Disclaimer: I received a reviewers copy of Body Parts from the publisher, Diversion Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Sixteen year old Tabitha has been raised at the elite foster centre off the California coast for as long as she can remember. Growing up, Tabitha has been sculpted into a world-class athlete. The rest of the community take pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength. Tabitha’s trainers have told her she will need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family.
Tabitha is finally paired, but her dreams of being part of a loving family is shattered. She wakes up in a hospital bed immobile. Moments before Tabitha is sliced open, a group of renegades rescue her, and learns the real reason for her to be in a perfect shape.
With the family she has only ever had next in line to be harvested, Tabitha joins forces with the rebels determined to save them and take down PharmPerfect. As Tabitha tries to uncover secrets she, she only finds herself with more questions than answers.
Body Parts by Jessica Kapp is a chilling read which makes you question society’s perception of perfection, and the way science is heading in regards to flawless beauty. Although exaggerated the correlations between our society’s thirst for flawless outer beauty and Tabitha’s own society is gripping. Our society and beauty industry is dead set on the idea of anti-aging, hair growth, having perfect skin, hair and nails, and the perfect physique. Every models that graces our magazines, are flawless and in beautiful physique, which only cements this further. However, while our society is slowly embracing imperfection and accepting that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours, the hunger for perfection in Tabitha’s world is much more extreme.
In Body Parts people are hooked on drugs to make them look younger, more beautiful, stronger, and invincible. They are hooked on drugs to the point they would trade anything for them. That is the case for the majority of the people in the story. They are so blinded by the corruption of PharmPerfect, they cannot see what is really happening behind the scenes. If they are, they are too scared to say anything.
The fear of, and the strong hold, of corruption is not a stranger to our own society, but at least there are people who are not afraid to speak out, protest, and make a lot of noise until they can no longer be ignored. While the corruption of our society centre around politics and power, the focal point of corruption in Body Parts centres around science, power, perfection, and military. All kinds of drugs are produced by PharmPerfect; drugs to heighten your senses, drugs to stimulate desire and lust, drugs to keep wrinkles away, drugs to grow your hair, drugs to make you stronger, faster, invincible, and so on. It is clear that ego had given birth to PharmPerfect and the characters in this story and suffering for it.
If there is one thing that Tabitha’s society, and ours have in common, it is that our society is obsessed with the idea of immortality and increasing our lifespan, has a fear of death, and wants to be impossibly perfect and flawless minus the use of Photoshop.
In Body Parts, Tabitha is a likeable character who uses her pain and emotions to fight to save her family, and shut down PharmPerfect. Her courage and ability to control her emotions around the group of rebels that had rescued her is admirable. Parker’s affection for Tabitha is annoying. Despite knowing that Tabitha does not feel the same way, and only sees him as a friend, Parker imposes his feelings onto Tabitha and kind of forces her to love him. Tabitha herself is no angel in this situation as she unknowingly leads Parker on by kissing him and making a pact with him where she promised to give them a go. Taking Parkers need to be loved and to have a loving family, and how long he has been waiting to be fostered into consideration, Tabitha should have been more careful. She should not have gotten Parkers hopes up and should have been straight with him instead.
The further I got into the story, I began to question where Gavin’s priorities really lie. He has never been a foster kid at the elite centre, he has his whole life ahead of him so why would he help them. Is it from the goodness of his heart, or does he have an ulterior motive? This made me question whether his feelings for Tabitha are genuine. His secretive behaviour did not help either. However, I did find that he was better for Tabitha because he did not impose his feelings onto her, he gave her space when she needed it and comforted her when she needed it. He was being delicate of her situation and what she was going through. Whereas Parker was only thinking about his emotions, and feelings, and was basing why they should be together on how long they had known each other.
Overall, Body Parts by Jessica Kapp is a compelling read that will have you hooked from start to finish, I highly recommend it.