Origin by Jessica Khoury
372 Pages (Hardcover)
September 4, 2012
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.
The first couple of chapters for me were slow and kind of confusing. There are a lot of characters, the setting is strange, and it takes a while to figure out how everything connects back to Pia. However, once I understood what was going on, I was hooked.
Pia lives in a compound deep in the jungle, sheltered from any knowledge of the outside world. She is immortal, the first created by a mission of scientists spanning across about a century. She must past a series of difficult tests to prove her worth as a scientist and finally find out the secrets of her existence. However, as the knowledge draws closer, she learns that she may not be ready to understand - she may never be ready. Because the knowledge that she has always waited for may be too horrible to take in.
The plot of this novel is very interesting, however, it was not the plot but rather the characters that kept my interest. There is a wide range of characters, all of whom are not related, but called "Uncle" this or "Aunt" that by Pia. Each of these characters, mostly scientists, seem the same at first, but as the story unravels, they each have distinct personalities, weaknesses, and strengths. They each play a different, yet vital role in both the plot of the story and the development of the main character. For me, characters are really this novel's strength. Their decisions were fascinating, and finding out everyone's true character was unexpected and fun.
Overall, I was impressed with this novel and I would definitely recommend it. Jessica Khoury is a debut author to watch.