Book Review: The Body Institute

Do you guys remember when I hosted a cover reveal for The Body Institute by Carol Riggs back in March? Well I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy to read and review!
The Body Institute
by Carol Riggs
Release Date: September 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

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…

I was originally interested in the book because I thought it would be tackling issues like body shaming and discrimination, but that wasn’t really the case. There were a few moments hidden in between health lectures, but they seemed few and far between. I might have just been too sensitive about it, because of my own personal history – and I’ll admit there were parts in the beginning that were triggering to me and I had to put the book down. Therefore, I would recommend anyone living with an eating disorder or body-dismorphia to read with caution.

However, for all the personal challenges I had while reading this book, I’ve very glad I did. There is no doubt that Carol Riggs is an excellent writer and keeps the reader guessing. I’m normally that person that has everything figured out – not with The Body Institute! The story was slow (but engaging) until the 50% mark and just when I thought I knew what was going to happen I got hit with twist after twist. I read the last half of the book in a day because I just couldn’t put it down!

I like the world building, it was easy to imagine and the technology seemed plausible in the next 100 years or so. I don’t know much about tech or biology but to me, the tech described for switching minds didn’t seem all that impossible. That’s what marks a good sci-fi for me – books with tech that is realistic is way more unnerving that fantasy lands.

I love Morgan for her resliance and her detication to her family. She was a heroine that I could really get behind and not be annoyed by the 1st person perspective. After all she went though, and still carrying herself with pride really inspired me. The other characters were all great in their way, and the cast supported a very well thought out plot.

My favourite character was Morgans grandfather. I felt like I connected with him better because he was not a native of this intense technology, just as I would be if it were developed in my life time. I think his family (even Morgan in the beginning) writes him off as a grumpy old man, but he is very wise. There was something that he said that seems to be a cornerstone of the theme of this book, which I will leave here for everyone:

“Your looks are an important part of who you are. You wouldn’t be who you are, the same personality, if you’d grown up looking different. You’re a blend of your body and your soul.”

 

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
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Book Review: Synthetica

Synthetica by Rachel Pattinson was a great debut novel. At 299 (kindle) pages, Synthetica was a fast-paced read for me. The story was paced well, and had surprises at every turn. Thankfully, it didn’t fall victim to the usual YA tropes and really stands out as an interesting take at the dystopian society. The world of Synthetica isn’t as far-fetched as we’d like to hope.

Synthetica
by Rachel Pattinson
Release Date: April 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

This city is falling.

Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.

But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet…

Anais, our heroine, is an average girl-next-door who grew up in a lower-middle class family. At her career meeting she is placed in the Picochip factory, just like her parents. Anais’ hope is that she could break out of those limits and become an architect by using SLP chips that allow the user to learn everything instantly. (Which would be awesome in the real world, am I right?) Then after witnessing a murder, her and her friends start to put the pieces together and discover a dangerous terrorist plot.

The world building was fantastic! In fact, it was probably my favorite part of Synthetica. The story is set in the “moderately distant” future of earth, where technology is so advanced that children’s traits can be picked at conception. I always found this fascinating, getting to “build” your perfect child so to speak. On the dark side of this idea, however, I could see how this could turn sour for society and we would become fixated on having the perfect child. Luckily in this world, people can easily change their hair and even eye colour to fit the particular fashion.

The story and action really kick it into gear around the 50% mark. I suddenly found it impossible to put down and I read the latter half of the book in one sitting. The ending was such a cliffhanger, hopefully the second installment will be out soon.

Unfortunately, I must comment on the formatting for the e-reader. I use a free reader, UB reader via the Google Play Store, for the ARC copies I receive. I read exclusively on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet. When I opened the file, I was disappointed to see that none of the chapters were linked or spaced properly and paragraphs cut off mid-line. Hopefully this wasn’t the case for everyone else who is reading it. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

Ultimately, I would be interested in seeing more from this author… Particularly the one about a sex-crazed girl in a dome world that she mentioned in her bio!

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
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