In Lissa Price's young adult dystopian novel Starters she explores a terrifying future in which the United States is divided into two groups of survivIn Lissa Price's young adult dystopian novel Starters she explores a terrifying future in which the United States is divided into two groups of survivors after an apocalyptic biowarfare event takes place: starters and enders. Starters are the young persons at the beginning of their lives, with enders being elderly persons at the other end of the life spectrum. Both age groups were given priority access to immunizations which protected them from the virus that decimated the rest of the population, who were unable to be immunized. In this book, technological advances have extended the lives of the elderly population seemingly infinitely, so you can guess at the power that the enders are able to wield in their polarized world.
Callie is a starter, a teenage survivor who is thrust into the position of caring for her sick younger brother alone, fighting for every calorie that they intake among other starters whose lives have been upended. Callie and her younger brother live in constant danger, so when an opportunity comes along which allows her to gain enough money to remove danger from their lives, Callie makes the difficult decision to take it. What is so difficult about making a life-saving decision? She must rent out her body for elderly people to implant their consciousness into, while her own consciousness is put on hold.
Not only is she selling her body, but in essence, she is selling her soul.
Starters is a fun, fast-moving book, and is a solid new addition to the growing dystopian sub-genre in young adult literature. I love any story that produces a rivalry between a protagonist and an antagonist that is more than just a person, and Starters does just that. Initially for Callie, the antagonist is the entire environment that she is in, with the survival of her and her brother at stake. Then, things heat up pretty quickly after the premise of body rental is set up, which hooks the reader into following Callie's story as she comes up against more distinct antagonists, which threaten her life and freedom more than ever. Callie is very likable and easy to sympathize with, and is a gratifyingly proactive character, who does what she must in order to stay alive. She's smart, capable, and thankfully, is fairly distrusting of everyone, with the exception of those who have worked hard to earn it. Frankly, she's pretty badass. As a teen, this young woman is just the kind of character that female readers would like to think that they'd be, if they were placed in the same situation.
While Starters is a great contribution to young adult fiction, it does have a couple of weaknesses. Some of the choices to keep the novel fast-paced could have been traded for some more description of the environment, both physical and in terms of social context, for example. I am a major fan of dystopian fiction because of the bleak visions of what our world could become, and thus love to read all of the grim details of worlds that thankfully, I don't have to live in. Tell me more, so that I can experience an even greater thrill of triumph when our protagonist overcomes her obstacles! Another weakness was that a couple of the supporting characters (who were so carefully introduced early on) got a little lost in the rapidly-progressing story.
Apart from those minor complaints, I recommend Starters to fans of YA dystopian literature, and look forward to Lissa Price's next installment: Enders....more
If you're looking to peer into the mind of the serial killer, Gary Ridgway with this one, then put this graphic novel down. This graphic novel, writteIf you're looking to peer into the mind of the serial killer, Gary Ridgway with this one, then put this graphic novel down. This graphic novel, written by Jeff Jensen, one of Green River Task Force Tom Jensen's sons, is a look at a man who is trying to peer into the abyss. The abyss, at first, being who in the universe would kill all of those women in the SeaTac area of Seattle, Washington. Later, when Gary Ridgway's DNA is identified with updated technology, the abyss becomes WHY he would do it.
Growing up in Seattle during the late-80s up until a couple of years before the announcement of Gary Ridgway as the prime suspect, captured, this graphic novel truly resonated with me. As Portland, OR thriller author Chelsea Cain mentioned regarding the inspiration for her Gretchen Lowell serial killer series, the mood of the Pacific Northwest was fairly grim as a result of its mysterious Green River killings. I feel like Jeff Jensen captured not only the mood of his father, the primary investigator on the Green River Task Force, but the general bewilderment and sense of dread that the entire region experienced in this graphic novel....more