Starters Lissa Price Book Review

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.

Starters, Lissa Price, Book Cover


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.

Other reviews of Starters by Lissa Price:

Bunbury In The Stacks
Po(sey) Sessions

Is your interest perked? Just a leave a comment on this review for the chance to win my ARC of Starters. This is international. Ends 3/23/12. I’ll announce the winner on this post and also email the winner.

And the winner is comment 52: Angel Oritz! Congrats!

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I was actually just looking at this book and doing a post about it and I said how I wanted to buy it but had to check out some reviews on it first. This sounds EXACTLY what I’m looking for. I’ll definitely love this book if it’s action packed and a thriller. Thankfully the romance isn’t all that because I could care less for it. But thanks for putting this review up, you convinced me!

    • Yes! The action is the best part.

      I mean, I like some swoons in my reading, but I think that it was a good choice that Price made having the swoons not be front and center.

  2. Angelique Davis says

    I’ve been dying to get my hands on this one! Great review, I want it even more now!

  3. I’ve had my eye on this book since the I saw the cover months ago (how creepy is it?!), and your review just makes me want to read it more and more! That’s interesting about the romance being the downfall to the book, I hadn’t seen that before in others’ reviews — but it sounds like the rest of the book more than makes up for that! Besides, I’m not sure I’d ever really concern myself with romance once I hear the premise of the book.

    Great review, I want to read this SO much more now! (That looks sarcastic but I promise it’s not haha). Thanks for putting your ARC up for a giveaway!

  4. Yay! I’m so glad to see someone who loved Starters as much as I did. This book, for me, was flat out awesome. I agree that the romance was the weak point, but this didn’t bother me. Sometimes I like it when the romance isn’t the big thing. We didn’t really see Michael enough to know/care about him, and the whole time Blake just seems like a bad choice. For Callie, I felt like family was the priority, and she found unlikely and unexpected friendships that were more meaningful than romance. I could not put this book down, and I was so freakin shocked by the end I’m still reeling from it a week later.

    P.S. If you haven’t watched Dollhouse, you should. It’s pretty much the non-PG version of this.

  5. Oh! And ty for the links. Just noticed, I’m flattered! =)

  6. Mary Preston says

    I would love to read STARTERS thank you. It looks amazing.


  7. I’m really glad I read your review of this because otherwise I might have missed out on Starters. I was prepared to judge this book by its cover (I know, I know-never a good idea) and thought maybe it would be an amateur effort. Now I want to read Starters. If you compare it to Divergent that says a lot as Divergent was my favorite book of 2011.

  8. Whoa, creepy cover is CREEPY. But your review has definitely convinced me to read this book, especially if it has that Divergent-esque quality to it! And the whole deal with the middle-aged being wiped out and how the surviving generations deal with it sounds intriguing and I want to read to find out more about it~

  9. Action packed, and the romance is low key for once? Oh, I am so in! 😀

  10. My interest is VERY much peaked! I’ve been seeing tons of rave reviews. Thanks for letting us win it!

    Kelsey d

  11. This book sounds awesome! It kind of reminds me of that video game movie that Gerard Butler was in (forgot the name). Oh, I would hate to rent out my body!

    Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  12. And…. I’m adding this to my list RIGHT NOW. This sounds absolutely amazing!

  13. I actually just read Divergent. I waited for way to long. I love how that book made me feel! I’m looking foward to feeling that way again.. I could not put divergent down. :0)

    Super excited because I just got approved for this last week on NetGalley. My first ever netgalley arc.. It’s like I just graduated from trainers to the toilet.

    ha ha, about trusting the Elderly. Aside from my Grandmother, they all pretty much creep me out. maybe it’s their clothes. Or maybe I’m just a jerk. I guess I’ll have to get used to it.. since I’ll likely be one someday.

    Your review has me even more anxious to pick this up!! 🙂

  14. You have made me want to read this book SO BADLY! I felt much the same as you when I read Partials by Dan Wells earlier this past month. Much action and you just can’t look away. It will be interesting to see what other reviewers think of this book.

  15. This sounds absolutely amazing – I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I even love the cover, it’s so beautiful and creepy at the same time.

    Thank yo for making it an international giveaway 🙂

    misshwhitehead (at) gmail (dot) com

  16. Woot! Ever since I got this from NG, I’ve been wanting to read it but simultaneously creeped out by the cover. The premise–with the starters lending their bodies to the enders–sounds creepy and awesome and ripe with the possibility for shenanigans and drama, though, so it fits! I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon. Also, hi-five for working in both a Jay-Z AND Beyonce references in one review. HOLLA!

  17. RedheadClone says

    Wow this review has really made me want to read Starters! I really love how diverse the dystopian genre is, and I really loved Divergent, so I’ll definetely be reading this soon! Thanks for the awesome review.

  18. You have officially swayed me off of the fence. I really need to read this.

    LOL at “you can’t trust the elderly.”

  19. It’s my favorite when you write in all caps.

  20. I’ve been so excited to read Starters!! Thank you for this giveaway!


  21. This book sounds pretty awesome! Not sure if it’s enough to get it onto my tbr list though…though the name sounds familiar so maybe it’s already on there…

  22. Melanie L says

    I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve heard so many good things about this book lately.

  23. OMG. This sounds absolutely amazing. I read the blurb but it just didn’t spark HOWEVER that amazing review has me reaching for my Kindle so I can open that book and READ IT NOW! And that cover–creepy times ten.

  24. I don’t know if I could deal without the Sexy Times, BUT I can’t read this because of the creeptasticness factor. I’m not sure. I’m debating whether I should read this or not…

    — Asher

  25. You just made me SO excited to read this. For real. I want it NOW.

  26. Yeah…I’m buying this TODAY! I need it.

  27. I an honestly both terrified and excited for this book!

  28. I’ve seen this book pretty much everywhere the past couple of weeks, it’s making me very interested to read it. Like many people, I do like some romance in the books that I read but I’m trying to be more focused on other aspects of books and this sounds like it might be perfect for that. Great giveaway, thank you for making it international.

  29. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one. I’m really excited to read it.

  30. Okay, now I’m definitely curious about Starters. I was just having a conversation the other day with my best friend and the owner of this great indie in Chicago that we visited about good YA books (we were both convincing my friend to buy Divergent, lol) and the guy at the store said he loved this one too. I’ll definitely be checking it out now.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  31. Awesome. This book looks really special and cool.
    Pls count me in for the giveaway. I would love to read it 🙂

  32. This book sounds awesome!

  33. I’m dying to win this book! The cover looks so great!

  34. OMG, since I first heard of this book I was so intrigued. This review totally made me want to read it even more. Can’t wait to go, “Oh no she didn’t,” then, “Oh yes, she totally did.” Sounds like a page turner.
    Thanks for the contest.

  35. The books sounds awesome and i love the cover! Sure would want to read this one!

  36. brookea_2006 says

    I’d love to read Starters! Thanks for the giveaway!

    brookea_2006 at yahoodotcom

  37. Sounds like a interesting book can’t wait for it to come out

  38. ANAISA RAYANE says

    I do not know what to think of the book after reading his review, was the first that I read about it! I loved the cover, but had no idea the history behind it 🙂
    But I’m certainly curious and eager to read ^ – ^

  39. I can’t wait for this book! Thanks so much for holding the giveaway!

  40. Looks like a great book! All I can ever read nowadays are dystopians…I’m so addicted. xD Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  41. Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  42. I’d love the win Starters. I’ve been lusting after Starters since I first saw the cover. 😛 Callie is so stunning with her white hair. And those eyes *sigh*
    Thank your the great review!
    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  43. I’d love to win Starters. I’ve been lusting after Starters since I first saw the cover. 🙂 Callie is so stunning with her white hair. And those eyes *sigh*
    Thank you for the great review!
    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  44. Kali Skittles says

    Super excited to read this!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)))

    dontkillkittens8 AT netscape DOT net

  45. I have been DYING to get my hands on this books, I LOVE a book that makes you gasp out loud and wonder what-the-heck is going to happen next! I also love variety in my dystopian novels, and this sounds right up my alley! Great review!

  46. I’ve heard good things about this book, would love to read it.

  47. “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.”

    heart palpitations. LOLLOL i love reading books that give me righteous indignation tbh. and everything i read these days are dystopians. nothing hurts, i regret nothing xD and your review is great btw!

    and to the book, Starters is on my wanted list ever since i saw the cover (blue & white, so much hard for me not to love) and who doesn’t get perked with the girl looking like a…robot? almost nonhuman? and creepy, but in a good way? yeah, lissa price you win! then hearing good response about the book makes me hardly wait for it to be available at my place (which is, i gotta wait like 2 months, myb worse) so, thank you very much for making it international! =) though i may not win, it gives me a good feeling for a while lol


  48. Lexie@BookBug says

    Haha!! Hilarious review! I can’t wait to read this book!
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  49. Callie’s world seems very interesting! I’m very curious about this book, the story and the cover are so beautiful.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  50. It would really make my day if I won a copy of this book. I’m a dystopian junkie and this book sounds like my perfect crack!

  51. Angel Ortiz says

    Awesome. Thanks do much for the great review.

  52. I loved this book & gave it 5 out of 5 stars. I agree the romance wasn’t a strong presence but I liked it that way. I hate when stories push a romance too hard just for the sake of having a romance. There were a few issues that bothered me but some were explained and others I have a feeling will be explained in Enders. I loved that there were a few twists I never saw coming!

  53. in my view it was cool sort of like the hunger games


  1. […] “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.” April @ Good Books and Good Wine […]

  2. […] First, I loved Starters as you can see from my review. […]