Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Obtained From: Purchased
Read from August 22 to August 23, 2012
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, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. - Goodreads
This was such a splendid read it took me no time to finish it, I also didn't want to put it down. This was no means without some flaws, such as the 'spore wars' and who was wiped out, but it was action packed, fast paced with an intriguing plot.
Callie is our protagonist and the story is told from her point of view. She is a Starter - someone under the age of 20- and an unclaimed minor. Callie is determined to provide for her younger sick brother, Tyler and is courageous in going to Prime Destinations to be a donor body to a renter in exchange for money. Things don't go as planned and Callie is careful to cover it up, though not always. I found Callie to be a great character.
We didn't see much of Michael and I can only hope that he is further developed in the next book.
Now we also had a, not well developed, love triangle. The second boy is Blake, someone that Callie meets when she first "wakes" up. This love triangle is weak in this book because we don't see much of Michael but I predict it will be developed further within the next book.
The Enders are over 60 and can live to be 200 thanks to the treatments available. They are the ones that rent the Starters to be able to be young again. I was a little confused over how they aged up to 200 when there wasn't anyone over 20. I'm not sure if I missed it, or it wasn't explained, that they could do that before the spore wars or if it only happened after. There is a fine line between info dumping to world build or not giving enough. I didn't feel that there were huge gaps in the world building, but there were a few details that could have been explained a little better, including the spore wars.
This concept reminds me of the movie Gamer starring Gerard Butler. I am intrigued at the idea that someone can be controlled electronically by someone else like playing a character in a game. I think that is why I liked this book so much (not that I want to be controlled or be controlling!) as it was along similar lines. If you find the idea intriguing as well, then this is a good dystopian to read.
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4 stars