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    Wholesome and thought provoking

    I wasn't sure I'd like this YA novel, but I was intrigued by the premise, and the one line on the cover that asks the question "are we our minds . . . or our bodies?" I attended a book signing at a local bookstore, and after hearing author Carol Riggs discuss the book, the plot concept and issues explored, I had a few questions. The author wasn't sure if it was Dystopian, but did assure me it was not the typical angsty YA voice. I liked what she read, and that intriguing question, and decided to take the chance and purchase a paper copy. To my mind, this is definitely not dystopian, and does not take place in a school. The world is set approx 50 years in the future, but that future is not a set date, as the technology, environmental, and social issues addressed could plausibly happen any time between next year or more than a hundred years. I liked how the author moved today's current issues along to a logical conclusion, complete with all the expected benefits and drawbacks. I could see myself living in this speculative future and completely related to the concerns and stubbornness of the Grandfather. The age of the protagonist - nearly 18 year old Morgan who is an over achieving science geek with loyal friends and a wholesome, patriotic attitude - works well for the future focus, as even today young people and their industriousness is what the older (not elderly) generation depends on to keep the world moving forward. Each generation of characters was well developed, easily relatable regardless of the age of the reader. Without giving spoilers, I'll just say the villian in this novel is Big Business and Government, focusing down to one person of course; and includes the question of how much control each should have over our individual choices/rights. I like a book that opens my mind to different opinions, and makes me want to research/learn about technologies and philosophies. I would recommend THE BODY INSTITUTE to anyone who enjoys a well paced mystery, an exploration of social issues in the near future, excellently developed and believable characters, and a wholesome concept that promotes family values.
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