Teenagers with microchips that enable people to borrow their bodies evade those who would use them.
Using an inheritance from Helena, the elderly woman who rented Callie’s body in Starters (2012), Callie’s carved out a life and safety for herself, her younger brother and her best friend, Michael. Then the first book’s main villain, the Old Man, reaches out to her to demonstrate the deadly danger the chips pose if the chip-implanted teenagers, Metals, don’t obey him. He commands Callie to meet him, but she’s intercepted and rescued by a boy claiming to be the Old Man’s son. Genius Hyden, who helped develop the chips, explains how to block the signals his father uses to track and control Metals. The developing romance stays in the background, as Callie and Hyden set about keeping the Metals from his father in the slow first half. Predictably, there is a raid, and all except Callie, Hyden and Michael are conveniently captured, launching an action-oriented rescue storyline and a series of plot twists. Some glossed-over twists stretch believability, though the threat (and villain’s secret plan), smaller-scale than in Starters, is personal in a creepy way. Metals can be controlled remotely, and Callie’s modified chip keeps her awake and aware, leading to a delightfully disturbing climax.
It’s not as intense as Starters, but it offers some answers and a solid conclusion that will repay readers. (Science fiction. 12-18)