The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
The Body Institute is a sci-fi dystopian book that focuses on Morgan and her new position as a 'Reducer' at The Body Institute. A Reducer is somebody who, through the use of advanced technology, can enter another humans (the 'Loaner') body for a contractual amount of time to help that person lose weight, before returning to their everyday lives in their own bodies. During this time, the Reducers consciousness is placed into the Loaner's body, and the Loaner's consciousness is put to sleep. This process, however, means that Morgan won't remember any of the time she spent in her Loaner's body - to protect the Loaner's identity, of course. At the start of the book, I thought this storyline was fascinating. I was so interested by the advanced technology and the whole concept of this story, but then the story transformed into something else. It became so much more than a body-swapping story, it had politics, romance, friendship, danger, protests, bullying, secrets, lies, family - and I loved every word of it.
Every time I reached a point in this book that made me think "wow, this can't get any better" - it did. As cliche as that sounds, it describes my feelings about reading this book so perfectly. I loved Morgan as a main character and despite seeing a lot of her worries and negative emotions, I didn't feel as though it was a drag to read. I felt myself identifying with her situation more than I thought I possibly could, so her reactions, thoughts and emotions all felt real to me. The relationships within the book were honest and heartwarming. From Morgan's relationship with her grandfather, to her friendship with her two best friends, even to the housekeeper - it all felt real and genuine. I enjoyed reading about the characters, as much as I enjoyed reading about the storyline and the events that went on.
The ending of the book, despite the situation being so bleak, was heartwarming and comforting, but in an unexpected way. The story wrapped itself up really well and although I wanted to know more from this world and be inside the book for longer, I felt happy with the conclusion and felt as though the story was put to bed. I am so glad I picked up this book, as The Body Institute is now a firm contender for my favourite book of 2015.