. I found myself shivering at times, disgusted at others. The drive for power and money behind the Old Man (leader of the organization) was so strong that he'd do anything to get what he wants, even promising young children a bright future and then ensuring that they never wake up again. The Old Man was mysterious, never showing his true identity. I have a few suspicions as to who he is, but the author has done a good enough job masking him that I'm not certain in my suspicions in any way.
Starters was a great beginning to this duo-logy. The story had me on the edge of my seat for a good portion of the pages, always trying to figure out what the hell was going on, and why. so many questions were asked, and though many were answered, I'm still left with so much I need to find out. I can't wait until my next trip to the bookstore so I can pick up Enders and dig right in!