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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Starters* by Lissa Price- young adult book review
by Lissa Price
Ages 12-17 352 pages Delacorte March 2012 Hardcover    

An exciting new addition to dystopian fiction for young adults, Starters is the story of 16-year-old Callie.

In the future, the adult population has been destroyed by disease. Only the young (Starters) and the elderly (Enders) were immunized, so now they are the only people left on earth.

Callie and her younger brother, Tyler, struggle day by day to find food and shelter. Callie has heard about a place called Prime Destinations. Here she can have a chip implanted in her head and an Ender can rent her body.

They tell her the risk is minimal; the renter has to pay a hefty fine if she damages the body. It will be as if Callie is asleep. The money she could earn would be enough for her to get a home for herself and her brother.

Callie’s first two rentals go fine; nothing extraordinary happens. Her last rental is scheduled for a longer period of time. This time, Callie wakes up during the rental, and she can communicate with her renter, Helena, in her head.

Helena is planning a murder, using Callie as the assassin. Callie must find a way to stop the assassination, but how? Who can she trust? Why does her renter want to kill a senator?

As the story progresses, she learns of a terrible plan, wherein the Enders are going to permanently take over the bodies of the Starters. Maybe this is why so many young people have gone missing without a trace. When Callie hears Helena die inside her head, she knows that she must take some drastic action to save the Starters from the Enders’ evil plan.

The future in this book is a grim place. Although there are plenty of fun gadgets and excitement, there is a stark disparity between rich and poor, old and young.

The story is told from Callie’s perspective, with plenty of dialog and light romance to keep a reluctant reader’s interest. The end is filled with lots of action—life-and-death situations and a mysterious old man who is at the center of the evil plot.

Callie’s character is well-developed, and the plot includes twists and turns, questions of right and wrong which will provoke some critical thinking. Price builds in a strong sense of urgency and fear which makes the book difficult to put down and leaves the reader wanting more at the end.

A sequel is planned to be released in December, 2012. Billed as a book for fans of The Hunger Games, Starters is more reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld’s The Uglies. Readers who cannot get enough of dystopian fiction will be eager to read Starters.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Kristine Wildner/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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