Body Parts – Jessica Kapp

There’s a medication you can take to be stronger. Another one to make you smarter. Another to make you more beautiful. Another to make you faster. In fact, there’s a medication for anything you want to change about yourself. You can take your pick and you have money to burn so you can take as many different types as you want. You continue taking them all because they work so well. Then you find out your liver is failing and you need a transplant or you’ll die. Do you question where your new liver is coming from? Do you brush aside any ethical dilemmas you might stumble across in the process and decide to go ahead with the surgery anyway? After all, your life is on the line.

I’m not quite sure how she did it but Jessica Kapp reeled me in by the end of the first page and had me on her hook until the end of the book. Body Parts provides a very interesting (and quite scary) commentary on both the organ transplant and pharmaceutical industries.

In the beginning of this book we meet a group of children at the Centre who are being trained to be as healthy as possible in order to increase their chances of being placed with a foster family. Each child has lived in hope that their dream of belonging in a real family will come true. We follow Tabitha as she’s given the news that a family wants to foster her and when she subsequently learns that nothing at the Centre is as it seems. Who can you trust when everything you’ve been taught growing up turns out to be lies?

I loved a lot of the characters, especially Mary, but felt like some of the peripheral characters blended into each other a bit. I enjoyed the uncertainty I felt along with Tabitha regarding who she could trust, and liked that some characters had motives that weren’t always immediately apparent. Some minor irritations, such as the ending feeling rushed and finding the Insta-love annoying at times, didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book. I found myself wanting to rush through to find out if my suspicions about certain characters were valid and who would be saved from getting slaughtered for spare parts.

I kept thinking as I was reading that a scenario like that described in this book isn’t so far fetched that it’s not within the realms of possibility. Is it really that much of a leap, when there’s already distrust surrounding big drug companies and so many stories about black market organ theft, to believe they could easily merge into one hugely profitable venture?

Partway through this book and with questions like this playing in my head, the X-Phile in me accidentally escaped and thought it would be fun to go all conspiracy theory on me. My favourite outlandish conspiracy theory? What if this book isn’t fiction but is actually a memoir and one day far into the future, Jessica Kapp is going to come clean and reveal at long last that this is actually her story, that she is indeed Tabitha… Yeah, I know. I should be banned from watching The X-Files for life and perhaps conspiracy theory me should not be allowed out in polite company, but I love playing with what ifs. They make life much more entertaining.

Yes, I’m still happy to be an organ donor, but not until I’ve finished using them. Young adults and adults alike will enjoy this book and I’ll be looking out for future books by Jessica Kapp. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Diversion Books for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

People would kill for her body.

Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha’s been sculpted into a world-class athlete. Her trainers have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family, even though personal health has taken a backseat outside the training facility. While Tabitha swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, hoping to find a permanent home, the rest of the community takes pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase their wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength.

When Tabitha’s finally paired, instead of being taken to meet her new parents, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason for her perfect health: PharmPerfect is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. And her friends from the center, the only family she’s ever known, are next in line to be harvested.

Determined to save them, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to infiltrate the hospital and uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?

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