The Body Institute
Author: Carol Riggs
Expected publication: September 1, 2015
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Format: 386 pages, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
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**I received an eBook copy of The Body Institute through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**
The Body Insitute surrounds the life of Morgan Dey, who is a reducer. Cutting edge technology allows “reducers” to temporarily take over the life another person, called a “loaner”, to get them into a healthier body. During this transfer, the loaner’s “brainmap”, essentially their thoughts and soul, is saved into a hard drive. Even though research has shown that this process is effective, protestors are starting to become more violent towards the institute and its reducers. In the middle of Morgan’s next job, she starts experiencing glitches that show remnants of her loaner’s brainmap. The longer she stays in that body, the more she feels like their thoughts and memories are morphing together. With the constant violence from protestors and the glitches, Morgan can’t help but wonder if there’s something that The Body Institute is hiding and if she’ll lose all of herself in the end.
Plot/Concept: The Body Institute is definitely a whole new concept, one that I have yet to come across. I think that it was a great choice, given how prominent weight is discussed in our world today. Coming from a nutrition background, I know that every 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese and these numbers are projected to increase. So it was really interesting to see these numbers and how social media interpret and treat that population nowadays paralleled into the book. The plot was just surreal, a lot of it took me by surprised. Riggs took me into this journey that I just didn’t see coming. Each plot twist just kept surprising me and it made me want to keep reading.
Writing: Riggs’ writing was very likable and there wasn’t anything too negative that stood out to me. My only complaint was that I felt like the first half of the book was paced a little slower than the second half. I thought that there was more of an extended introduction and I wish that cut a little shorter so that there was more room for the ending. The ending wrapped up really quickly and I wish there was more to it. While she hasn’t indicated a sequel, the ending is set up in a way that in can have a sequel. It’s also obvious that she did her research, there was a lot of science and technological information involved when explaining the Electromagnetic Resonance Transfer (ERT) process. Along with that, there was physics involved since it was a part of Morgan’s passion. Everything surrounding the government and the Body Institute really connected and was thoroughly explained.
Characters: Morgan was a really great dynamic character. Her development in the novel is wonderful and you start to see it unravel as she starts to learn more of the truth about the institute. Her entire life people and social media have drilled into her about the importance of fitness. I mean, living a healthy lifestyle is indeed important but it’s not something that should be controlled by government. So it’s reasonable to see how she acts towards the overweight population. I didn’t relate too much to her but she can be very relatable. She’s very smart and strong-willed. The secondary characters weren’t as memorable as Morgan. The only ones that stood out for me were her grandfather, Vonn, and Leo.
Memorable Moments: My favorite parts started coming halfway through the book. That was when the plot twists started popping up and taking me by surprise. I also love how the romance in the novel wasn’t the main focus. I love how the romance unravels, too. I really enjoyed the ending, even though it was bittersweet. I wish that we did have more but I like how realistic it was.