Thursday, June 7, 2012
YA Dystopian Fiction: Starters by Lissa Price
It's the near future and a war has ravaged America where the only survivors are people under 18 or the elderly due to vaccinations being given to them and not the middle aged people. The Spore Wars is what it's called. And these aren't your average old people. They age upwards to 200 years.
Callie is 16 and living on the streets with her sickly younger brother and best friend Michael. They go from abandoned building to building fleeing the Marshals who round up unclaimed minors and put them in institutions until they turn 19. But Callie has a chance to change all that. She goes to the body bank. The body bank is a place where rich elders rent out the bodies of young people so they can live vicariously through them for about a month. Callie doesn't think it's the right thing to do, but with her sickly brother getting sicker she has no choice and she needs the money. Callie gets a makeover and is rented out, but her rental goes haywire and she wakes up in her renter's home, an elderly rich woman by the name of Helen, and slowly begins to uncover the real story behind the body bank. The body banks wants to not just rent out bodies of the young, but to sell them on a permanent basis effectively killing the young person inside.
Starters is a quick read and fun. It has some mystery that needs to unravel, not to mention an ominous and frightening character who goes by the name of The Old Man. Who is this Old Man? Well we don't know, nor do we find out. Perhaps the sequel will lay it out for us. I did find at times the writing to be repetitive and I'm not sure why towards the end a full page was written that summed up the entire plot in the guise of Callie thinking about what has happened to her. I think the author should have felt confident enough in the plot thus far and in her readers to know that we don't need to be spoon fed the obvious.
It's not the best YA dystopian book out there, but it's worth a read this summer.