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Starters Hardcover – March 13, 2012

422 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Starters Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Following the Spore Wars, 16-year-old Callie struggles to carve an existence for herself and her younger brother, Tyler, in a California where everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 has perished. Although many in this near-future society eke out meager, hopeless existences, an elderly, wealthy Beverly Hills population and their grandchildren continue their lavish lifestyles. Medical advances ensure that entitled adults live beyond the century mark, creating a self-absorbed, controlling "Ender"class. Too young to work, Callie is a "Starter" on the run, in constant danger of arrest by the marshals and attack by renegades. Adding to her desperation is Tyler's rare lung disorder, making finding a stable home environment imperative. Unable to legally earn money, Callie registers with Prime Destinations, a clandestine service where Enders can re-experience youth by renting the bodies of teenage Starters via brain implants and computer interfaces. Although Callie's instincts scream danger, several rentals of her body proceed smoothly. But a malfunction during a third rental causes Callie to regain consciousness while being inhabited, immersing her in the lives of the rich and powerful, providing a love interest, and propelling her to the center of the sinister schemes unfolding at Prime Destinations. Lissa Price's intriguing, fast-paced tale (Delacorte, 2012) is enhanced by Rebecca Lowman's flawless voicing of each character and perfect timing. Fans of dystopian novels will be completely engaged and clamoring for the sequel.-Rebecca James, Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood, TNα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"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.”
—’s Hollywood Crush Blog

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Series: Starters (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385742371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385742375
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These days it is hard to write a dystopian YA and have it stand out. Starters did not have that problem; it was impressive from start to finish.

In the first few pages, we are immersed in the dangerous world where Callie, the protagonist of the book, lives. There has been a horrible war where the US has fell victim to a terrible biological attack, where only the elderly and young have been vaccinated. Unsurprisingly, this leaves the young to fend for themselves. Callie is forced to make some tough decisions when an offer to rent her young body to an elderly person for a short time comes across the table. This money could save her little brother's life.

There are countless strengths of this novel. The key, however, is Callie. She is a terrific main character; she is strong, resourceful, intelligent and brave... but at the same time believable and utterly likeable. She will do anything to take care of her little brother. Also, this novel begins in the middle-- right in the center of the action and never lets up all the way through. I blazed through this book and couldn't put it down. The starkness and clarity of the prose really came through; it was crisply written. I loved each of the twists and did not even predict the biggest one. It's hard to do that with a seasoned YA veteran reader. Furthermore, the other characters were well developed. Probably my other favorite character was Madison- I'll leave the reader to discover her. She was an utter gem. The world that Lissa Price builds is terrible but very believable; while not entirely unique (which is pretty impossible at this point), she gave a brand-new spin in her creation of this dystopian society.

And the Old Man.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Brandi Leigh Kosiner on March 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is such a creepy and delicious idea for a dystopia! The idea of renting out your body and not knowing what the renter does is so hard to imagine, and just reading the description makes you wonder why you would want to do that. We quickly see with Callie her heart and determination--she does it for her brother. The family bond there is so sweet and I love how that is woven into the story. Fighting for her only surviving family is a motivation that I can totally understand and makes her actions believable and commendable.
The idea of the Enders is kinda creepy too... not knowing who is a real teen, and if you are seeing the same person inside a body every time. I liked some of the Enders that we met, and you can understand their motivations too.
I really enjoyed the romance and how twisted the relationships really are. I hope that they are explored fully in the next books in the series because there is so much potential and I want to know what happens next.
There is a lot of action and I was constantly engaged, wondering what would happen next and what would throw me for a loop.
Essentially, I loved it and can't wait for the next. Strong characters and refreshing idea.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mother/Gamer/Writer on April 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Originally Reviewed at: Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating: 5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Me

What Lissa Price created is nothing short of phenomenal. It took me a while to write this review, only because I had to take a break, sit back and mull over the epic tale that is Starters. You know a book is a gem when you can't stop thinking about it, decided to re-read it, and then still have to take a moment to collect your thoughts. It's kind of like Dollhouse with Matrix style action, only it's the elderly population in cahoots with the government creating havoc and mayhem. Maybe not intentionally, but nonetheless its happening.

It all began when the US was attacked with biological weaponry which initiated the Spore Wars. Everyone except those who were lucky enough to get vaccinated died leaving the population with two distinct groups of people: The elderly population (60 and above) called Enders, and the younger generation (20 and below) called Starters. The Enders, with their beautiful white hair, will do anything to stay young; while the poor disadvantaged Starters, who are mostly homeless/unclaimed children, will do anything for food. Creating such a unique dystopian society was absolutely brilliant. With each passing page readers can get a feel for how wonderful and luxurious life is for Enders, while at the same time you can feel compassion for the helpless Starters who are constantly fighting amongst themselves for basic necessities such as food and shelter. It's definitely a game of survival of the fittest for these young children, in a world where they are viewed as an abomination.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Berto on May 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm going to say this upfront: If you're looking for another book after finishing THE HUNGER GAMES, this is your book. I mean THE HUNGER GAMES was a 6/5, but this book is 5/5. Still amazing, right?

This is a guide that sums up my feelings for the book:

Characters - 4
Tension and excitement - 5
Originality - 4
Reading ease - 5
Plot - 5

I love the idea of someone giving up their life or putting their courage out there for a loved one. Callie, the protagonist, must do this for her sick, hungry, homeless brother, of whom she "squats" with, along with potential love interest, Michael. They constantly evade the law (the authorities will harm or even kill them if found). Once she gave her body to the Body Bank out of necessity, I was hooked. I was instantly feeling for the outcome. Will her brother ever see her again?

This book is better in concept than it is about Callie's journey. Which is better, I think. It has that "the whole world is resting on the protagonist" thing (couch, cough, THE HUNGER GAMES), but it's a SciFi novel. And I LOVED it! How can this happen? SciFi is for nerdy geek boys. Anyway, I'm stunned.

Callie is quite strong, although there's nothing wow about her such as the classics: Katniss Everdeen, Severus Snape or Scout Finch. Her little brother, Tyler, is adorable and one of the best.

The pacing in this book is wicked. Fast, catchy. The type where you're better off putting down the book mid-chapter because you will NOT be able to stop at the end of any chapter.

This book isn't heavy on setting or world-building, which is a shame. This world is in the future, and broken so it would have been even better if I got more of a feel for it.

The sequel, ENDERS comes out December 2012, and if I don't die from holding my breath until then, I hope to read it ASAP.
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