Wednesday, August 5, 2015

ARC Review: The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

**E-copy ARC received courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by Entangled: Teen
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…

Every time I read a dystopian novel I tend to feel grateful for the world I live in, despite all the horrible things going on, because the world I just finished reading about is usually a whole lot worse off. It also tends to frighten me a bit because the future is unknown and I do not want to live in a world that has annual events that pit children against one another to fight to the death, or a world where I am trapped in a god awful maze or have a disease that turns people into zombies that chase me down the street trying to eat my brain. 

Despite how frightening it is to picture any of those scenarios, the scene this novel sets is perhaps the most frightening because I personally feel it is not something completely unbelievable. The Body Institute is science fiction and dystopia at its finest. A world were people are taxed for being overweight and shamed for their appearance because of being overweight is not that hard to imagine. In real society today people are made to feel bad about how they look. The media portrays beauty as being model thin, or having fair skin, etc. This portrayal makes everyone who does not look like the women they call beautiful to feel self conscious, to hate their bodies, and some go to extreme measures to live up to what they believe are the world's expectations of themselves. The extreme measure in this novel was going to the Body Institute to become a Loaner.

A Loaner allows another person, a Reducer, to pretty much take over their body through mind-swapping technology. The Reducer's body lies in suspended animation while they inhabit the Loaner's body and their job is to get the Loaner into shape. It is kind of a freaky concept really. While it seems like its for the betterment of humans, getting into shape means living a healthy life, it also brings about some ethical issues which brings us to those who oppose the Body Institute. Just like those who would go to extreme measures to meet society's standards, those opposed to the institute also go to extremes.

Our protagonist Morgan is very fit and in shape. However, because her grandfather has collected quite a hefty amount of debt, her family is struggling financially. This financial struggle is what leads Morgan to enroll in the Reducer program as credits are rewarded to those who help the cause. After her first assignment, Morgan is given another which could eliminate her family's debt completely, so naturally she finds it impossible to turn down. Well, a TON of stuff goes down once she takes her second assignment. Protesters go too far, lines between who is wrong and right become blurred, and we see how awful Morgan's Loaner body was treated by others because of her heaviness.

This book had me hooked. It was amazing in every way. The writing was wonderful, the characters relatable and the romance just right. There were so many times I was caught off guard by what was happening which is exactly why I loved it. 

The Body Institute was more than just a novel. It showed a harsh reality as well. People are treated differently because of how they look and it is very unfair. If we continue on our judgmental path, a future like the one in this novel, where people are cruelly treated and cast out of society for being overweight, may not be too far away. Appearances are only part of who we are, we are much more than what we look like and that is what I believe was the moral of this novel and why I would recommend it to everyone.

5 out of 5

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Jessica said...

The Body Institute sounds fantastic! I honestly haven't read a dystopian novel in such a long time, so this sounds pretty perfect for me. The concept is so unique (I'm very grateful I live in this world and not that one!) I'll definitely have to check this out!

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