"Futuristic scientific thriller that is both intellectual and horrifying"
Reviewed by Debbie Wiley
Posted September 10, 2015
Young Adult Science Fiction | Science Fiction
Morgan Dey enjoys staying fit and healthy, so it seems a
perfect match for her to work as a Reducer for THE BODY
INSTITUTE. THE BODY INSTITUTE prides itself on helping
individuals (called Loaners) lose weight by utilizing
technology that shifts the brainmap of a Reducer into the
body of the Loaner. The Reducer exercises and diets,
getting the Loaner's body into shape before returning to
their own body but with no memory of their time spent in
the Loaner's body. Unfortunately, Morgan is having a few
THE BODY INSTITUTE is one of those books where the main
character appears a bit unlikable in the beginning but
quickly grows on the reader. Morgan is raised in a
society that values fitness, where fat-shaming is
practically de rigueur. She is almost self-righteous at
times, priding herself on her toned body and her belief
she is contributing to the overall good of society.
However, this is what makes her realization that
something is awry all the more fascinating as we see
Morgan develop and mature over the course of the
Carol Riggs doesn't shy away from addressing the fat-
shaming and bullying that occurs in the futuristic
society of THE BODY INSTITUTE. I love the parallels to
our current society's focus on appearance and suspect
that many young adult readers will relate to the
storyline as a result. Carol Riggs does a marvelous job
at showing readers both the heartache as well as the
growing societal awareness of her characters.
Carol Riggs crafts a futuristic scientific thriller that
is both intellectual and horrifying, even more so because
it almost seems plausible. I love the technological angle
underpinning the storyline of THE BODY INSTITUTE as the
Electromagnetic Resonance Transfer (ERT) process is ripe
for exploitation. However, it is the inclusion of the
opponents of ERT, the Warriors of Humanity Alliance (WHA)
that adds depth to the storyline as Carol Riggs offers
readers a storyline sure to provoke all sorts of
intriguing discussions. I stayed up well past my bedtime
to finish THE BODY INSTITUTE and I suspect others will as
well. I love THE BODY INSTITUTE and can't wait to read
more stories by Carol Riggs!
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body
Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily
take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then
return to her own body -- leaving her client slimmer,
toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...
For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her
body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her
friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer
been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has
the director of The Body Institute is hiding something.
Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until
Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping
in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and
like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body
Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have
decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body
ExcerptFive more reps, and I should be done with this body for
I pull the weight bar down to my chest, working my
biceps. Here I am, flat on my back once more, communing
with my old buddy the Fluid Resistance Machine.
Man, I can’t wait to get back into my own body and be
myself again. Hanging out with my friends, spending time
with my family. Dancing. Urban paintballing. Messing
around with kinetics experiments at the Catalyst Club.
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the jog-pump-stride
of other Reducers toning and slimming. Hard workers,
these ladies: 100 percent keyed in to their jobs. Above
us on the third floor, I’m sure a bunch of men are
exercising just as hard in their own gym.
A chirp signals the end of my programmed reps. I ditch
the machine and do cool-down stretches while it resets
for the next victim, then take a brisk shower and head to
the first floor for my weigh-in.
I shake a rush of tingling nerves from my fingertips. If
my stats are on track this morning, I can finally check
out of the Clinic. I’ve toned up Shelby Johnson’s body,
plus kept her weight stable this past week. Imagine—fifty
whole pounds, sweated off in three months. Soon, Shelby’s
Before and After images will spring up in vidfeeds
everywhere, peddling the Institute’s new client group,
teens fourteen to eighteen.
Put an end to obesity before you reach adulthood, the ads
will shout. Look fabulous in three to six months!
I’m happy to say I’ve made important progress for Shelby
and the pilot program.
The scanner in the Weigh Center doorway blinks as it
reads the ID chip in my hand. This early, the garish
green waiting chairs hold only a few Reducers. I nod to
another arriving worker, a guy who has about ten pounds
left to lose. Before I can start up a conversation, an
electronic voice near the ceiling intones, “Morgan Dey,
report for weigh-in.”
In Admittance, I step toward an available tech. “Hey,
how’s your day going?”
He grunts and barely looks at me as he waves me onto the
scale, like Reducers are a bunch of faceless cogs on an
assembly line. “Morgan Dey in the body of Shelby
Johnson,” he verifies for the data streamer. He records
my vitals and steps to the wallscreen readout. “Your
assignment is complete. Restoration is scheduled for oh-
nine-forty-five today in the administration building.
Arrive at least ten minutes early at Mr. Behr’s office.”
A wide grin takes over my face. In one short hour, I can
shed my Loaner body and go home. I exit the Weigh Center
and take the stairs two at a time back to the second
floor. With a hasty handprint, I access my dorm room.
After I dictate a log entry of my morning workout, I grab
my Institute phone so I can send a voice-to-text message
to Mom, Dad, and Granddad. I word the message carefully,
since Leo Behr, the director, screens everything a newbie
Or so he says. Personally, I think it’s a bluffy scare
tactic he invented to keep his workers in line.
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