In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than partyher body will commit murder, if her mind can't stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated firstthe very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie's neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It's a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan. . . .
Kami Garcia, coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures novels said “Fans of The Hunger Games will love it.”
About the Author
LISSA PRICE lives in the foothills of southern California with her husband and the occasional deer. Visit her at LissaPrice.com.
Read an Excerpt
Enders gave me the creeps. The doorman flashed a practiced smile as he let me into the body bank. He wasn’t that old, maybe 110, but he still made me shudder. Like most Enders, he sported silver hair, some phony badge of honor of his age. Inside, the ultramodern space with its high ceilings dwarfed me. I walked through the lobby as if gliding through a dream, my feet barely touching the marble floor.
He directed me to the receptionist, who had white hair and matte red lipstick that transferred to her front teeth when she smiled. They had to be nice to me there, in the body bank. But if they saw me on the street, I’d be invisible. Forget that I had been top of my class--back when there was school. I was sixteen. A baby to them.
The receptionist’s heels clicked and echoed in this stark space as she took me to a small waiting room, empty except for silver brocade chairs in the corners. They looked like antiques, but the chemical scent in the air belonged to new paint and synthetics. The so-called nature sounds of forest birds were just as fake. I glanced at my frayed sweats and scuffed shoes. I had brushed them as best I could, but the stains would not go away. And because I had tramped all the way to Beverly Hills in the morning drizzle, I was also wet as a lost cat.
My feet hurt. I wanted to collapse into a chair, but I didn’t dare leave a damp butt-mark on the brocade. A tall Ender popped into the room, interrupting my little etiquette dilemma.
“Callie Woodland?” He looked at his watch. “You’re late.”
“Sorry. The rain . . .”
“It’s all right. You’re here.” He extended his hand.
His silver hair seemed whiter in contrast to his artificial tan. As his smile broadened, his eyes widened, making me more nervous than usual with an Ender. They didn’t deserve to be called seniors, as they preferred, these greedy old fogies at the end of their lives. I forced myself to shake his wrinkled hand.
“I’m Mr. Tinnenbaum. Welcome to Prime Destinations.” He wrapped his other palm over mine.
“I’m just here to see . . .” I looked around at the walls like I’d come to inspect the interior design.
“How it all works? Of course. No charge for that.” He grinned and finally released my hand. “Why don’t you follow me?”
He extended his arm as if I couldn’t find my way out of the room. His teeth were so bright, I flinched a little when he smiled. We walked down a short hallway to his office.
“Go right in, Callie. Have a seat by the desk.” He closed the door.
I bit my tongue to keep from gasping at the total extravagance inside. A massive copper fountain flowed with endless water alongside one wall. The way they were letting this clear, clean water fall and splash, you’d think the stuff was free.
A glass desk embedded with LED lights dominated the center of the room, with an airscreen display hovering a foot above it. It showed a picture of a girl my age, with long red hair, wearing gym shorts. Although she was smiling, the photo was straight-on, like some full-length mug shot. Her expression was sweet. Hopeful.
I sat in a modern metal chair as Mr. Tinnenbaum stood behind the desk, pointing at the air display. “One of our newest members. Like you, she heard about us through a friend. The women who rented her body were quite pleased.” He touched the corner of the screen, changing the picture to a teen in a racing swimsuit, with major abs. “This fellow, Adam, referred her. He can snowboard, ski, climb. He’s a popular rental for outdoorsy men who haven’t been able to enjoy these sports for decades.”
Hearing his words made it all too real. Creepy old Enders with arthritic limbs taking over this teen’s body for a week, living inside his skin. It made my stomach flip. I wanted to bolt, but one thought kept me there.
I gripped the seat of my chair with both hands. My stomach growled. Tinnenbaum extended a pewter dish of Supertruffles in paper cups. My parents had had the same dish, once.
“Would you like one?” he asked.
I took one of the oversized chocolates in silence. Then I remembered my rusty manners. “Thank you.”
“Take more.” He waved the dish to entice me.
I took a second and a third, since the dish still hovered near my hand. I wrapped them in their paper cups and slipped them into my sweatshirt pocket. He looked disappointed not to see me eat them, like I was to be his entertainment for the day. Behind my chair, the fountain bubbled and splashed, teasing me. If he didn’t offer me something to drink soon, he just might get to see me with my head under the fountain, slurping like a dog.
“Could I have a glass of water? Please?”
“Of course.” He snapped his fingers and then raised his voice as if speaking to some hidden device. “Glass of water for the young lady.”
A moment later, an Ender with the figure of a model came in balancing a glass of water on a tray. It was wrapped in a cloth napkin. I took the glass and saw small cubes glistening like diamonds. Ice. She set the tray beside me and left.
I tilted my head back and downed the sweet water all at once, the cool liquid running down my throat. My eyes closed as I savored the cleanest water I’d had since the war ended. When I finished, I let one of the ice cubes fall into my mouth. I bit into it with a crunch. When I opened my eyes, I saw Tinnenbaum staring at me.
“Would you like more?” he asked.
I would have, but his eyes told me he didn’t mean it. I shook my head and finished the cube. My fingernails looked even dirtier against the glass as I set it back on the tray. Seeing the ice melting in the glass reminded me of the last time I had had ice water. It seemed like forever, but it was only a year ago, the last day in our house before the marshals came.
“Would you like to know how it all works?” Tinnenbaum asked. “Here at Prime Destinations?”
I stopped myself from rolling my eyes. Enders. Why else would I be there? I gave him a half smile and nodded.
He tapped a corner of the airscreen to clear it, and then a second time to bring up holo-mations. The first one showed a senior reclining on a lounge chair, the back of her head being fitted with a small cap. Colored wires protruding from the cap led to a computer.
“The renter is connected to a BCI--Body Computer Interface--in a room staffed with experienced nurses,” he said. “Then she’s put into a twilight sleep.”
“Like at the dentist?”
“Yes. All her vital signs are monitored throughout the entire journey.” On the other side of the screen, a teen girl reclined in a long padded chair. “You’ll be put under, with a kind of anesthesia. Completely painless and harmless. You wake up a week later, a little groggy but a whole lot richer.” He flashed those teeth again.
I forced myself not to wince. “What happens during the week?”
“She gets to be you.” He spread his palms and rotated them. “Do you know about computer assists that help amputees move fake hands? They just think about it and it moves? It’s very much like that.”
“So she visualizes that she’s me and if she wants something, she just thinks it and my hand grabs it?”
“Just like she was in your body. She uses her mind to walk your body out of here, and gets to be young again.” He cradled one elbow in his other hand. “For a little while.”
“But how . . . ?”
He nodded to the other side of the screen. “Over here, in another room, the donor--that would be you--is connected to the computer via a wireless BCI.”
“We insert a tiny neurochip into the back of your head. You won’t feel a thing. Totally painless. Allows us to connect you to the computer at all times. We then connect your brain waves to the computer, and the computer connects the two of you.”
“Connects.” My brow furrowed as I tried to imagine two minds connected that way. BCI. Neurochip. Inserted. This was getting creepier by the minute. That urge to run was coming back hard. But at the same time, I wanted to know more.
“I know, it’s all so new.” He gave me a condescending smirk. “We make sure you’re completely asleep. The renter’s mind takes over your body. She answers a series of questions posed by the team to be sure everything is working the way it should. Then she’s free to go enjoy her rented body.”
The diagram showed graphics of the rented body playing golf, playing tennis, diving.
“The body retains its muscle memory, so whatever sports you’ve played, she’ll be able to play. When the time is over, the renter walks the body back here. The connection is shut down in the proper sequence. The renter is taken off the twilight-sleep drugs. She is checked over and then goes on her merry way. You, the donor, are restored to your full brain functions via the computer. You awake in your body as if you’d slept for several days.”
“What if something happens to me while she’s in my body? Snowboarding, skydiving? What if I get hurt?”
“Nothing like that has ever happened here. Our renters sign a contract that makes them financially liable. Believe me, everyone wants that deposit back.”
He made me sound like a rental car. A chill went through me like someone had run an ice cube up my spine. That reminded me of Tyler, the only thing keeping me in that chair.
“What about the chip?” I asked.
“That’s removed after your third rental.” He handed me a sheet of paper. “Here. This might put you at ease.”
Rules for Renters at Prime Destinations
1. You may not alter the appearance of your rental body in any way, including but not limited to piercings, tattoos, hair cutting or dyeing, cosmetic contact lenses, and any surgical procedures, including augmentation.
2. No changes to the teeth are allowed, including fillings, removal, and imbedded jewelry.
3. You must remain inside a fifty-mile perimeter around Prime Destinations. Maps are available.
4. Any attempt to tamper with the chip will result in immediate cancellation without refund, and fines will be levied.
5. If you have a problem with your rental body, return to Prime Destinations as soon as possible. Please treat your rental with care, remembering at all times that it is an actual young person.
Be advised that each neurochip blocks renters from engaging in illegal activities.
The rules didn’t make me feel any better. They brought up more problems I hadn’t even considered.
“What about . . . other things?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” I wished he wasn’t going to make me say it. But he was. “Sex?”
“What about it?”
“There’s nothing in the rules,” I said.
I sure didn’t want my first time to happen when I wasn’t there.
He shook his head. “That’s made quite clear to the renters. It is forbidden.”
Yeah, right. At least pregnancy would be impossible. Everyone knew that was a side effect, hopefully temporary, of the vaccination.
My stomach tightened. I shook the hair back from my eyes and stood.
“Thanks for your time, Mr. Tinnenbaum. And the demonstration.”
His lip twitched. He tried to cover it with a half smile. “If you sign today, there’s a bonus.” He pulled a form out of his drawer and scribbled on it, then slid it across the desk. “That’s for three rentals.” He capped his pen.
I picked up the contract. That money could buy us a house and food for a year. I sat back down and took a deep breath.
He held out the pen. I grabbed it.
“Three rentals?” I asked.
“Yes. And you’ll be paid upon completion.”
The paper waved. I realized my hand was shaking.
“It’s a very generous offer,” he said. “That’s with the bonus if you sign today.”
I needed that money. Tyler needed it.
As I gripped the pen, the bubbling of the fountain got louder in my head. I was staring at the paper but saw flashes of the matte red lipstick, the eyes of the doorman, Mr. Tinnenbaum’s unreal teeth. I pressed the pen to the paper, but before I made a mark, I looked up at him. Maybe I wanted one last reassurance. He nodded and smiled. His suit was perfect, except for a piece of white lint on his lapel. It was shaped like a question mark.
He was so eager. Before I knew it, I put the pen down.
His eyes narrowed. “Something wrong?”
“It’s just something my mother always said.”
“What was that?”
“She said always sleep on an important decision. I have to think about it.”
His eyes went cold. “I can’t promise this offer will be good later.”
“I’ll have to take my chances.” I folded the contract into my pocket and rose from the chair. I forced a little smile.
“Can you afford to do that?” He stepped in front of me.
“Probably not. But I have to think about it.” I moved around him and walked to the door.
“Call if you have questions,” he said a little too loudly.
I rushed past the receptionist, who seemed upset to see me leaving so soon. She followed me with her eyes as she punched what I imagined was a panic button. I kept going. The doorman stared at me through the glass door before opening it.
“Leaving already?” His hollow expression was ghoulish.
I bolted past him.
What People are Saying About This
"The only thing better than a terrific concept is one that is as well executed as Starters. Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best, Starters is terrific series kickoff with a didn't-see-that-coming conclusion that will leave readers on the edges of their seats."
— Los Angeles Times
"Built up to a dramatic climax and a stunning twist, Starters is an addictive and alluring tale about human nature's darker side, and how far we'll go to get what we want. Readers everywhere will want to dive right in, and Hunger Games fans especially will find themselves hooked."
"This story of those who are not what they seem twists along with multiple-identity switcheroos and chase scenes worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster . . . The inevitable sequel can’t appear soon enough."
"Constantly rising stakes keep this debut intense."
— Kirkus Reviews
“Newcomer Price launches a dystopian series that offers . . . a notable command of technique . . . Raising questions about class, property, and body/mind separation, Price's thriller features well-crafted tension, believable villains, and moments of stolen sweetness.”
— Publishers Weekly
“This action-packed novel is set in a twisted, hostile world and is a must-read for fans of The Hunger Games and Legend. Fast paced, romantic, and thought provoking, the jaw-dropping ending left us starving for a sequel.”
— Justine Magazine
“Starters is a dystopian read you'll want to snatch up for yourself . . . With its intriguing plot-twists and dash of romance, Lissa's novel is a bona fide pageturner that proves you can't take anything—or anyone—at face value.”
— MTV.com’s Hollywood Crush Blog
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Starters was definitely different. I wanted to read it as soon as I found out it was a new dystopian, and you all know how much I love dystopians. The world Callie lives in right now is split in two. The starters (people younger than 20) and the Enders (people older than 70). Most of the people in between died from an epidemic. The Enders now don't die by the age of 80-90, they live up to 200+. The story starts with Callie wanting to rent her body at a body bank to get money for her and her young brother. The body bank "Prime Destination" is a secretive organization that only a few selective people know about. Enders get to have their choice of bodies and relive their youthful days, literally. On her third rental trial, Callie wakes up, takes full control of her body and finds herself living her renter's life. The luxury cars, designer clothes, and the fake name. However her renter isn't just out to have some fun, she has her own plan, a plan that might ruin Callie's life, if it didn't already end it. Callie would do anything to protect her brother, she was brave, rational, and a headstrong protagonist. The book had a plot, a mystery, an evil character, but I just felt that something was missing. I would have loved if I got a better glimpse at their dystopian world. I liked the build up of the story. Right from the start you get tidbits of information to unveil the conspiracy of Prime Destination and in just how much trouble Callie is in. You're not left in the dark for long, and when one question is answered, another one pops up. Especially towards the end, so many gasp moments occur and secrets are revealed that leave you hardly able to wait for the release of the second, and final book in this dystopian duology.
I love it! Loved Callie. Loved Michael. Then didn't want to love Blake...but I did. Then the Blake twist! And a race to stop a murder! What's not to love?!? The world is so divided, but feels so real. The poor orphans! And the Old Man plotting against them is so frightening; he gives me the shivers. I can't wait for book 2! I want Callie to rip the mask off that Old Man!
LOOK AT THE AMAZING COVER!!!! I MEAN WHO WOULDNT WANT TO READ THAT!!!! Anyways this book is and was wonderful and you CAN judge it by its cover! Callie is someone many people wish they could be like as she goes through the story she finds herself out on the street running from the fuzz ( ha i just wanted to put that in there it means the police), dealing in the black market, having brain surgury multiple times, havin her body took over by someone at least 100+, pretending to be the older person thats suppose to be inside her, being in love wih two people, murder, a sick brother, and 100+ year old evil people followin her, while being in car recks fights and basically jail... JUST READ THE BOOK!!!
Starters is a great book. I won’t say that the first part was too slow, or that the ending was too fast, because really, its pace was even with mine all throughout the book. I didn’t want to stop reading because I had nothing else to think about except what was already written. There was nothing useless in the book. Everything that was written is important to the story and made me feel like I was a part of their world. This book is so much like the Hunger Games, minus–you know–the Hunger Games. It had that evil mastermind, loved ones to take care of, with the whole country in jeopardy, or at least the young ones in the country. Just like any dystopian story. But the similarities didn’t end there for me. See, sometimes there are series you need a break from. This summer, I needed a break for the Wicked Lovely series so I read Starters. Last summer, I needed a break from the Kiesha’ra of the Den of Shadows and so I read the Hunger Games. Anyway, Starters was like a cup of coffee minus the caffeine. I didn’t feel sleepy one bit while reading it or simply just thinking about it. I wasn’t just not sleepy, I was wide-awake. It’s a book that you would want to read even when you’re doing something else. I couldn’t stop going back to it even if I just left it for a couple of minutes. If there’s one thing I don’t like about this book, it’s that the evil mastermind is call the Old Man. Seriously that is getting old. I remember in Witch and Wizard, the dude is called The One. It annoys me that they don’t have proper names. I do have a wild guess as to who the Old Man is but after what happened in the last few chapters, I scrapped that thought. You know, it was impossible for him to, you know, and yeah… Anyway, with that ending, I found a new theory as to what is really going on with the Old Man. Read Starters to find out. My life was full of excitement as I read this book so I guess some of my feelings had been exaggerated while reading, but I’m not exaggerating when I say this is a great book. I can’t wait for Enders! I want to read it ASAP but it comes out in December. Oh man I can cry now. Lol. Anyhow, read this book. It’s a good dystopian book, much like the Hunger Games and Uglies (and Divergent I think. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t read it yet). The only difference is that I don’t know if Enders will suck (I know it won’t but I didn’t like Catching Fire) and that the pacing isn’t slow (I remember Uglies’ pace was slow. Still a good book though!) Some notes on new terms here. Starters are the kids and teens, and Enders are the old ones. Friendlies are basically friends or someone who wouldn’t hurt them, while unfriendlies are the exact opposite. Marshals are the cops, I think. I’m not sure if I left anything out but I think this might be helpful for other new readers. I know it took me awhile to figure out what the heck the Starters were even though it was so obvious from the start.
This was a good book. It's not "edge of your seat" suspenseful, but the story is interesting and the main character is likeable. I'm curious about the next book. There's no gratuitous violence, profanity, or sex, so I would recommend it for teens, tweens and adults.
This book was so amazing that I didn't want to put it down (and pretty much didn't for about 3 days!) After reading the entire Hunger Games series last summer, I was looking for a similar story in the dystopian genre. Then, I found Starters, began reading it, and didn't stop until the very last page! I CAN'T WAIT FOR ENDERS!!
“Starters” is not just your daughter’s (or in my case) granddaughter’s novel. Lissa wrote an exciting page turner and did not “dumb down” to attract younger readers. I was fascinated by the cover and was curious to learn this cover girl’s story. It’s an intriguing concept…young people called Starters left to fend for themselves due to the Spore Wars that wiped out everyone between the ages of 20 and 60. Callie, the main character, is orphaned and left to not only fend for herself but to also care for her younger, sickly brother. She’s scared, desperate and makes a decision that ultimately takes her to a frightening place. Prime Destinations hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders – seniors who want to be young again. Romance, intrigue, murder…who could ask for anything more? Well, I can. I’m anxiously awaiting Lissa’s follow up novel, Enders. Highly recommend!!!
Starters was one of the best books I've ever read. It was the first book I've ever come across that i couldn't predict what was gonna happen next. It didn't have elements of cliche and i remember gasping at some points to how twisted the plot got. I really liked the main character, Callie. Though i didn't always agree with her actions she was overall a smart and a strong character. It might not be suitable for little kids because the book talks about the after effects of a war, deaths, etc.. and those may be too harsh for children so young but overall it's great. But the fact that the after effects, the poor state of the young people, the differences between the rich and the poor have been written so truthfully has been one of my favourite parts about the book. I advise everyone to read this book :) Especially if you were a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, you're going to love this book too :)
It was great. Its different and though not suspenseful the whole time the parts that are are great. The main character is so likeable and caring for her litttle brother. Can't wait for the next book
When i read this book i thought of it as an adventure that i could live. the suspense, feelings and action protrayed is extremely real! the twists that travel with your mind creates a love for the plot and the likable characters are perfect for the story. although the suspense until the next book is a bit too much and the things that are left to be explained in the next book seem important. over all my friends and i thought this book was amazing and the author did an outstanding job of captivating the readers, and we definitely can't wait till the next book is released. 5 stars
Blew. My. Mind. This is one of those books where you think you've got it all figured out and then you get busted upside the head with a twist so crazy all you can do is sit and watch your brain explode. It's not hardcore action packed but it's got enough that it's never dull. And not only that but it's a very interesting take on a future society and I think the author gets it dead on of how certain people would act in a setting like this which helps you to really get more involved with the story.
Okay, I am not a person who would come back and comment and rate a book. However, this book was by far one of the best dystopian book (next to Divergent of course). I thought this book was so intriguing and kept me on my toes the whole reading! On the other hand, the beginning of the book was a bit bland but as the story continues, it becomes much more interesting! I would definitely recommend it to dystopian readers/Hunger Game readers.
Could you imagine living in a world where everyone between 20-60 are dead? Callie is trying to support her younger brother with the help of their friend Michael, unfortunately, all people under the age of 19 are not considered citizens and have no rights. They are not allowed to work, own a house, etc. Out of desperation, Callie turns to a corporation that rents the bodies of teens to the elderly population. The mind of the renter controls the teen’s body and the teen’s mind is asleep during the rent. On her third shift, something goes wrong however and Callie comes to consciousness. What is happening to Callie? This book was a great read. It was hard to put down because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Callie is very capable and dedicated to her family. She is a fun, admirable character. This book was written with twists and turns that made sense and left the reader trying to decipher situations and occurrences. Starters is a good book for teens and any fans of science fiction.
I loved this book! Absolutely impossible to put down. Read it. You will like it. There are twists, action, strong characters, great dialogue. Very very well written.
I love the creative twist and turn in this book. A must read if you love sci-fi books.
I actually read the book after seeing it in the public library. I haven't gotten to buy it on here yet, but this book is amazing. I remember that. It's a worth while read, but if you try to discuss it with ANYONE who hasn't read it... Good luck. You get strange looks. It's a great read though! I recommend it to anyone who loves books that are based on unique ideas.
i saw the trailer for this book whilst watching the hunger games and was instantly hooked to it and knew that i had to find out more. i was disappointed to find i had to wait a week to read this book but when it was released i read it and on that saturday night i read two chapters and proceeded to read the rest of the book the following day i loved the concept of the book and although i cannot pin point the reasons why i was hooked it has you hooked within the first few pages and you need to know what happens next, each chapter more intriguing and interesting as the last. i would definitely recommend this book to everyone and i cannot wait until the next installment and as for lissa herself? i think shes a fantastic writer who takes the time to talk and reply to her readers and i hope she continues to amaze us with her talents ps BUY THIS BOOK tags: adventure, science fiction, thriller, dystopian
The world is now only populated by elders and teens after a spores war broke out killing all those that had not taken the vaccine. -- literal meaning of children and elderly first. Callie, our protagonist, is a strong female character who lost both her parents in the war and is now in charge of her younger brother. In order to provide for him she decides to become involved with a company that utilizes teen bodies as rentals for elderly folk. While in her contract, Callie's body encounters technical difficulties that sporadically bring her back to her body when she shouldn't be in it and finds herself involved in a quest to uncover something greater about the institution she now works for and a conspiracy that affects her and all the other teens whose bodies are being used. The premise is great, the story compelling and the end product magnificent. Although hazy in much of the background details pertaining to the new world created by Lissa the story is fast paced and evolves quickly. There is a major revelation at the end of the book that will leave you wanting the sequel. Fast read perfect for dystopian lovers
So cool! SO SO SO COOL! Such a different take on a dystopian world! LOVED IT. Callie was awesome! Tyler was sweet! Blake....well i *thought* he was amazing....(dun dun dun!!!!!) Super cool book! A must read! :D
I really like it!
This book deserves every bit of the acclaim it has received. The storyline is riveting. It took me a few chapters to get hooked, but then I was totally caught in the story's clutches. Callie is an incredibly appealing heroine. She is strong, courageous, clever, and a little stubborn, yet at the same time vulnerable and endearing. After losing both parents, she is determined to protect her younger brother at any cost. I loved her devotion to him. The plot is incredibly original, especially for those who may be tiring a bit of the dystopian genre. I think fans of Divergent and Delirium are sure to love Starters. It's everything I expected such a highly acclaimed novel to be -- and more!
I absolutely loved this book. It was fantastically written and wonderfully imaginative. A great read
This book is awesome and i can not wait for the next book to come out
This book rocks
I really liked this book. Once it got going i could not put it down. Don't pass this book up. It is good!