Book Review: Starters

Starters (Starters #1)
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Page Count: 368
Source: Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

This was a very interesting concept; young homeless teenagers rent their bodies out to old rich people so they can earn enough to survive. It struck me as being a little like Dollhouse, the Joss Whedon series, but it quickly grew in different directions. (Still, I had a rewatch of Dollhouse while reading!)

The set up for this premise relies upon a devastating war between countries of the Pacific Rim area - USA, Japan etc... these wars are referred to here as the Spore Wars. During this time the USA was attacked using biological weapons which killed everyone except those who were vaccinated. The remaining population falls into two distinct groups - the underage Starters and the aging Enders. The class divide between the two is quite significant. I found that idea really interesting as a scientist, because it seems so plausible. Very good idea! 

The plot follows Callie, and her younger brother Tyler. Callie makes some harsh choices to try and earn enough money to buy a home, and ends up living the life of a rich Ender called Helena, who disturbingly seems to have rented Callie for the sole purpose of murdering someone. Callie wakes up in a nightmare scenario and through flashes of consciousness she has to figure out what is going on, where she stands in all of it, and if she can come out the other side and be there for Tyler. 

The story telling is excellent; it is well paced and the characters are colorful. The 'Old Man' in charge of Prime Destinations, the body bank, is truly loathsome and I have my suspicions about who he really is... I can't wait to find out! He wears a creepy digital mask which flashes all kinds of hideous pictures in 3D over his face... the menace of the unknown really works well in his favor. The plot is thick with twists and turns which will keep you guessing and the last few pages whip past at a rate of knots! 

I think this is one of the best dystopian books to come out since The Hunger Games blew the genre wide open, and I'd happily rate it alongside Matched by Ally Condie, Delirium by Lauren Oliver or Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It didn't quite hit the same level as Divergent by Veronica Roth to me, but I'd be happy recommending it to anyone who likes a great dystopian read.


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. . . .


  1. Oh wow, you make me want to read this one right now! I was disappointed when I was turned down from NG on this one, I'm not sure why. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy really soon!

  2. Fabulous review! I love the Hunger Games and I have been drawn to Starters over and over. I haven't purchased it yet- but from your review it is probably a book I will love. Thanks for sharing!



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