Young Adult Book Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury
With an amazing setting and strong characters, Origin had a lush landscape that was fun to escape to. Plus, I gotta give credit to Jessica Khoury – who’s only 22 years old! Holla!
Book Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury
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Title & Author: Origin by Jessica Khoury
Genre: YA Fantasy – Fantasy Realism
Release Date: September 4, 2012
How I Got the Book: ARC via the Publisher
“Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost.”
One Ticket to the Amazon, Please
It’s not often you get a setting as rich and exciting as the Amazon. Right away, I was interested in Origin’s story because there was so much to “see” in the book.
Pia is the only teenager in the small scientific compound of Little Cam, but she doesn’t think that’s too strange because she knows the truth (or she thinks she does).
The secrecy and protection that surrounds Little Cam is all because of her. She’s a one-of-a-kind species- she’s immortal.
If you couldn’t tell from my mini-description, this book has a ton of mystery. You get a sense of it form the beginning, but as the story unfolds, you realize just how much you don’t know. That aspect of the book kept me continually interested and anxious to find out what was happening.
“Hearing” Pia’s thoughts on her immortality and her quest for another of her kind to be a companion added a lot of depth to the book. She knows she’ll be lonely forever if she can’t help her fellow scientists make another immortal.
Love in the Jungle
Let’s talk about romance. I was a bit torn on the love part of Origin. Pia meets Eio one night while she sneaked away from camp. He’s from a nearby village and his people are the Aoi’ans. There’s sort of a tribal/savage thing going on here, and it got to be a bit instalove-ish.
It wasn’t love at first sight (barely), but Khoury took it there a little. Despite the trend, I’ve decided not to fight it anymore and go with the flow.
More than anything else in the book, I loved Pia. She is so vulnerable – I mean, she’s sheltered and unworldly. Yet, throughout the story, she finds more and more confidence in herself and begins to question what her Little Cam family has told her about their life in the Amazon.
Pia’s growth is a beautiful thing to see.
Something that surprised me about Origin were the Aio’ans. It was really great to get a closer look at an indigenous people (even if they are technically made up) and incorporate another important, hidden story about them to the book.
If you’re looking for a standalone YA book with an incredible setting and deep characters with a heavy dose of mystery, than look no further. Origin will not disappoint.