Title: The Body Institute
Author: Carol Riggs
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
The Body Institute contains the type of story that is frightening to think about because it could possibly happen one day. One day science could advance to a point where it is possible for people to switch bodies and that the government can control more things - such as a persons weight.
We all ready live in a world where how much we weigh matters, but not to the extreme that it does in The Body Institute. In this world, the government will tax you if you weigh more than 20 pounds over what they think you should way. The longer you are overweight and the more overweight you are, the higher the tax. Even if you are over your ideal weight, but within that 20 pound range for too long you will get taxed. The government also offers a lot of incentives to the people to exercise. The more exercising you do, the more points you get. You can then turn the points in for a reward.
Naturally an Institute was created to help people with their weight loss. However, it isn't as simple as joining a gym and working out with a personal trainer. The person actually has to give up their body. Their psyche is downloaded and put into a computer some where while someone else is loaded into their body to do all the hard work for them.
Morgan is one of those that they put into another body to do the hard work of losing the weight. The story starts up with her completing a job that she was on to lose 50 pounds for her loaner (the body that needs to lose the weight) and not wanting to do it ever again. Unfortunately for her, when she is returned to her own body, her memories are reset back to before she started the job. She loses 3 months of her life. No memories whatsoever.
Morgan is then offered to do another job. This time it will be 6 months long and her Loaner needs to lose 100 pounds. However, she will be living off site with her Reducers family this time, not at the Body Institute. She will also be given a large amount of credits (money) to complete this job. Enough to settle her families huge debt and still put some away for tech school. Since she doesn't remember that she doesn't want to ever do the job again and because her family could really use the money she agrees.
What happens after Morgan starts this job is a total whirlwind. She starts experiencing memories that don't belong to her, they belong to the Loaner and they shouldn't be happening. There is a boy she is interested in, but he never responds to anything of any importance that she asks him about. And protesters keep attacking The Body Institute and Reducers.
The Body Institute is a fantastic read. Not only does it tell a wonderful story and tells it well, this story makes you think at the same time. It is easy to find nuggets of our world in Morgans. These nuggets really help make the story something the reader can relate to and really draws you in.
There are also a lot of tough topics brought up that require the reader to think. I love when a book makes this happen. First, there is the issue on government control with the government trying to control how much a person weighs with extra taxes. Then there is the topic of bullying. The Loaner that Morgan is helping to lose weight has been the victim of quite a bit. Also, body image is touched upon. If you are a larger person, are you worth less to society, to your family, to yourself? And finally, if you occupy a body that is not your own, are you still you?
The character development is well done. I really enjoyed Morgan. She was a great narrator for this story. I enjoyed watching her evolve and change. I do wish that Vonn had been developed a little bit better. He felt a bit flat to me at times. I never really felt as though I was getting a good read on his emotions.
The Body Institute is a fantastic read. It will make you think. It will get you involved and suck you in.
5 out of 5 stars
This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.