Enders by Lissa Price
Part 1, Starters (My Review) proposed an interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic world - a world-wide war waged using biological weapons killed the all the middle-adults. Children were inoculated, the elderly were inoculated, but due to a shortage of inoculations and the assumptions that the middle-aged would be robust enough to survive, they weren't inoculated and, well, died. Leaving a world of children and elderly. Children who had living grandparents were taken care of, but the rest of the children fended for themselves, trying to avoid capture and institutionalization.
Medical science advances allowed the elderly to live longer and a new technology, à la Dollhouse made it possible for a company to allow the affluent elderly to "rent" teenagers - allowing them to participate in activities that their elderly bodies couldn't handle, like sports and partying. (There were all kinds of rules about what you could and couldn't do and you put up a rather large bond against doing anything that would put your "host" in jeopardy. Microchips and wireless technology allowed the sleeping elderly to control the teens while their own brains were asleep. The microchips also prevented things like using the teen bodies to kill someone else.)
In Starters, a teenager, Callie, was forced by circumstance to enroll with the company that offered this service. But she began coming in and out of consciousness and was able to communicate with the person renting her - a grandmother hoping to find her granddaughter who had enrolled with the company and then gone missing. A conspiracy is uncovered where the company was planning to offer permanent rentals and by the end of the book the company is exposed and dismantled, but the company's founder has escaped.
In book two we learn that the microchips can also be triggered to explode, killing the host. Oh, and the chips can't be removed without killing the host. So the founder, now in hiding, is still able to reach out and access the hosts and is working to rebuild his "army."
It is an interesting concept, but I struggled to keep reading and finally gave up about 12 chapters in (of 26). I even tried reading the last few pages to see what the final outcome was and realized I just didn't care. I hate to say that, but it's the truth. There are more books than I'll ever be able to read in my lifetime, so I just decided it was time to set this one aside and move on to the next one. I won't like every book I read, but I feel really guilty when I set one aside. I've never had a book published so I feel like I shouldn't be in a position to judge a book (funny, I don't feel the same way about movies or television) but, yeah, it's time to move on.
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