HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER
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 a fantastic--if not incredibly creepy--concept. It's set in a future United States. The Spore Wars happened, and through it came a virus that knocked out everyone between the ages of 20-60. So all your left with are really old people who've already lived their lives, and children with no parents. Most of the children are unclaimed minors, struggling to get by, with no help from adults. Kids turned to Prime Destinations, a facility where you pretty much sold your body to old people who want to relive their youth. Enders would rent the bodies of teenagers, living vicariously through these kids for a duration of time. And these teenagers allowed it because they needed the money.
To me, this idea, while scary yet fascinating, is extremely farfetched. To be pulled off, the world-building would've had to be phenomenal. And it just wasn't all there. Why did the Spore Wars happen? How is it even possible for something like Prime Destinations to exist? For this book to work, the reader has to buy into the story, buy into the possibility of being able to rent your body to someone else and come back totally scott-free. And for me, that just didn't happen. There were too many unanswered questions at the end of this story. Not suspenseful questions--but questions as to the plausibility of the world.
I had trouble connecting with the characters as well. I just couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to anyone. Callie was pretty badass at times I will admit, but I just never connected with her voice or her character. I thought that Blake was flat. There was nothing that made me love him. The Enders were ridiculous and selfish. It blew my mind that no one cared about taking care of the unclaimed minors, that they were all okay with living their lavish, ignorant lives.
Okay, this review is coming off as really harsh. I did like moments of Starters. I liked Callie's relationship with her brother, Tyler. How she'd do just about anything for him. I liked her strength. And if anything, Starters is a quick read and compelling--whether it's for the right or wrong reasons. I feel like this concept had so much potential. It pulled me in right at the beginning, but soon lost me. Overall, the writing was just lacking for me, and it made me feel removed from the characters. But I didn't hate this book or anything either. It was just a disconnect for me. I feel like maybe if I read this when I was in my full-out dystopia phase I would've liked it so much more. It's not that it's an awful book, it's just not the book for me right now. I'm sure people will read it and absolutely love it though.