Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul… 

What a book!!  This one just grabbed me by the hair and yanked me right along for a thrill ride.  I absolutely loved it! Morgan lives in a dystopian world where people are fined for being overweight beyond an acceptable range.  A special institute was created where people who are good at exercise and losing weight can be hired to swap bodies and lose the weight for you.  Sounds outlandish at first, but let me tell you, the author did an amazing job with both her worldbuilding, and with the scientific aspect that allowed me to suspend disbelief.

Morgan is a Reducer.  This means, the institute can take a "brain map" of her brain, basically downloading a perfect copy of her brain and who she is, and place it into the mind of someone who needs to lose weight.  That person's brain map is stored elsewhere while the Reducer is busy losing their weight for them.  The scientific explanations were fascinating, but not overwhelming. The reader was given just enough to understand and find it plausible, and then the rest was just fantastic storytelling.

With any type of thing like this, however, you'll find protesters who don't think it's right, find fault with it, think it's too dangerous, too invasive, too high-handed of their government to try to enforce a weight-loss of its citizens.  I was able to truly understand and empathize with this, as I truly believe that we could end up with a society like this where you're fined for being overweight.

I loved Morgan from the very start. She truly believes in what she's doing, believes that she's helping people, and doesn't want to think there might be something wrong with it. But on her latest assignment, a few too many things begin to go wrong, not least of which is the fact that she's experiencing memories from the loaner body she's currently residing within.

This story was smart, unique, and fascinating.  The author managed to put in a pretty awesome romance too, while not detracting from the story.  In fact, I found the romance particularly gratifying because Morgan and her love interest are both reducers who aren't actually seeing each others' true physical bodies but are actually getting to know and admire each other's personalities alone.  I loved this aspect very much.

Everything just worked perfectly together.  All the story elements were perfectly played out and balanced.  I flew through the pages and just couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. There were some significant surprises near the end that shocked me and had me on the edge of my seat.  This was definitely one that I won't soon forget.  Amazing book!

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