The Body Instituteby Carol Riggs
"The Body Institute is a roller coaster of a book. This fast-paced sci-fi thriller grapples with issues of identity and scientific technology run amok in a society only two steps ahead of our own, while scrutinizing an all-encompassing obsession with being thin which is very much part of the here and now. Readers will love the twists and turns and be prompted to
"The Body Institute is a roller coaster of a book. This fast-paced sci-fi thriller grapples with issues of identity and scientific technology run amok in a society only two steps ahead of our own, while scrutinizing an all-encompassing obsession with being thin which is very much part of the here and now. Readers will love the twists and turns and be prompted to question their own relationship to technology, body image and the ever-growing power of mega-corporations." - C.K. Kelly Martin, author of Yesterday and Tomorrow
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.
Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body-leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...
For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her "Loaner" body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she's been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start...
Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul...
Gr 8 Up—Morgan Dey is a teenage Reducer at the government-funded Body Institute. Through Electromagnetic Resonance Transfer (ERT), Morgan's brainmap can be temporarily removed from her own body and inserted into a client's. From there she works out, loses weight, and leaves the client with a slimmer body and a lower government tax rate. It's good for the health-care system and completely safe for Reducers and Loaners—or so the Institute says. When Morgan starts experiencing memories that belong to her Loaner body, she begins to wonder whether ERT is as technologically sound as advertised. After protests by an anti-Institute extremist group turn deadly, Morgan must decide whether Reducing is worth the risk to her body, mind, and life. Interesting and timely ideas about government-controlled health care and the obesity epidemic provide a solid foundation for this well-paced dystopia. While character development is relatively shallow and dialogue—particularly between Morgan and love interest Vonn—sometimes comes off as forced and stilted, there are enough twists and suspense to keep readers hooked. Unfortunately, the ending wraps up too abruptly and easily to be believable, and ambiguity about a sequel leaves the fate of several characters murky at best. VERDICT Die-hard dystopian lovers, especially fans of Lissa Price's Starters (Delacorte, 2012) may enjoy this.—Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, La Crosse Public Library, WI
- Entangled Publishing, LLC
- Publication date:
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- 8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
The Body Institute
By Carol Riggs, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Carol Riggs
All rights reserved.
Five more reps, and I should be done with this body for good.
I pull the weight bar down to my chest, working my biceps. Here I am, flat on my back once more, communing with my old buddy the Fluid Resistance Machine.
Twenty-six ... twenty-seven.
Man, I can't wait to get back into my own body and be myself again. Hanging out with my friends, spending time with my family. Dancing. Urban paintballing. Messing around with kinetics experiments at the Catalyst Club.
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the jog-pump-stride of other Reducers toning and slimming. Hard workers, these ladies: 100 percent keyed in to their jobs. Above us on the third floor, I'm sure a bunch of men are exercising just as hard in their own gym.
A chirp signals the end of my programmed reps. I ditch the machine and do cool-down stretches while it resets for the next victim, then take a brisk shower and head to the first floor for my weigh-in.
I shake a rush of tingling nerves from my fingertips. If my stats are on track this morning, I can finally check out of the Clinic. I've toned up Shelby Johnson's body, plus kept her weight stable this past week. Imagine — fifty whole pounds, sweated off in three months. Soon, Shelby's Before and After images will spring up in vidfeeds everywhere, peddling the Institute's new client group, teens fourteen to eighteen.
Put an end to obesity before you reach adulthood, the ads will shout. Look fabulous in three to six months!
I'm happy to say I've made important progress for Shelby and the pilot program.
The scanner in the Weigh Center doorway blinks as it reads the ID chip in my hand. This early, the garish green waiting chairs hold only a few Reducers. I nod to another arriving worker, a guy who has about ten pounds left to lose. Before I can start up a conversation, an electronic voice near the ceiling intones, "Morgan Dey, report for weigh-in."
In Admittance, I step toward an available tech. "Hey, how's your day going?"
He grunts and barely looks at me as he waves me onto the scale, like Reducers are a bunch of faceless cogs on an assembly line. "Morgan Dey in the body of Shelby Johnson," he verifies for the data streamer. He records my vitals and steps to the wallscreen readout. "Your assignment is complete. Restoration is scheduled for oh-nine-forty-five today in the administration building. Arrive at least ten minutes early at Mr. Behr's office."
A wide grin takes over my face. In one short hour, I can shed my Loaner body and go home. I exit the Weigh Center and take the stairs two at a time back to the second floor. With a hasty handprint, I access my dorm room. After I dictate a log entry of my morning workout, I grab my Institute phone so I can send a voice-to-text message to Mom, Dad, and Granddad. I word the message carefully, since Leo Behr, the director, screens everything a newbie Reducer sends.
Or so he says. Personally, I think it's a bluffy scare tactic he invented to keep his workers in line.
Coming back today! Restoration at 0945. Home after that. See ya.
I dash off similar messages to Blair and Krista, and I'm ready to reclaim my body and leave this place. Forget the monumental pay. Nothing is worth the constant sweating, sore muscles, and hunger pangs I've endured for the past eighty-nine days. For my next job, I'll find an easier way to earn credits. But I need to clue in my other self. Because when I wake up in my own body after it comes out of suspended animation, I won't remember thinking this way. I send myself a memo.
Never sign up to be a Reducer again. It's awesome tech, but a torturous way to earn credits.
For extra insurance, I send another to Blair and Krista:
If I ever say I want to be a Reducer again, PLEASE tell me to find a different job.
I can count on my two best friends to stop me from joining a second time, since they weren't too fired up about me being gone so long this time. Blair also didn't get the point of the job, since credit shortages aren't part of her family's vocabulary. Not that I've exactly told her or Krista about my parents' financial problems. Just my dreams for attending tech school. I don't want to sound like I'm asking for pity — or worse, bragging about helping Mom and Dad pay the bills.
Downstairs, I slip into the fresh morning light of summer and breathe deeply. Farewell forever, tedious Clinic. Added to that cheerful thought, twelve thousand lovely tax-exempt credits will soon be auto-deposited into my account, not to mention the eight thousand that will go into my parents' account for their share of my underage earnings. So fantastic.
At the administration building, I pass under the program's motto, lasered into the metal above my head.
The Body Institute: Taking The Work Out of Your Weight Loss
The ID scanner verifies me with a subtle flicker.
Turning left, I head to the director's office. Leo's waiting room has plush chairs with built-in gamevids on the armrests. My shoes make no noise on the sound-insulated tiles. As Granddad would say, it's government extravagance at its best — spending the people's hard-earned tax revenue. He's not impressed one teensy bit that Congress is helping fund the Institute to create a healthy future.
I flinch when an electronic voice speaks before I have a chance to sit down.
"Morgan Dey, the director will see you now," it announces from concealed speakers in the wall.
Speedy response times this morning. I like that.
As I walk through the autodoor into the office, Leo rises behind his desk, his trim build matched with an equally trim mustache. A broad salesman's smile spreads across his face as he shakes my hand.
"Morgan, you've done well. Shelby will be delighted with her new appearance."
"Thanks, Leo." I smile at his exuberance. "Will I get to see a vid of her reaction?"
"No. We only reveal your client's name and show you progress vids so you have a record of your success. Shelby's allowed to send one text message of thanks, which we'll forward to you. I'll take your Institute phone now, please."
I hold it out, and he whisks it into a desk drawer. I eye his crisp shirt and black suit. Impressive. As usual, he looks like he belongs to this office as much as the mahogany desk, the high-tech desktop screen, and the Italian landscape on the wall.
"Will Shelby be able to keep off the weight I lost for her?" I ask.
Leo gives a rather fierce smile. "The reintroduction program involves a strict year of maintenance exercise. The hardest part will be changing her eating habits, and we'll help her make that transition."
I hope that works out for Shelby. At least her body is free of junk food cravings now. She's already healthier, and she won't have a bunch of tax fines for being overweight.
"If that's all your questions, I'll send you on your way," Leo says. "Your real body is already emerging from suspended animation, so there shouldn't be more than a half-hour lapse between Transfers. The solution is leaving your body's bloodstream, and the stasis gel is evaporating from your skin. See you on the other side."
It's strange to hear him talking about my body as if it's a separate entity from me. I leave the office, and a hostbot shaped like a bell glides up. Flutters of nervousness and excitement cascade over me as I follow the bot's silvery form down the hall. It's almost time for the big switch.
We pass a door that slides open, and a voice leaks from the room like dissipating gas, low and almost hissing. "Then get rid of him, if he knows too much," a man says. "Send him to Seattle."
I sidestep as a man with narrowed eyes and a dark goatee rushes out, pocketing his phone.
"Excuse me," I say. The man strides off, saying nothing in response.
A soft whistle comes from the rolling hostbot. "This way, please," it says.
I stumble behind the bot, the hairs on my arms standing upright as I stare over my shoulder after the man. What was that conversation about? It sounded hostile or threatening, but I guess I'm hearing the words out of context. I shudder. None of my business anyway, I suppose. By tomorrow, I won't remember one syllable of that man's odd conversation.
I can't decide if that's a good or a bad thing.
In the Transfer wing, I find a nurse with an angelic face. She's the same nurse who helped insert my brainmap file into Shelby's body at the beginning of my assignment.
"Morgan Dey?" the nurse asks in a gentle voice, checking her chart reader. "In the body of Shelby Johnson?"
"Yes. Hi, Irene."
She scans my ID for verification. I trail her across the room and check the beds we pass to see if my real body is in any of them. Most are empty, while the rest are curtained off for privacy. We come to a section with two beds, one of them occupied, and a shock zings through me. Yes! There it is. My own self — my true body. My dark brown hair is splayed across the pillow, and tubes and sensors are attached to my torso under the gown. I look pale and lifeless. It's eerie to be standing in front of myself like this. Knowing there's nobody home inside.
After three months of seeing Shelby's face reflect back at me in mirrors, my real features on that pillow look as if they belong to someone else.
I rub the goose bumps from my arms and stretch out on the white-draped bed, the one next to my very still body. The sharp odor of rubbing alcohol hits my nostrils, and the prick of Irene's IV needle stings my forearm. Nerves scramble like crazed insects in my stomach despite my attempt to focus on the swirly patterns on the ceiling.
Electromagnetic Resonance Transfer, or ERT, is an incredibly complex process. Sure, I trust the geniuses who developed it, but if it hiccups or glitches, I'm in huge trouble. If my brainmap doesn't leave Shelby's body the way it's supposed to, I'll be stuck forever in the body of a blonde with blue eyes. I don't care that she's seventeen like me and has a pretty face. I want my own body, and the life that comes with it.
Even worse, if for some reason my original brainmap won't reinstall into my real body, I'll be stranded as a data file with no consciousness.
No, stop. I just need to breathe and relax. The ERT process worked great before, and there's no reason it shouldn't work now. There hasn't been a problem with any Transfer since the Institute opened. The risk of failure is microscopic. I'll be fine.
Irene pulls a divider curtain between my real body and me, and a thin doctor, as gaunt and sunken-eyed as Death himself, stands at my bedside. "You've received your anesthetic, Miss Dey," he says, attaching monitoring sensors to my torso. "In a minute or two you'll drift off. When you become conscious in your own body, you'll remember nothing of your experiences as Shelby Johnson. This is normal, since we'll be using your original brainmap file and not the one you've been using in Shelby's body."
I squint up at him. Right. I know all this from my initial briefing, but now that I'm about to experience it, it sounds creepy. I'm on the verge of losing three months' worth of memories in a matter of seconds. My current brainmap will be gone forever, wiped out in the name of patient privacy.
Irene leans over. Her calm face floats in front of me, her features beginning to appear swimmy. "Start with one hundred and count backward. Restoration ERT will begin shortly. It's like going to sleep. After a short nap, you'll wake up in your own body."
I take a deep breath and blow it back out. Here goes nothing. Or rather, hopefully, here goes something.
I begin counting. One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight ...
My eyelids start to grow heavy.
Ninety-seven, ninety-six ...
Naptime. Like going to sleep.
Except if this were a real nap, I'd be more certain I would wake up on the other side.CHAPTER 2
A whirring noise flutters the air like pigeon wings in flight. It wafts into my consciousness and skitters around in my head, as though it's finding the lost borders of my mind. I discover my face, or at least the feelings of a face. Chin muscles twitch, nostrils flare. My eyelids feel crusted over, as if eye-goo from a long sleep has dried on the lashes.
"Morgan, wake up," comes a voice from a muffled tunnel. "Can you hear me?"
My head jerks in response. I inhale a rush of air that fills my nose with traces of rubbing alcohol, disinfectant, and the smell of latex exam gloves. My mouth opens, dry and stale. As my eyelids break free of the crusties, I peer at a much-too-bright world.
"Welcome back," a male nurse says. "You're in the recovery room. Take deep breaths and drink some water before you start moving around."
I groan. Move around? I don't think so. My body tingles like stone trying to morph into flesh. Breathing is easier than moving. I'll stick to that.
After some of my stiffness has melted away, I turn my head and discover a window. Sunlight seeps through the cracks in the autoblinds. Where am I, anyway? The last thing I remember ... Oh yeah, I'm at the Los Angeles branch of The Body Institute. I did this on purpose. Went into suspended animation so I could help a girl lose weight and earn some serious credits. The doctors stored my brainmap file and inserted a copy of it into the Loaner client. A Shelby someone or another. Johnson, that was it. Shelby Johnson. I hope I worked off the fifty pounds she needed to lose. I have no idea, but Mr. Behr warned me during my initial briefing that I wouldn't be able to remember anything.
More minutes filter by while a monitoring machine whirs behind me. I order the head of the hospital bed to rise, and sip from a cup of water on a stand. If my assignment is over, this must be the end of June instead of March. A big gaping hole in my life, just like that. It doesn't feel like I've been out of it that long. I wonder if Shelby is having surreal feelings of her own right now. Waking up fifty pounds lighter, as if by magic. Spending three months of her life on blank hold, stuck as a data file with no consciousness at all. So bizarre.
The nurse reappears, checks my vitals, and removes my IV and sensor monitors. "When you're ready, step into the bathroom and shower. Your duffel bag with your clothing is in there. Any stasis gel not yet dissolved from your hair will wash out easily with shampoo."
I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and wiggle my toes. Everything seems to be in working order. I shuffle to the shower, where the hot water revives me to my normal self. I dry off and slip on a red T-shirt and my favorite comfy jeans. The nurse has already stripped the bed by the time I exit the bathroom.
"Mr. Behr is expecting you in his office," he says. "A hostbot will take you there."
"Thanks." I trot behind the hostbot, squinting at its wheeling mechanisms and wondering how it's programmed to move. Does it ever malfunction and guide someone to the cafeteria instead? Maybe Blair and I should do our next Catalyst Club project on robotics.
I reach the director's waiting room, where the hostbot drifts away. One other person is there, a lanky guy whose dark hair hangs across his forehead as he bends over his phone.
"Are you waiting to see Mr. Behr, too?" I ask.
He whips his head up and grins to reveal a pair of adorable dimple dents. "Hi there," he says in a smooth, earnest voice. "No, I'm way early for my initial briefing. You're first in line."
"Uh, thanks." It's a dumb response, but it's what pops out. My newly awakened brain waves skip and dance in my head as I match his grin, my unused cheek muscles protesting with an achy cramp. Man, he's cute. I edge toward Mr. Behr's office. The guy still has a grin plastered across his face, his dimples dissolving all sane thoughts from my mind. Something shines in his eyes that makes me want to stay there all day to find out what his life is like — who he is, what he does, what he thinks about.
I fumble near Mr. Behr's door. The scanner confirms my ID, and the door opens.
"There you are," Mr. Behr says from across the room, glancing up from his deskscreen. "I trust you're feeling all right."
Excerpted from The Body Institute by Carol Riggs, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2015 Carol Riggs. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Carol Riggs is the author of The Body Institute, her debut novel. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head. www.carolriggs.com
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I wasn't sure I'd like this YA novel, but I was intrigued by the premise, and the one line on the cover that asks the question "are we our minds . . . or our bodies?" I attended a book signing at a local bookstore, and after hearing author Carol Riggs discuss the book, the plot concept and issues explored, I had a few questions. The author wasn't sure if it was Dystopian, but did assure me it was not the typical angsty YA voice. I liked what she read, and that intriguing question, and decided to take the chance and purchase a paper copy. To my mind, this is definitely not dystopian, and does not take place in a school. The world is set approx 50 years in the future, but that future is not a set date, as the technology, environmental, and social issues addressed could plausibly happen any time between next year or more than a hundred years. I liked how the author moved today's current issues along to a logical conclusion, complete with all the expected benefits and drawbacks. I could see myself living in this speculative future and completely related to the concerns and stubbornness of the Grandfather. The age of the protagonist - nearly 18 year old Morgan who is an over achieving science geek with loyal friends and a wholesome, patriotic attitude - works well for the future focus, as even today young people and their industriousness is what the older (not elderly) generation depends on to keep the world moving forward. Each generation of characters was well developed, easily relatable regardless of the age of the reader. Without giving spoilers, I'll just say the villian in this novel is Big Business and Government, focusing down to one person of course; and includes the question of how much control each should have over our individual choices/rights. I like a book that opens my mind to different opinions, and makes me want to research/learn about technologies and philosophies. I would recommend THE BODY INSTITUTE to anyone who enjoys a well paced mystery, an exploration of social issues in the near future, excellently developed and believable characters, and a wholesome concept that promotes family values.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I think THE BODY INSTITUTE is a brilliant idea for a story. Doesn't it sound like a magical cure for all those extra pounds a person would want to shed? But this being a sci-fi story, you just know there's something insidious about this "fix" for obesity, especially thinking about transplanting someone into another body in order to achieve the desired results. *shudders* I can't lie - I'd love for someone to temporarily take over my body and whip it into shape for me. But what about the girl who does it? Would my feelings about her well-being cause me to change my mind? It's not an easy answer because the solution is so tempting. THE BODY INSTITUTE takes place in the future, and in this future, junk food is heavily taxed. If you're overweight, you pay more taxes, too. The more weight you keep on and the longer you keep it on, the more money you have to pay. Everyone has to be weighed in every so often, which is how the government tracks who's taking care of their bodies and who is not. Morgan is a Reducer - she's one of the teens who take over the body of an overweight teen and works out until the desired number of pounds is lost. She has to eat healthy and exercise A LOT. Not only is this interesting in itself - it would have been plenty to read about - but there's even more to the plot when Morgan can't remember what she did or said during the time she's in the Loaner body. Plus there's the parents of the girl whose body Morgan is responsible for getting in shape - they're rich, and the mother looks at Morgan with disgust. I thought it could have been how she looked at her overweight daughter AND looking at her daughter's body, knowing there's someone else in there. I had a feeling they weren't going to be getting along and looked forward to the conflict that was sure to come. There's so many ethical issues to take into consideration when thinking about this story, and I can see junk food being taxed one day. I can see people who are overweight paying more taxes. That's what made THE BODY INSTITUTE so eerie - I could see it all happening. What if we could transplant someone's mind into someone else's body for a while? Who are we as the human race? Are we just a collection of processes taking place in the brain, or are we more than that? Morgan's grandfather raised a great point about being human - he tells Morgan she'd be a different person if she had been born in a different body. She'd have a different personality and wouldn't be the same person as who she is today. I think that's absolutely true. A lot of who we are is influenced by things like our body shape, hair color, eye color, skin color. Look at how human beings treat each other differently on outward appearances - especially skin color. People are discriminated against everyday based on their gender or race or age. THE BODY INSTITUTE explores so many themes - society, body image, body shaming, and even the question of how involved the government should be in the health of its citizens. You can't miss THE BODY INSTITUTE. It's an absolutely brilliant novel that will have you discussing these issues long after you're finished reading!
The premise of The Body Institute sounded very interesting to me, similar to Starters (which was a great book) but with the weight loss twist. Unfortunately it didn't live up to its potential. It was a good book, but with such an interesting subject, it could've been much better. I had trouble connecting with the main character, Morgan. For some reason I just couldn't relate to her and the way she spoke. When a book is written in first person, I feel like I really need to like that character's "voice" because that's our narrator for the whole story. And when I don't, it becomes a problem for me and it hinders my enjoyment of the book. Nevertheless, I kept on reading in order to find out what the big conspiracy was, because in this kind of setting you KNOW there is some kind of conspiracy behind the body swapping. However, this also felt quite anticlimactic. Even the romance which is usually my favorite part of any book had not effect on me whatsoever. It's such a shame because I love Entangled Teen and I have adored so many of their books, but I guess you can't like them all. The Body Institute just wasn't one of my favorites. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
**Thanks to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** The Body Institute was an eerie science fiction novel that I completely ate up! It follows Morgan, who works for this place called The Body Institute. Basically, people can loan out their bodies for someone called a reducer to tone up and make slimmer. It's a way to keep obesity down, so many people donate their bodies to do this, especially because people in this society are taxed for being overweight. There are also random weigh-ins at school and such, which could be pretty scary, especially if you didn't work out the day before and you snacked on tons of ice cream instead. Morgan is a reducer, so she helps slim down other people's bodies in exchange for lots of credits in order to help out her family and her grandfather. However, when Morgan goes to do her second reducer job, she's told by quite a few people not to. Perhaps she should've listened! I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of this story, especially because of how incredibly unique it was. I absolutely ate up this world; it was kind of creepy but extremely interesting! I really adored Morgan as well, and I loved how badly she wanted to help out her family, no matter the cause. Matt was such an awesome supporting character. He was so geeky and sweet, and I loved him to bits. I also like how he and Morgan were always there for each other. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed; I feel like the story could've gone on for a bit longer but then again science fiction novels tend to be a little fast-paced towards the end. Plus, I still want to know more about what happened! With that being said, I'd love to read anything else that Carol Riggs writes in the future, especially if she has more amazing ideas like the idea behind this wonderful story.
The Body Institute is definitely a whole new concept, one that I have yet to come across. I think that it was a great choice, given how prominent weight is discussed in our world today. I know that every 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese and these numbers are projected to increase. So it was really interesting to see these numbers and how social media interpret and treat that population nowadays paralleled into the book. The plot was just surreal, a lot of it took me by surprised. Riggs took me into this journey that I just didn't see coming. Each plot twist just kept surprising me and it made me want to keep reading. Riggs' writing was very likable and there wasn't anything too negative that stood out to me. My only complaint was that I felt like the first half of the book was paced a little slower than the second half. I thought that there was more of an extended introduction and I wish that cut a little shorter so that there was more room for the ending. The ending wrapped up really quickly and I wish there was more to it. While she hasn't indicated a sequel, the ending is set up in a way that in can have a sequel. It's also obvious that she did her research, there was a lot of science and technological information involved when explaining the Electromagnetic Resonance Transfer (ERT) process. Along with that, there was physics involved since it was a part of Morgan's passion. Everything surrounding the government and the Body Institute really connected and was thoroughly explained. Morgan was a really great dynamic character. Her development in the novel is wonderful and you start to see it unravel as she starts to learn more of the truth about the institute. Her entire life people and social media have drilled into her about the importance of fitness. I mean, living a healthy lifestyle is indeed important but it's not something that should be controlled by government. So it's reasonable to see how she acts towards the overweight population. I didn't relate too much to her but she can be very relatable. She's very smart and strong-willed. The secondary characters weren't as memorable as Morgan. The only ones that stood out for me were her grandfather, Vonn, and Leo. My favorite parts started coming halfway through the book. That was when the plot twists started popping up and taking me by surprise. I also love how the romance in the novel wasn't the main focus. I love how the romance unravels, too. I really enjoyed the ending, even though it was bittersweet. I wish that we did have more but I like how realistic it was.
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review** 4 stars! When 17 year old Morgan Dey signed up to be a Reducer – a person who’s brainmap file, or in essence their personality, is transferred into a Loner’s body, which is a person who needs to lose weight – she never thought it would be anything but an easy way to erase some of her family’s massive debit. Boy, was she wrong! The Body Institute is supposed to be a place for people to lose weight easily, especially for all of those that are “overweight” in the eyes of the government. But with a corrupt director and an adamant group of protesters that don’t like that the government has the say over people – fat, skinny, tall, short…they just want people to live life, happy and in their own bodies. After Morgan’s first successful Reducer job, all of her previous memories about how hard the work was are erased when her previous brainmap file is placed back inside her body that has been in stasis for the past three months. Gone is the feeling that it was not worth it, or too hard – in fact when the director of the institute Leo Behr contacts her regarding a longer, more high profile Reducer job, with her family’s debit looming and threatening to send them to live in the Commons – the slums of town. With extreme excitement at the challenge and the thought of the large pay that will help her with college and her family’s debit, Morgan decides to take on another Reducer job – for a teen girl with over 100 pounds to lose, which will take Morgan twice as long as a normal job. But throughout the new job, Morgan is constantly noticing strange inconsistencies with the Institute and the promises they make to their Reducers, Loners, and families alike – there is something not quite right about the program, and Morgan intends to find out what that is. Morgan’s story was very interesting – I loved the sc-fi feeling of brainmapping, high tech facilities, and Morgan’s strength and smarts throughout. There were all the key points – a good cast of characters, a good story, a great premise – but it still felt like there was something missing from the narrative. Some of it felt clipped or choppy – a bit jumbled or just plain overkill of words. All in all, a good story about a strong young lady that sees changes that need to be made in the world and is brave enough to try to see them through, even if it means her life on the line.
From the second I got the email about the opportunity to review this book, I knew I had to read it. The description just hooked me and this book didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. For Morgan, working out is something that she enjoys doing. In society, people are rewarded for being in “good shape”, and they are penalized and fined for being overweight. This is supposed to encourage people to stay in shape so as to relieve stress on the health care system. From this emerges the Body Institute, where people who are struggling with their weight can go to have someone else’s consciousness implanted into their body to lose the weight, and then after the weight loss is complete, the original person’s consciousness is then restored into the body. Seems like the perfect way to lose weight for all of the lazy people who can afford to do so. For most people, the idea of the Body Institute is something that just is—it’s not too outlandish to imagine that it is necessary. Some people are concerned by the technology that the system uses, especially those of older generations who aren’t too tech-savvy. But there are a group of protestors who will do anything to see the Body Institute taken down. Throughout the progression of this book, we see Morgan go from being completely trusting of the technology used to perform the transfers, to a little skeptical, and then questioning everything about the program. Turns out that the program isn’t exactly what she thought it was, and she makes it her personal mission to let everyone know what’s really going on. The way this society is so obsessed with weight and image is only a slight exaggeration of what our current society looks like. Is it really so hard to imagine that people are so obsessed with weight loss and looking thin that the government would step in and do something to aid the obsession? Not really.
The Body Institute has a really interesting book about a society so focused on weight it goes to extreme measures. This is a fun YA science fiction read. Morgan is a reducer. We meet up with her at the end of her first assignment. She puts her life on hold, and her mind is transported into another girls body to help her lose weight. She is so glad to be done and get home to her family and friends. The money she has just made is helping to get them out of debt, but it is not enough to keep them out of “the commons”. When the next job offer comes along, Morgan decides to do it. This isn’t going to be easy but the money is difficult to say no to. For this job, Morgan will have to work for 6 months and loose a lot more weight. In this dystopian world, The Body Institute presents society with an interesting way for people to make money getting in shape. A Loaner comes in and pays the institute to have someone get them in shape. Since Morgan doesn’t struggle with food but needs money, this is the perfect job for her. They just allowed this technology to be used on children under 18 with their parents permission. When she starts taking on her Loaner’s personality traits Morgan fears she has been misled. Maybe the technology is not as perfect as she thought. If The Body Institute lied about that, what other secrets are they keeping? Since weight is such a real issue in society, this story might hit a nerve with some readers. The sacrifices this society is willing to make to be thinner is really sick. This dystopian society is a nightmare for anyone that struggles with obesity. The fines for being overweight are steep. You can earn extra credits by making healthy choices and doing exercises. The way Morgan is treated in her obese Loaner body is shameful and really eye opening. The concept of this story is really interesting and completely plausible, if the technology existed. Money would buy you the ideal weight without the work. There was good pacing in the story. I found myself not wanting to stop reading this. The world building isn’t much, but the society views are clearly laid out. Obesity costs society money so people get penalized for being lazy. It does mention that those without proof of medical causes were penalized. I doubt this could actually happen, but don’t people pay to look better right now? The book brought up some food for thought, excuse the pun. Morgan becomes a Reducer. She really wants to help people be more healthy. She feels like she is changing the world one body at a time. I found this a pretty interesting read. It kept my attention. I loved that it was a stand alone, although if it had a follow up I would probably read it. There were a few issues that were too coincidental to be plausible, mostly the love interest’s identity. I liked the slow reveal of “like” in this romance though. I also enjoyed the fact that the romance in this book wasn’t just about exterior appearances. This book isn’t all about the romance until about half way through the story. This book is more about being who you really are, no matter what you look like. I think science fiction fans will find this book a fun read. *I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Morgan Dey pays a high price to help out the ones she loves in Carol Riggs's The Body Institute. Riggs has created a complex futuristic world. With the government's need to have healthy citizens, the Body Institute was formed to help teens lose the extra pounds by implanting mind-maps of Reducers into the Loaners' bodies. The Reducers work out and lose the pounds and then return to their own bodies while the Loaner returns to his/her original body and works to keep the newly lost weight off. As someone who has been on the Loaner end in the weight battle, too many times I've wished I could wake up a new thinner me. As Morgan tries to lose a hundred pounds for her newest Loaner body, I felt a true connection with her and shared in Morgan's joys and sorrows. I love how the novel revolves around the philosophy of whether or not we are our minds or our bodies or some combination of the two. The romance between Morgan and a fellow Reducer was super sweet and adorable. They had a wonderful soul connection with each other. The action in this science fiction story brought me to the edge of my seat, and I shed so many tears with Morgan at what happens to her. The end of the story was satisfying and a complete standalone tale, but I'd love to read more in this world Riggs has created in the future. The Body Institute by Carol Riggs has become one of my favorite reads this year.
In this young adult dystopia, we follow Morgan who is a successful Reducer. Through a new government-regulated health program, citizens are being forced to maintain a healthy body. You can’t exceed a set amount of weight nor can you keep the weight on for long.. that is unless you want to pay excessive fines. To help with the issue, people can join The Body Institute where their body becomes taken over by a Reducer to shed the weight for them. But for Morgan, protesters are starting to become violent, and she begins to question the program that she endorses so much. As she is her new Loaner’s body, Morgan begins to question the program she has been endorsing so much when memories from her host’s body begin to creep into her own mind. Anti-Institute protesters are beginning to become violent, and her boss is growing suspicious. Is being a Reducer worth the risk? The content of this book is what really got me to request the story. As fictional readers, we don’t see too man books that largely focus on the idea of weight and especially weight-regulation. Not only did this book touch on that topic, but it also had aspects of bullying and the mental issues that come with that. I will say though that this book has more of a political side to it as the main character struggles with the idea of the background on the program, and what it calls for her to have to go through. We also get to see the issues of what can happen when a person’s “brainmap” is placed into a new body and the struggle of whether or not this is really a person or just a man-made thing (you will have to read the book to find out). I really enjoyed the unique content of this book. Not only is there a political side, but for those who love a little romance, this book is a great option to pick up. When I first began to read this book for review, I forgot what the synopsis was. I was so engrossed in what was going on and the issues Morgan had to face in her Loaner’s body that I didn’t even think that a boy was going to be involved until it happened. There is a perfect amount of romance that brings a calmer feel to the story. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The different perspectives Morgan sees between her own mind and the mind of her Loaner’s allows her to develop as a character which I really enjoyed. The plot-line made me a little frustrated due to the fact that they would force fines on people just for being a little over weight which in turn made people stress over nothing, but at the same times it brings light into the different mental perspectives of the people who are directly affected by this. Overall, this is a great book with a great plot that I think everyone should read.
INITIAL THOUGHTS So I discovered this one in an email from Entangled Teen, and read the description and was immediately intrigued with the whole brain map/body swap element of the book. So I was looking forward to reading and reviewing this book for my blog. MY REVIEW I requested and received an e-copy of this book from Entangled Teen via Netgalley. The main feature of the cover is a female and the reader has a view through the outer body into the brain inside. The very cryptic byline of "are we our minds . . .or our bodies" fits the dilemma that the main character Morgan Dey has in this book. The cover also features a skyline in the background, representing the cities featured in the book. The dark raining weather is quite fitting to the feel of the book in certain parts. So would I pick this book up in a bookstore purely on the cover? Yes the cover would attract my eyes enough for me to pick it up and want to learn more about it. The Body Institute is based in the crimson zone of the city. They are partially funded by the government as the institute's work is lightening the strain on the NHS. The Body Institute's marketing slogan is "Taking The Work Out Of Your Weightless". The Body Institute employ people who are called "Reducers". These Reducers have their bodies put into some sort of sleep state, there's a much more technical explanation given in the book including something called ERT. Basically the Reducer's "brain map" is put into the brain/body of the "Loaner" (Loaner = the person who wishes to lose weight), the Loaner's "brain map" is stored on a computer until the Reducer has lost the necessary weight and toned up etc and then they both have their brain maps put back into their own bodies. The Body Institute is now trialing and marketing this way of losing weight to teenagers. This is how we meet the central character in the book, Morgan Dey. Her family which consists of her mum (Valena), dad (Greg) and Grand-dad (Bob) live in an acceptable area of the city but their rent and expenses are always being increased and with the left over debt from her Grandmother's medical bills they desperately need to find a way to earn more credits. This is why Morgan initially takes a job at the Body Institute as a reducer. The money from the job will pay some off the amount owed on the medical bill's as well as start a fund for Morgan to go to Tech School which is her dream.In fact she does so well in her first job as a reducer that the teen she loses weight for becomes the poster girl for The Body Institutes Teen Program. Doing so well at her first job at the Institute is also one of the reason's she is asked back, this time the job will take 6 months and she will get to live off site of the Institute and live in the Loaner's home that has a private gym and other luxury facilities to help her with the weight loss. This means leaving her family and two best friends Krista & Blair for six whole months. That will mean not being able to celebrate either her eighteenth or Christmas with them. Taking everything into consideration and the fact that her parents are being hassled for the payment of her Grandmothers medical bill, having extra taxes and interest put on it too, Morgan feel's there is only on option and that is for her to do the job. The money she would get for the job would settle all debts and leave her a good amount to help get her through Tech School too. Though her parents are reluctant for Morgan to do the job of a reducer again
For the whole review: http://suchanovelidea.com/2015/08/the-body-institute/ I was just so pulled into the story. I was almost finished reading it at lunch time and we had stopped at a Friendly’s. I opened the menu and saw ice cream and I had to flip away from it. I couldn’t even stand to look at ice cream after reading that book. That just got me to thinking about some of the big things in this book with switching bodies and the whole residual memories. Being a reader is a little like being a reducer who suffers through the residual memories, in a sense. If you get so engrossed in a story then sometimes you start to think and act like the character. As readers are we not a compilation of all that we’ve read? How much of the characters do we pick up and keep for ourselves without even realizing it? Rest assured, I was able to eat ice cream later that day, so I didn’t keep that piece. The plot was well crafted. Between the personal crisis of Morgan dealing with the residual memories and the issues with The Body Institute, it’s a wonderfully layered story. I was never bored. The action of the story was layered really well with Morgan’s internal strife. There was always something in the background, something that she wasn’t noticing that I would notice and be aware of, thus upping the tension for the plot. It was paced well enough to keep me on my toes. I really enjoyed the big issues that this book brought to light. The world Morgan is in really brings up how controlling society can be and whether it should be the guiding force in people’s personal choices. It really makes the reader aware of the pressures of society and shows that you don’t have to conform to be happy. Body image is a huge part of this, obviously. I really loved the message it sends with body image by the end of the book. It’s a journey to tell society to stuff it, basically. I also loved how the body and soul were brought into question. That’s such a huge topic that many authors try to tackle. This book tackles that huge issue and I was pretty happy with the conclusion Morgan came to with it. It was a whirlwind of big time issues that people are often scared to discuss. I loved it. I didn’t think I’d like Morgan at first because she was so gung-ho about working out, but I was changed my way of thought real quick. She was such a dynamic character. I loved how she was passionate about science. All too often in YA characters love books and English but rarely do the main characters branch out to the sciences, or math. I also loved her dedication to her family. She reminded me of myself a little with how family driven she was. I loved her relationship with her grandfather especially. He reminded me of my grandmother a lot. I just loved her drive to help people. I think that was the feature I I identified most with. She was a strong character who was just doing what she thought was best for herself and everyone else. I really liked Morgan’s interactions with Matt in the novel. Mostly because Matt is adorable but also because I loved how genuine she was with him. That little bit of socializing goes a long way. This novel really shows how important a social life is to the psyche of a person. While I knew that already, it was nice seeing how being in person with people is so important. Friendships, and relationships, need something tangible to hold onto. ... more on Such A Novel Idea
The Body Institute contains the type of story that is frightening to think about because it could possibly happen one day. One day science could advance to a point where it is possible for people to switch bodies and that the government can control more things - such as a persons weight. We all ready live in a world where how much we weigh matters, but not to the extreme that it does in The Body Institute. In this world, the government will tax you if you weigh more than 20 pounds over what they think you should way. The longer you are overweight and the more overweight you are, the higher the tax. Even if you are over your ideal weight, but within that 20 pound range for too long you will get taxed. The government also offers a lot of incentives to the people to exercise. The more exercising you do, the more points you get. You can then turn the points in for a reward. Naturally an Institute was created to help people with their weight loss. However, it isn't as simple as joining a gym and working out with a personal trainer. The person actually has to give up their body. Their psyche is downloaded and put into a computer some where while someone else is loaded into their body to do all the hard work for them. Find the rest of my review here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/