Starters by Lissa PriceStarters by Lissa Price

Starters

byLissa Price

Paperback | July 23, 2013

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An international bestseller published in over thirty countries, this riveting sci-fi dystopic thriller is “a bona fide page-turner.” --MTV.com

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.

Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined. . . .

Includes Portrait of a Spore, a never-before-published short story that takes place in the world of STARTERS.

Praise for STARTERS:

“A smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author DEAN KOONTZ
 
“Compelling, pulse-pounding, exciting . . . Don’t miss it!” —New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr

“Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best.” —Los Angeles Times
 

“Intriguing, thought-provoking and addictive.” —BookReporter.com
 
“Readers will stay hooked. . . . Constantly rising stakes keep this debut intense.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Fast-paced dystopian fiction. . . . The inevitable sequel can’t appear soon enough.” —Booklist
 
"Intriguing, fast-paced . . . Fans of dystopian novels will be completely engaged and clamoring for the sequel." School Library Journal

“Addictive and alluring.” —Examiner.com
 
“Chilling and riveting.” —Shelf-Awareness.com
 
“A must-read for fans of The Hunger Games and Legend. Fast-paced, romantic, and thought-provoking.”Justine

LISSA PRICE is the award-winning international bestselling author of STARTERS, published in over thirty countries, and ENDERS. She has lived in India and Japan but now resides in Los Angeles. You can visit her at www.LissaPrice.com and follow her on Twitter at @Lissa_Price and Facebook at @LissaPriceAuthor.
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Title:StartersFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.2 × 5.55 × 0.92 inPublished:July 23, 2013Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385742487

ISBN - 13:9780385742481

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I absolutely loved this book. It was so hard to put down.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A great sci-fi/dystopian book This book made me think about the Animorphs series and The Host, with two minds in the same body. This one was pretty good, but I don't think I will read the sequel.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad, worth the read I loved the idea behind this book. An interesting concept that makes for good reading for a novel that features dystopia themes. Although it’s not that much different from your usual themes (your usual plague ridden society, with the poor suffering, and the rich being..well rich) it was still worth a read and I rather enjoyed it. The world building and setting is well written and provides a good foundation for reading. I can’t say I really like Callie though. Sure, who wouldn’t like to live the life of the Ender with all that luxury but she’s not that likable (and you just have those moments where you shake your head and think to yourself ‘really? REALLY? DID YOU JUST DO WHAT I THOUGHT YOU JUST DID?’) and Blake. I really don’t know what the appeal is with him. Sure Callie, he’s cute and all and he’s a lovely treat to look at. That’s ok right? Because poor Michael is back there at home with your suffering brother wondering where the heck you are. But that’s ok, you can walk all over Michael while you fawn over Blake like a lovesick cow. I have no patience for that kind of stupidity. Really. So aside from the characters that don’t really appeal to me, I still thought the book was worth the read. It’s a good addition to one’s collection of dystopian fiction. Give it a try. I’ll be reading Enders (sequel to this) for sure just to see where the story ends up. (Also if my prediction ends up being correct..)
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pulled me in! I love the concept of this book and I feel like it hasn't been done before. I was honestly skeptical after seeing MTV as a stared review on the book, since I don't think of MTV as book knowledgeable, but was pleasantly surprised!
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great!! Whoa! Whoa! What a great book! It was different, exciting, intriguing, ahhh!! This book was so good, I loved it so much! I had a few very minor problems with it, but mostly I just wished there was more back story, or more explanation about what happened and how and why in better detail, to make the world the way it was in the book. But other than that, I really, really enjoyed it and I can't wait to get my hands on the second one!
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Bad I enjoyed this book, it was slow at times but had a very interesting plot. The future portrayed in this book felt like it could actually one day become a reality in our own world.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good I wasn't thrilled about the story but it's a nice read to pass time and enjoyable.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So good Callie is an orphan but not alone because she also lives on the street with her brother Tyler, and neighbor Michael. Their will to survive is so much stronger now that the population only consists of teenagers who are called Starters and seniors called Enders. An underground organization takes teenagers for seniors to rent out their bodies for a given time. Depending on the teen, the Ender will be able to do things as bungee jump or drive fast cars, something their bodies aren’t capable of doing. In a desperate attempt toff money, Callie becomes a Starter and soon finds herself in a world where murder reigns supreme and getting out alive is the ultimate goal. Started off rather well and i was excited when Callie was on her way to renting out her body, but the mystery that she was unwinding was weak. Now the premise of the story got me thinking.. what is with the organization that created this service and what’s the point? I couldn’t understand it. There are so many questions left unanswered that I was surprised I actually finished the book. I guess I was hyped up about Starters in the first place and managed to come into it with high expectations. If was an enjoyable read, and I do wonder how everything will play out, so Enders will have to answer all my questions.
Date published: 2014-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER! This is a non-stop book - couldn’t put it down. If you liked the Hunger Games this may be another one for you to read. Can’t wait until Enders come out!
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique! How weirdly amazing would it be to enter someone else's body and experience their daily life? Pretty cool huh? Well this book is just that. Callie, a sixteen year old girl, is an orphan, living, or rather squatting, with her younger brother Tyler, and her friend Michael. These three have to constantly move around deserted buildings due to marshals' searches. One day, Callie decides to rent out her body to an Ender in order to support Tyler, Michael and herself. What at first seems like a harmless and rewarding task becomes a frightful and life changing event, one filled with frustration, broken hearts and eventually, death. Callie must find a way to escape this horrific and frustrating nightmare and she will do everything in her power to find Tyler and make a good life for him, just like they used to have when their parents were still alive. Starters was such a unique and surprisingly well told story, one that I could hardly put down and one that I know I will never forget. I cannot wait until 'Enders' hits the book stands. Counting down the days until 12/04/12!
Date published: 2012-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Starters (Starters and Enders #1) by Lissa Price Starters takes place in a post-apocalyptic, futuristic, dystopian world where a large part of society has been affected by a biochemical war that killed everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. Starters are children under nineteen years of age, those just starting out in life, and Enders who are over the age of sixty-one. The bridge between poverty and wealth is vast and the Starters must work hard every day in order to survive. The story is told from the viewpoint of Callie Woodland who lives on the streets with her younger brother Tyler and friend, Michael. Against her better judgement, Callie turns to Prime Destinations to rent out her body so the rich and old can briefly experience virtual youth. However, what seems to be a painless means to gain money for a home and medical care for her brother goes astray when Callie wakes up in her renter’s life and finds out that Prime Destinations is not what it seems to be. Callie quickly finds out that her renter, Helena Winterhill, is planning to murder someone. Terrified, Callie pretends to be her renter to avoid suspicion in order to secure her payment, but also tries to escape Helena’s plan that would surely lead to her arrest and execution. Along the way, Callie finds herself developing a relationship with a handsome and cunning rich teen, Blake Harrison, who is the grandson of a senator. Time is of the essence and Callie soon finds herself being pulled deeper into Helena’s scheme. Under the bright façade of Prime Destinations lies a deeper world than Callie could have ever imagined. Will Callie find herself carrying out Helena’s plan or will she stand back and let the Enders of Prime Destinations win? Callie’s voice and strength captured me from the beginning. She has been thrown from living a normal life with her family into an unfortunate situation that she faces with great determination. Starters’ focus primarily is on Callie and Helena’s life, but not enough on the development of the other characters. I would have loved to have seen more of the Blake and the other renters. The beginning of Starters was gripping and emotional, but fell flat in the middle. However, what I did love was the ending. It took me completely by surprise and I was in shock at how much Callie was being played and monitored. Starters is fully entrancing and impossible to draw away from. The plot contains many twists and turns that reels you more deeply into the book and leaves you wondering will happen next. Enders, the second and final book in this enchanting series will hit bookstores December 11, 2012. Keep an eye out for it!
Date published: 2012-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for fans of Divergent! Are we all familiar with the awesomeness that is Total Recall? If not go out and rent it. We'll wait ... Ok now that we're all caught up, that excellent movie was based on an even more amazing book called We Will Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K Dick. That book is filled with awesome and cyber-punky action and Starters by Lissa Price reminded me of it in so many ways. This book is full of action right from the get go. It doesn't hold back - it just throws you right in. I loved it. It's been awhile since I've read a book that's had me right on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, waiting to see what happens next. The cover blurb compares this book to the Hunger Games. This drives me crazy. I don't know why there's this obsession with comparing everything to the Hunger Games when there's a more perfectly suited comparison. If you're looking for a real comparison think more Divergent. Starters has a more urban, action movie feel, rather than the dystopian feel of the Hunger Games. In addition to the action, this was also a really unique story. Has it just been me but has every YA sci-fi/dystopia felt incredibly similar lately? Well thankfully Starters was a breath of fresh air. The story wasn't predictable, and it held my attention from the beginning to end. Best of all I thought I had the big twist at the end all figured out and I was wrong. I know that probably sounds weird but I would much rather be surprised than be able to guess everything that was going to happen. Finally, I adored the main character, Callie. Mostly because she was so completely motivated by her love for her younger brother. Incredibly admirable. But I also loved her because she took action. She refused to let herself be a victim and didn't just let things happen to her. All of that equals a pretty boss young lady in my mind. This is a really fun book and if you're looking for an exciting read that really packs a punch this will be right up your alley. Perfect for fans of Divergent, The Maze Runner, Cory Doctorow, and young (or young at heart) Philip K Dick readers This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com)
Date published: 2012-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fast paced and gripping This was the kind of novel that kept me up late reading with a little book light because I just couldn't stand to put it down. There were many turns I didn't see coming, and a few I did, all together I was not at all expecting Starters to turn out the way it did. I read a lot of reviews before I decide to buy a book, the main complaint other people had with Starters was they felt it left a lot of questions unanswered. I didn't find this to be a problem being that the novel is written in first person and Callie doesn't know all the answers either. I am very excited for Enders to come out, and I hope you enjoy Starters as much as I did.
Date published: 2012-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling New Read Starters by Lissa Price is a new story in the world of teen dystopian sci-fi that fascinates and terrifies all at the same time. Pit Callie against Katniss and I'd be hard pressed to guess which heroine would be victorious. Callie has lost her parents to The Spore Wars and is now an unclaimed minor. She is also responsible for her brother Tyler who is only 7 years old and ill. They live in a world of adults mostly over the age of 60, some who are as old as 200, called Enders and kids under 20 called Starters. Very few people between 20 and 60 (known as Middles) received the vaccine that Starters and Enders did. Running from the Marshalls and Unfriendlies, staying safe, warm and fed is difficult on top of all that Tyler needs medicine. What's a girl to do when she promised her father she'd look after her little brother? Callie looks into Prime Destinations as a way to make some money and possibly give them back a little bit of the life they were used to. What she discovers brings to mind the old adages 'Be careful what you wish for' and 'If it seems to good to be true, it probably is'. The Enders are 'renting' the bodies of Starters to feel young again but some young wealthy Starters have gone missing and their Grandparents are wondering why. Callie's journey to answer that question leads her on a thrilling ride that I guarantee you won't always be able to predict! The writing is vivid while the way the characters relate and interact with each other will alternately have you cheering, hoping and grinding your teeth in anger or disgust. If you are looking for an incredible gut-wrenching, page turning, twisty turny, didn't see that coming romantic adventure, what are you waiting for, you've found it in Starters. I can not wait to read Enders, though I guess I'll have to!
Date published: 2012-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting book! Starters is definitely a unique book. The idea of young adults renting out their bodies to seniors is both appalling and intriguing. The technology behind it, the reasoning. This sort of thing is reserved only for those that can afford it, and it's kept strictly under wraps from the general public. The old people keep getting older and richer while the young were just seen as nuisances. Why not put those useless but working bodies to use? Callie, having had to take care of her brother on her own, is quite the independent individual. She's strong willed and is willing to give up her personal freedom for the betterment of her family. When faced with a dilemma she tended to think things through rather that jump into action. She weighs her decisions carefully and I appreciated a character with a little bit of common sense. Mrs. Winterhill, or as she is to Callie, the 'voice', is the woman who is renting Callie's body. But the chip implanted in Callie's head goes haywire and she becomes in control of her body again, with the exception of hearing Mrs. Winterhill's voice in her head, and she has a lot to warn Callie about. At first I thought she was a woman with crazy ideas, as did Callie, but as she learns more about her renter, the corporation, and the seedy Old Man behind it all, her warnings couldn't be clearer. And I found myself warming up to her as much as Callie did. Blake is the normal son of a prominent government official, who also takes an interest in Callie. Their relationship was a little flat for me, and I felt it progressed too quickly for the time they knew each other. He seemed like a nice guy, but his intentions always seemed unclear to me. We'll see what role he plays in book 2, along with Callie's friend Michael. The pacing of the story was slower than I'd expected, with time passing in days or minutes. Sometimes Callie would 'lose herself' to Mrs. Winterhill and she'd wake up confused and seek out clues to what had happened while she was out. Mrs. Winterhill was a very busy bee and had quite the plan set up. I loved the conspiracy theory going on behind everyone's backs and appalled at the reactions of some people. And the end of the book took me completely by surprise. To me it played out like the end of an action movie where you get this big reveal and then it cuts to the credits. Completely shocking and oh so frustrating! There's plenty that could happen in book two, and I can't wait to see what'll happen! Bottom Line Starters is a unique story of a world where teens' bodies are rented out to seniors. The secretive company behind it all is hiding a sinister plan and there are people who won't stand for it and will do whatever, or use whoever, it takes to stop them. There's a couple shockers thrown in and Callie manages to keep her bearings throughout it all. She's been through a lot but there's more to come in Enders. Check this one out! Review from my blog: http://allofeverythingforyou.blogspot.ca/2012/03/review-starters-by-lissa-price.html
Date published: 2012-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fast-Paced Dystopian! The cover for Lissa Price's Starters seriously freaks me out. There's something about the stark white and metallic grey cover, and the girl's unnatural eyes that makes me want to look away, only to stare right back at it again. With so many dystopian novels being unleashed onto shelves lately, I was rather weary at first about reading Starters, but its fresh concept and science fiction influence still managed to spark my curiosity! Lissa Price has envisioned a terrifying world in her debut novel where a deadly weaponized spore has wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty... and forced Starters, young teenagers, to rent out their bodies to the wealthy seniors called Enders who wish to recapture the feeling of youth. When Callie first walks through the doors of Prime Destinations, she only has the desperate intention of getting enough money to help her younger brother Tyler, their friend Michael, and herself, lead a better life. But everything goes wrong on what should have been Callie's final time giving up her body when her chip malfunctions. Her renter, a rich Ender by the name of Mrs. Winterhill, has been looking into Prime Destinations suspicious dealings... but their plans are more sinister than anyone could have imagined. While I really liked the premise and how it expands on modern concerns such as the lengths people would go to avoid growing older, I did think there were some inconsistencies with the storytelling. The romance came across as rather weak, and I didn't really understand why Callie would go out on a few dates with a handsome boy named Blake when she had such greater problems resting on her shoulders. While we later realize that Blake being the son of a senator plays an important factor in the novel, the relationship between Callie and him could feel so awkward at times for me. If you're looking for a fast-paced dystopian novel which ends with a twist, then I'm sure you'll be loving Lissa Price's debut novel Starters! There may have been a few areas that could have been more fleshed out, but I can't deny the novel was quite addicting to read once I began. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this two-book series will conclude when Enders is released later in the year. Callie is not out of danger yet and there are still more questions that need to be answered. You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.ca/2012/04/starters-by-lissa-price-giveaway.html
Date published: 2012-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC DEBUT! The Spore Wars have left the United States ravaged. Citizens of middle age are all but destroyed. Starters and Enders live in a world of extremes, where the very old tread on the very young...unless they want to rent them. From beginning to end, Lissa Price has built a world that is dark, fascinating, and compelling. Her characters scream from the spine, enticing the reader through a flurry of twists, turns, and pages before leaving him or her breathless and ready for more. Fans of dystopian will fall in love with Starters, and will fall into a fantasy in which they can't help but wonder — could this happen in our world?
Date published: 2012-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommend!!! “Starters” is not just your daughter’s (or in my case) granddaughter’s novel. Lissa wrote an exciting page turner and did not “dumb down” to attract younger readers. I was fascinated by the cover and was curious to learn this cover girl’s story. It’s an intriguing concept…young people called Starters left to fend for themselves due to the Spore Wars that wiped out everyone between the ages of 20 and 60. Callie, the main character, is orphaned and left to not only fend for herself but to also care for her younger, sickly brother. She’s scared, desperate and makes a decision that ultimately takes her to a frightening place. Prime Destinations hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders – seniors who want to be young again. Romance, intrigue, murder…who could ask for anything more? Well, I can. I’m anxiously awaiting Lissa’s follow up novel, Enders.
Date published: 2012-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT READ Was very intrigued from the moment I saw the stunning cover and was not disappointed with the entertaining read that followed. This novel kept my interest from start to finish and I really liked the gutsy personality of the main character, Callie! Enjoyed the many twists and turns ( many unexpected ) throughout the storyline and I found myself wanting to continue reading whenever time permitted. One of those page turners that's difficult to put down. I am very much looking forward to reading the continuing story in the upcoming novel, Enders, which will be debuting later in the year. A definite Thumbs Up!!
Date published: 2012-04-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyed the world Lissa Price created Starters by Lissa Price is a novel I walked into with very high expectations. Throughout the months prior to it's official on-sale date there was much hype on the blogsphere when it came to Starters. First and foremost, the extremely positive feedback. With an overall rating (at the time) of 4 solid stars on Goodreads and various other review sources, I was sure Starters would be a novel I would love. Additionally, the recently released trailer for the novel, which was phenomenally done by the way, instantly pulled me in, begging me to pick up the novel immediately and read it. Starters by Lissa Price tells the devastating story of Callie, a squatter who lives on nearly nothing along with her companions Tyler and Michael. Keeping away from the renegades who want to kill them is tough enough, but trying to find food in order to survive is proving to be even more of a challenge. That's when Callie decides to visit Prime Destinations, a chilling Beverly Hills establishment. What is Prime Destinations responsible for? They hire teens in order to rent out their bodies to Enders; senior who want to know what it feels like to be young again. It pays well and Callie is desperate for money. With that said, Callie agrees to be a donor. As I mentioned earlier on in my review, I had exceptionally high expectations for Starters by Lissa Price. What I was looking for was a post apocalyptic title with a romantic and mysterious twist that would instantly have me calling it one of my top 2012 YA reads. Unfortunately, my experience with Starters wasn't exactly all that I had hoped it would be. Callie was an exceptional character, one that I instantly connected with. She had a ferocious need to survive and that very need of hers is what made Starters so inevitably emotionally clinging. However, besides that, I found myself being quite confused by the storyline. Starters, in my experience, felt quite random. When I first dove into the novel, I found myself quite intrigued by the setting and events that were taking place. Unfortunately, I was completely lost by Starters' ongoings after Callie's second rental. I just couldn't make much sense of what was going on. Questions kept roaming through my mind; "What exactly led to this?" and "Wait a moment, this doesn't quite make any sense at all". Needless to say, I found Starters' events to be quite random and unappealing, but that isn't to say that I found myself completely unsatisfied by the novel. As a science fiction title, I found myself enjoying the world Lissa Price created quite a bit. It was unique and instantly captivating. I just really wish the events weren't so spontaneous.
Date published: 2012-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Much To Love A few months ago I noticed this book was getting a lot of discussion on blogs. When I heard it being mentioned with THE HUNGER GAMES I decided to pre-order a copy for my niece. The copy arrived last week and the cover looked so fascinating, and the reviews were so glowing, I decided to take a peek at the first few pages. I'm now going to have to purchase another copy for my niece, otherwise I'll be giving her a used book. I couldn't put STARTERS down. After opening with scenes that put Dickens to mind, with the grime treatment of orphans and the hardships the courageous youth had to overcome every day in a disparate, post-war society, the story took a turn that gave the heroine a chance to live a fairy tale dream in a rich other life. What makes this transition so satisfying is that the girl must make a terrible choice in order to achieve this other life. In an effort to earn money to help her sick little brother, the heroine allows herself to become a part of the body bank. At the body bank extremely rich, extremely senior citizens can rent youth via computer chip mind control, putting old minds in young bodies. Only in the heroine's case the computer chip fails and the girl wakes up in her wealthy renter's life. The twists and turns start coming quick when the fairy tale becomes a nightmare. The girl learns her renter had criminal plans for her and then the awful truth about Prime Destinations, the company that owns the body bank. But that's only the first of the reveals. They keep coming like a fast-paced thriller wound around the thread of a Cinderella romance when the heroine meets a rich senator's son and starts to fall in love with him. However, even the romance is not what it seems. I think what so fascinated me about STARTERS was how real and possible it felt. The heroine immediately reminded me of my grandmother, orphaned at the age of eleven and the eldest of four children. In the STARTERS' world where so many youth are left unclaimed due to war, I thought of my grandmother's stories and others she told of the many children left alone due to disease, death or just neglect. In my grandmother's case, when her parents both died less than a year apart, relatives arrived, but instead of coming to aid the newly orphaned children, my grandmother's relatives came to fight over who would get the curtains and the stove. I suppose difficult times do strange things to people and in the STARTERS' world the times are clearly difficult. It's wonderful, though, to read of the heroine's triumph against such odds and in such circumstances. Her struggle is far from easy, but then this young heroine is mighty tough.
Date published: 2012-03-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from This book had so much potential... You can read all of my reviews at http://www.alluringreads.blogspot.com I was very excited for this novel, the premise intrigued me and the cover is absolutely stunning. As they say, never judge a book by its cover! It started out with promise, Lissa Price did a great job of showing the tough, gritty life that Callie and her loved ones were facing everyday post war. But then the flaws just started flowing, heavily! My first question was why are there all of these "unclaimed minors"? Sure, following the spore wars everyone between the ages of 20-60 died due to limited vaccines and the government prioritising the most at-risk (people under 20 and over 60) but why weren't any of these kids claimed? The author created a world where only rich grandparents cared about their grandchildren and all the middle-lower class kids were abandoned and left to become bottom feeding alley dwellers. Seriously, think about it? How many people don't have someone in their family over 60? I would say not too many. The relationships were also heavily flawed. The connection between Blake & Callie held no merit from the very beginning, which is kind of explained in the end, but it was never believable to begin with. The character of Micheal was never explored enough for us to build a connection to what he and Callie could possibly have between them. I feel like that was a big overstep because he clearly cared about her and her little brother, so there could have been real emotion there. In the end, there was a few twists that did take me by surprise. No one was as they seemed, but it just wasn't enough to leave me asking for more. This is a book that I will not be recommending to anyone looking for a good read.
Date published: 2012-02-22

Read from the Book

Chapter OneEnders gave me the creeps. The doorman flashed a practiced smile as he let me into the body bank. He wasn’t that old, maybe 110, but he still made me shudder. Like most Enders, he sported silver hair, some phony badge of honor of his age. Inside, the ultramodern space with its high ceilings dwarfed me. I walked through the lobby as if gliding through a dream, my feet barely touching the marble floor.He directed me to the receptionist, who had white hair and matte red lipstick that transferred to her front teeth when she smiled. They had to be nice to me there, in the body bank. But if they saw me on the street, I’d be invisible. Forget that I had been top of my class--back when there was school. I was sixteen. A baby to them.The receptionist’s heels clicked and echoed in this stark space as she took me to a small waiting room, empty except for silver brocade chairs in the corners. They looked like antiques, but the chemical scent in the air belonged to new paint and synthetics. The so-called nature sounds of forest birds were just as fake. I glanced at my frayed sweats and scuffed shoes. I had brushed them as best I could, but the stains would not go away. And because I had tramped all the way to Beverly Hills in the morning drizzle, I was also wet as a lost cat.My feet hurt. I wanted to collapse into a chair, but I didn’t dare leave a damp butt-mark on the brocade. A tall Ender popped into the room, interrupting my little etiquette dilemma.“Callie Woodland?” He looked at his watch. “You’re late.”“Sorry. The rain . . .”“It’s all right. You’re here.” He extended his hand.His silver hair seemed whiter in contrast to his artificial tan. As his smile broadened, his eyes widened, making me more nervous than usual with an Ender. They didn’t deserve to be called seniors, as they preferred, these greedy old fogies at the end of their lives. I forced myself to shake his wrinkled hand.“I’m Mr. Tinnenbaum. Welcome to Prime Destinations.” He wrapped his other palm over mine.“I’m just here to see . . .” I looked around at the walls like I’d come to inspect the interior design.“How it all works? Of course. No charge for that.” He grinned and finally released my hand. “Why don’t you follow me?”He extended his arm as if I couldn’t find my way out of the room. His teeth were so bright, I flinched a little when he smiled. We walked down a short hallway to his office.“Go right in, Callie. Have a seat by the desk.” He closed the door.I bit my tongue to keep from gasping at the total extravagance inside. A massive copper fountain flowed with endless water alongside one wall. The way they were letting this clear, clean water fall and splash, you’d think the stuff was free.A glass desk embedded with LED lights dominated the center of the room, with an airscreen display hovering a foot above it. It showed a picture of a girl my age, with long red hair, wearing gym shorts. Although she was smiling, the photo was straight-on, like some full-length mug shot. Her expression was sweet. Hopeful.I sat in a modern metal chair as Mr. Tinnenbaum stood behind the desk, pointing at the air display. “One of our newest members. Like you, she heard about us through a friend. The women who rented her body were quite pleased.” He touched the corner of the screen, changing the picture to a teen in a racing swimsuit, with major abs. “This fellow, Adam, referred her. He can snowboard, ski, climb. He’s a popular rental for outdoorsy men who haven’t been able to enjoy these sports for decades.”Hearing his words made it all too real. Creepy old Enders with arthritic limbs taking over this teen’s body for a week, living inside his skin. It made my stomach flip. I wanted to bolt, but one thought kept me there.Tyler.I gripped the seat of my chair with both hands. My stomach growled. Tinnenbaum extended a pewter dish of Supertruffles in paper cups. My parents had had the same dish, once.“Would you like one?” he asked.I took one of the oversized chocolates in silence. Then I remembered my rusty manners. “Thank you.”“Take more.” He waved the dish to entice me.I took a second and a third, since the dish still hovered near my hand. I wrapped them in their paper cups and slipped them into my sweatshirt pocket. He looked disappointed not to see me eat them, like I was to be his entertainment for the day. Behind my chair, the fountain bubbled and splashed, teasing me. If he didn’t offer me something to drink soon, he just might get to see me with my head under the fountain, slurping like a dog.“Could I have a glass of water? Please?”“Of course.” He snapped his fingers and then raised his voice as if speaking to some hidden device. “Glass of water for the young lady.”A moment later, an Ender with the figure of a model came in balancing a glass of water on a tray. It was wrapped in a cloth napkin. I took the glass and saw small cubes glistening like diamonds. Ice. She set the tray beside me and left.I tilted my head back and downed the sweet water all at once, the cool liquid running down my throat. My eyes closed as I savored the cleanest water I’d had since the war ended. When I finished, I let one of the ice cubes fall into my mouth. I bit into it with a crunch. When I opened my eyes, I saw Tinnenbaum staring at me.“Would you like more?” he asked.I would have, but his eyes told me he didn’t mean it. I shook my head and finished the cube. My fingernails looked even dirtier against the glass as I set it back on the tray. Seeing the ice melting in the glass reminded me of the last time I had had ice water. It seemed like forever, but it was only a year ago, the last day in our house before the marshals came.“Would you like to know how it all works?” Tinnenbaum asked. “Here at Prime Destinations?”I stopped myself from rolling my eyes. Enders. Why else would I be there? I gave him a half smile and nodded.He tapped a corner of the airscreen to clear it, and then a second time to bring up holo-mations. The first one showed a senior reclining on a lounge chair, the back of her head being fitted with a small cap. Colored wires protruding from the cap led to a computer.“The renter is connected to a BCI--Body Computer Interface--in a room staffed with experienced nurses,” he said. “Then she’s put into a twilight sleep.”“Like at the dentist?”“Yes. All her vital signs are monitored throughout the entire journey.” On the other side of the screen, a teen girl reclined in a long padded chair. “You’ll be put under, with a kind of anesthesia. Completely painless and harmless. You wake up a week later, a little groggy but a whole lot richer.” He flashed those teeth again.I forced myself not to wince. “What happens during the week?”“She gets to be you.” He spread his palms and rotated them. “Do you know about computer assists that help amputees move fake hands? They just think about it and it moves? It’s very much like that.”“So she visualizes that she’s me and if she wants something, she just thinks it and my hand grabs it?”“Just like she was in your body. She uses her mind to walk your body out of here, and gets to be young again.” He cradled one elbow in his other hand. “For a little while.”“But how . . . ?”He nodded to the other side of the screen. “Over here, in another room, the donor--that would be you--is connected to the computer via a wireless BCI.”“Wireless?”“We insert a tiny neurochip into the back of your head. You won’t feel a thing. Totally painless. Allows us to connect you to the computer at all times. We then connect your brain waves to the computer, and the computer connects the two of you.”“Connects.” My brow furrowed as I tried to imagine two minds connected that way. BCI. Neurochip. Inserted. This was getting creepier by the minute. That urge to run was coming back hard. But at the same time, I wanted to know more.“I know, it’s all so new.” He gave me a condescending smirk. “We make sure you’re completely asleep. The renter’s mind takes over your body. She answers a series of questions posed by the team to be sure everything is working the way it should. Then she’s free to go enjoy her rented body.”The diagram showed graphics of the rented body playing golf, playing tennis, diving.“The body retains its muscle memory, so whatever sports you’ve played, she’ll be able to play. When the time is over, the renter walks the body back here. The connection is shut down in the proper sequence. The renter is taken off the twilight-sleep drugs. She is checked over and then goes on her merry way. You, the donor, are restored to your full brain functions via the computer. You awake in your body as if you’d slept for several days.”“What if something happens to me while she’s in my body? Snowboarding, skydiving? What if I get hurt?”“Nothing like that has ever happened here. Our renters sign a contract that makes them financially liable. Believe me, everyone wants that deposit back.”He made me sound like a rental car. A chill went through me like someone had run an ice cube up my spine. That reminded me of Tyler, the only thing keeping me in that chair.“What about the chip?” I asked.“That’s removed after your third rental.” He handed me a sheet of paper. “Here. This might put you at ease.”Rules for Renters at Prime Destinations1. You may not alter the appearance of your rental body in any way, including but not limited to piercings, tattoos, hair cutting or dyeing, cosmetic contact lenses, and any surgical procedures, including augmentation.2. No changes to the teeth are allowed, including fillings, removal, and imbedded jewelry.3. You must remain inside a fifty-mile perimeter around Prime Destinations. Maps are available.4. Any attempt to tamper with the chip will result in immediate cancellation without refund, and fines will be levied.5. If you have a problem with your rental body, return to Prime Destinations as soon as possible. Please treat your rental with care, remembering at all times that it is an actual young person.Be advised that each neurochip blocks renters from engaging in illegal activities.The rules didn’t make me feel any better. They brought up more problems I hadn’t even considered.“What about . . . other things?” I asked.“Like what?”“I don’t know.” I wished he wasn’t going to make me say it. But he was. “Sex?”“What about it?”“There’s nothing in the rules,” I said.I sure didn’t want my first time to happen when I wasn’t there.He shook his head. “That’s made quite clear to the renters. It is forbidden.”Yeah, right. At least pregnancy would be impossible. Everyone knew that was a side effect, hopefully temporary, of the vaccination.My stomach tightened. I shook the hair back from my eyes and stood.“Thanks for your time, Mr. Tinnenbaum. And the demonstration.”His lip twitched. He tried to cover it with a half smile. “If you sign today, there’s a bonus.” He pulled a form out of his drawer and scribbled on it, then slid it across the desk. “That’s for three rentals.” He capped his pen.I picked up the contract. That money could buy us a house and food for a year. I sat back down and took a deep breath.He held out the pen. I grabbed it.“Three rentals?” I asked.“Yes. And you’ll be paid upon completion.”The paper waved. I realized my hand was shaking.“It’s a very generous offer,” he said. “That’s with the bonus if you sign today.”I needed that money. Tyler needed it.As I gripped the pen, the bubbling of the fountain got louder in my head. I was staring at the paper but saw flashes of the matte red lipstick, the eyes of the doorman, Mr. Tinnenbaum’s unreal teeth. I pressed the pen to the paper, but before I made a mark, I looked up at him. Maybe I wanted one last reassurance. He nodded and smiled. His suit was perfect, except for a piece of white lint on his lapel. It was shaped like a question mark.He was so eager. Before I knew it, I put the pen down.His eyes narrowed. “Something wrong?”“It’s just something my mother always said.”“What was that?”“She said always sleep on an important decision. I have to think about it.”His eyes went cold. “I can’t promise this offer will be good later.”“I’ll have to take my chances.” I folded the contract into my pocket and rose from the chair. I forced a little smile.“Can you afford to do that?” He stepped in front of me.“Probably not. But I have to think about it.” I moved around him and walked to the door.“Call if you have questions,” he said a little too loudly.I rushed past the receptionist, who seemed upset to see me leaving so soon. She followed me with her eyes as she punched what I imagined was a panic button. I kept going. The doorman stared at me through the glass door before opening it.“Leaving already?” His hollow expression was ghoulish.I bolted past him.

Editorial Reviews

“A smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.” –Dean Koontz“Fans of The Hunger Games will love it.” –Kami Garcia, coauthor of the bestselling BEAUTIFUL CREATURES/Caster series   “STARTERS is a compelling, pulse-pounding, exciting sci-fi adventure with a strong female lead. Don’t miss it!” –New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr"The only thing better than a terrific concept is one that is as well executed as Starters. Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best, Starters is terrific series kickoff with a didn't-see-that-coming conclusion that will leave readers on the edges of their seats."–Los Angeles Times"Built up to a dramatic climax and a stunning twist, Starters is an addictive and alluring tale about human nature's darker side, and how far we'll go to get what we want. Readers everywhere will want to dive right in, and Hunger Games fans especially will find themselves hooked."–Examiner.com"This story of those who are not what they seem twists along with multiple-identity switcheroos and chase scenes worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster . . . The inevitable sequel can’t appear soon enough."–Booklist  "Constantly rising stakes keep this debut intense."–Kirkus Reviews“Newcomer Price launches a dystopian series that offers . . . a notable command of technique . . . Raising questions about class, property, and body/mind separation, Price's thriller features well-crafted tension, believable villains, and moments of stolen sweetness.”–Publishers Weekly"Intriguing, fast-paced . . . Fans of dystopian novels will be completely engaged and clamoring for the sequel." –School Library Journal“Hard to imagine a young adult reader who would not be interested in this book” –VOYA   “The concept is compulsively gruesome. . . . Price develops her plot and characters with tight, punchy writing and a sure, confident touch.”  –The Daily Mail“This action-packed novel is set in a twisted, hostile world and is a must-read for fans of The Hunger Games and Legend. Fast paced, romantic, and thought provoking, the jaw-dropping ending left us starving for a sequel.”–Justine Magazine“Starters is a dystopian read you'll want to snatch up for yourself . . . With its intriguing plot-twists and dash of romance, Lissa's novel is a bona fide pageturner that proves you can't take anything—or anyone—at face value.”–MTV.com’s Hollywood Crush Blog“Intriguing, thought-provoking and addictive.” –BookReporter.com   “Chilling and riveting.” –Shelf-Awareness.com