Straight up, you can’t trust the elderly, this is an important life lesson I learned from Lissa Price’s exciting debut Starters. Like, I hate to compare books, but I feel like Starters might be 2012’s Divergent. The two books aren’t alike plot wise, but they both have that up all night quality. I mean, I read Starters mostly during the week and was ITCHING to get out of work so I could read more of it.
Imagine a future where humanity is wiped out except for the very young and the very old, traditionally society’s most vulnerable people. This is Callie’s reality. You see all of the healthy adults were pretty much wiped out in the Spore Wars, essentially orphaning a generation. If you don’t have grandparents, suffice to say, you are screwed and likely living on the streets. Price creates a terrifying world in Starters where it is a LEGIT hard knock life and you have to fight for everything you have. Callie has a series of tough decisions to make as she signs on at Prime Destinations, a company that hires young people, the starters, to rent their bodies out to the older generation, the Enders. The starters can make a boat load of money doing this, but as you discerning readers know, Prime Destinations is MAD SKETCHY YOU GUYS OH MY GOD. First clue, it’s run by a guy who has no name but is called the old man!
Holy intensity mother lover. So every other chapter my actual reaction was GASP OH NO SHE DIDN’T! SHE DID! SHE TOTALLY DID! NOO! Because there are twists and turns and plot wrenches and a righteous anger on behalf of the starters. You see, the youngsters are totally an under class and taken advantage of and MAN did I want Callie to triumph. Like, whenever a large group of people are an underclass in the books I read, like the skaa in Mistborn, I just want them to rise up and take their oppressors down, just so I can pump my fist a little while reading. And you guys, you may have to rein your fists in while reading Starters by Lissa Price, because there’s a ton of awesome action-y, thrilling scenes.
As I said, I almost ALWAYS root for the underdog. The odds are stacked against Callie. She’s a powerless orphan with a sickly little brother. Yet she keeps going despite all of this and is actually kick ass in the I’m a survivor gonna keep on surviving way. I love this. VERY MUCH. Like, I just love her devotion to her little brother. I love that she is willing to make sacrifices along the way. I like that her sacrifices aren’t pretend stakes but VERY REAL as in MAYBE HER LIFE YOU GUYS. I just think Callie is such a likable character and I can’t help but feel so much emotion for her as she goes from being into the dark pertaining to Prime Destinations, to enlightenment about those sketchy mo fos. It’s very compelling.
The weak link in Starters, however, is the romance. I wasn’t feeling either of Callie’s options. There’s Blake who is the senator’s son and who is totally charming to Callie. Then there is Michael, her friend, the boy who protects Callie’s little brother while she’s renting out her body. I mean, maybe if you try super hard, you will swoon over one of the boys, but there’s no real XXX or anything. If you are anything like me, you’ll be too cued into the action and what comes next to care about who Callie locks lips with.
Look, if you want to read a book where you will have REACTIONS and heart palpitations and feel righteous indignation, then obviously Starters by Lissa Price will be your jam. And okay, you guys all know how much I love sexytimes, well I was able to look past the lack of sexytimes with Starters because SO MUCH AWESOME is happening. And I know smarter people will be all like ethics and deeper meaning. But straight up, I just loved the action and all of the surface things and I suppose that if I had stopped to think analytically about Starters while reading it, I could point out themes and such, but no guys, just take it from me if you like a good underdog story, just read Starters.
Disclosure: Received for review.