Feature Book of the Week #10 Starters by Lissa Price

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feature Book of the Week
Lissa Price

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined.

A Guest Post From Lissa Price

Hi Battlers! I’m truly honored that Starters is one of the books you’re covering this year. Readers always like hearing about how I got the idea for the series. But first, let me recap the basis for the stories. The unusual world of Starters where only seniors and teens and younger exist came about because of the Spore Wars where the unvaccinated did not survive the fatal disease. There was only a limited supply of the vaccine so it went to the very young and the very old, leaving the “Middles” unprotected. When the spores were shot out of missiles from the enemy, almost all of the parents inhaled them and died.

That left the world of young people, mostly teens called Starters, and seniors, called Enders.

A few years ago I was trying to get a flu shot from a store called Costco. This is a large, big-box membership store that is housed in a big empty warehouse. No carpet, no dividing walls, just this huge, cold gray space. They have a pharmacy there and when they do flu shots, they shut down several registers and create lines there. I was prepared to get the shot, waiting, a little nervous, when they announced that there wasn’t enough vaccine for everyone. Some batches had been spoiled at the laboratory so our government had set up a triage system: only the very young and the very old could get the vaccine.

I had been waiting a while, so I was not happy. My mind started to rationalize why this shouldn’t be. I thought – wait, if this was a killer disease, and only the most vulnerable people are going to get the vaccine, then all you’d have left would be the weakest members of society. How would they be able to carry on?

And then I thought – that’s a great idea for a book. So I left without my flu shot but with something else – something much more important. I thought about the idea for a long time asking myself what this story should be about? What are ways for conflict? How do the elderly and the young not get along? I thought of how, unless you’re related, most seniors don’t want to be around young people – they’re too noisy and dangerous, riding skateboards and scooters, knocking the elderly over. And how would the elderly take advantage of them? They can vote while the teens cannot. They’d enact the no-work law so the teens could not take jobs away from them at places like McDonalds.  Because some of the seniors would be wealthy after years of investing, but others would need an income because they lived longer than they’d imagined. And of course, the biggest reason they’d exploit the teens is they would want to have their healthy bodies – at least temporarily.

So that’s how I looked at the world around me and invented the world of Starters.  When student writers ask where do you get your ideas, I just say: Costco.

Visit me at www.lissaprice.com or follow me on Twitter @Lissa_Price 

About the Author 

Lissa Price’s debut novel STARTERS is an international bestseller published in over thirty countries, with praise from Kami Garcia and Harlan Ellison. Dean Koontz called this YA futuristic thriller “a smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.” STARTERS appeared on many best of lists and won top awards in the Netherlands, Germany and France. Kirkus called  the sequel, ENDERS, “delightfully disturbing,” and La Fenice Book said: “Enders is one of the most original dystopian stories that has been published.”

Starters is a YALSA Quick Pick, a Best YA Thriller, a Granite Book Award Winner and more. It made several state reading lists in both the Middle Grade and Teen categories, as well as the International Reading Association’s list. Chosen by Barnes & Noble as one of only four debuts on the Best Teen Books of the Year, and debuted as #2 on the SCIBA Indie Bookseller’s List. With high praise from Booklist, Kirkus, Dean Koontz, Kami Garcia, Harlan Ellison, and the LA Times. Now in the 8th printing.

15 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

A chilling tale into a far too possible future...And we love it!

Parkway Northeast Middle School

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the plot to this story. Lissa Price interwove the perfect amount of suspense, adventure, and romance, all the while dragging us onto a magical, beautiful book.

Ft. Zumwalt North Middle

Anonymous said...

I'm not very far in the book, but so far I love it! I want to know what happens later in the book! Callie surprises me. She left her brother to live in an abandoned apartment instead of staying with him. I wouldn't have gone to Prime Destinations...

Audri Ft. Zumwalt North Middle School

Steve H. said...

This book seems well thought out. I like the book because of the way the story plays out.This book seems very interesting and I will love to read this book to everyone I know. It told about how the old can switch bodies with the young and to me that seems to be the best part. --Steve, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Camielle C. said...

I would read this book because it sounds very interesting. I like how she got the idea from and experience she had. She used how things happened in the real world today, like with elders and the teens and I can relate to that. Camielle, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Stacy V. said...

The reason why I would read this book is because I am attached to the fact that only the young and old can live and I really want to know how are they going to continue being a strong community and survive. Stacy, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Jermaine L. said...

I like this book because it talks about courage. She wants to help her brothers stay alive. This will inspire kids to do anything to help, not only their families, but for their communities. It gets me wondering what Prime Destination’s plans are. This book is a mix of action and adventure. I would read it. Jermaine, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Makala R. said...

I think I would maybe read this book Starters because I want to know more about the Spore Wars. I must admit I like this about it sounds mysterious, and as Ii was reading the summary because there’s a mysterious figure known as the Old Man, I want to know about.--Makala 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Tylea W. said...

I think I would like to read the book Starters because I want to find out what is done when you became a donor for the old man. This sounds like a good book because it sounds mysterious, and reading the summary made me want to read it right away because I’m obsessed to know what’s going to happen. --Tylea, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Heaven W. said...

I would like to read the book Starters because it sounds like it has lots of different feelings in it. It has sad moments, bad moments, suspense moments, also maybe some happy moments. I would really love to read this book. --Heaven, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Armira M. said...

This book is very confusing at the beginning,but as you read it, it gets very interesting. Like how the ender can recognize another ender. Also how it scifi type, but how it's mysterious. Armira, 7th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Nicholas M. said...

I admire the way she got the idea for this book. The idea of this book is very thought out from start to finish, like how the main character’s parents die and there’s nothing left but the young and old.Nicholas, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Sierra M. said...

I would read this book because this book seems very interesting.The part when she went to Costco to get her shot, it was very interesting it shows where she got the idea. It seems like the book is based off a true story.--Sierra, 8th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Tyrianne T. said...

The way this book is set up it really caught my attention. From the Spore Wars to Prime Destinations everything is just all put together. All the different names for people like starters, enders, and renegades they are all just other details that interest me.Tyrianne, 7th grader at Lift for Life Academy

Brittany Woods Book Battle Team said...

Wow, this book was intense! Though the situations seemed unlikely to ever happen (a virus that kills only the middle aged? Renting out young bodies to creepy old geezers?), this book captured our attention. It's got the same themes as popular novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but it's different enough so it doesn't feel like more of the same. Callie's another strong female character, but she has her flaws too. We hope there's a sequel!

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