Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

Book cover for Origin by Jessica KhouryBook Title/Author: Origin by Jessica Khoury
Publisher/Year: : Razorbill September 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: None  — debut!

Amazon| Goodreads | Jessica Khoury’s Website

The Story

Deep in the Amazonian jungle, hidden from the world, seventeen year old Pia has been raised by a group of scientists. She was created in their laboratory and is their hope for an immortal race as she is the only human being on the earth to be immortal. She’s trained in science and tested physically and mentally. She’s never left the confines of their gated and guarded area….until one night when she discovers a gaping hole in the fence that leads to the jungle that beckons her into the unknown.  Her night of rebellion puts her face to face with a boy her own age from a nearby village and she starts to questions everything she’s learned about the world, about her self and about her purpose.

The Review:

This book was one of my most anticipated reads of this year! I mean it just was such an interesting premise, had a great setting, the promise of some morally questionable things happening. I had pretty high expectations for it! What did I think? I liked it. I did. It was a good read but it never made it to that GREAT point that I had been waiting for. But let’s talk about what I really enjoyed about it:

The readability of this book was crazy! I read it hastily and with blinders on –nothing else seemed to matter whilst I was reading. I was drawn in from the start with this refreshing premise and Pia was such a great character who I felt was so authentic to what I thought someone in her position would be. In some books the heroine seems to ditch everything she’s ever known right away when faced with some doubts but Pia, being the scientist she was trained to be, didn’t. I thought that felt real. And I just felt so horrible for Pia at times when she started to realize what her purpose was. I also really LOVED the fact that this dealt with Big Moral Issues and science but never had a preachy air. There was also some good action in the right places that contrasted some of the more science-y aspects of the book.

The thing that was MOST outstanding was how Khoury wrote Pia’s setting. It was GORGEOUS. I could see the lush rain forest, hear the rhythms and sounds of it and feel humid air. I could feel like I was in Pia’s shoes as she tried to maneuver around the rainforest and how expansive it  must have felt and how scary and menacing it must have felt in the dark — not knowing what the sound was or what animals were lurking. She just wrote it so vividly that I feel like Khoury just HAD to have visited the Amazon.

There was SO MUCH GOOD. I’m telling you. I was expecting this to be one of my favorite reads. It started out good and then I was really starting to love it A TON and then I was waiting for it to hit this point of amazingness that I knew it could reach and I just flat out didn’t like where it went at some points. Towards the end some things felt rushed and I felt confused about some of the more scientific explanations surrounding Pia’s immortality. I just wonder if I didn’t glean the right information and it was given. I know that doesn’t make sense but I felt like I was just waiting for something maybe deeper? Something that would make me feel more? I’m not really sure that I can put my finger on it but I know it wasn’t there to transition from a GOOD book that will be wildly popular (and deservedly so because there is much to like) to a really AMAZING book that will really move me…something I think could have happened with a storyline like this!

I do have ONE element that I can actually explain that I didn’t enjoy and that was the romance. I just wish it was a friendship rather than trying to make it a romance. It was too insta-lovey (which can work for me sometimes) and lackluster. I just felt like she fell in love with the first person she saw outside her community and I never felt it. I just really thought a friendship could have meant more for me. I just never really believed in their romance and that’s important to me.


My Final Thought

I think this book is going to be really popular! There is a lot of really excellent things about it — it begs to not be put down, it has an incredible setting that was written well, just really great writing in general and a really intriguing plot! It was a good book and I can’t deny how I flew through it and really enjoyed the ride. But unfortunately there was something missing within the pages (something I can’t really explain plus a lackluster romance) that couldn’t ever bring the book to be an AMAZING experience. I’ll recommend it because there’s a lot of good in it but I can’t say it ever reached the potential I saw for it to become that 5 star-favorite kind of book.


You May Also Like: Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Nicely said. I still really want to read it. I don’t have sky-high expectations of the book, but I do hope I really enjoy it and can get really absorbed in the story. Sorry it didn’t quite get THERE.

  2. I just picked this up yesterday, and like you, am/have been excited to read it.
    Great review!! I’m looking forward to it even more.

  3. Once again…I felt pretty much the same way about this that you did. It was good, it just wasn’t GREAT. I think I kept waiting for MORE to happen and it didn’t. I also wished the instalove had been friendship. It would have been so refreshing and more realistic if that had happened (and yes, I realize we are discussing immortality here).

    I talked about this book in my class and some kids were REALLY intrigued by it, so I definitely think it’ll be popular!

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I felt like everyone else thought it was AMAZING. I really enjoyed it, flew through it but I think it could have gone to that AMAZING has so much potential to do that. And I’m SO glad I’m not the only one who thought Pia and Eio would be better has friends. It would have been much more touching for me and more realistic like you said.

      I hope your students enjoy it!

  4. Great review! Sounds like it struck a chord with you but didn’t quite hit the EXACT notes you were looking for. That’s okay though! Sometimes it makes it worth the read anyway and if there’s another book in the series, the “great” is reached that time around. Sounds like an interesting concept but I think I might pass. Happy reading!

    • Thanks Gina! You said it perfectly — never hit that note I was looking for! It was definitely worth the read and I’ll be recommending it to others. This one was actually a standalone so unfortunately no chance for it to reach that place! But it was worth the read!

  5. I couldn’t agree more! I really do with the romance had just been a friendship. It seemed a little too forced and frankly, I kind of felt like Pia was way too immature for a romance. She barely knew how to interact with the adults around her because they’ve sheltered her way too much! And I really thought the story line had a LOT of potential, but sadly it just never took off for me. I kept waiting to be wowed, and it really just never came.

  6. I don’t know what’s been stopping me from REALLY anticipating this one. I want to read it, I even really want to read it but it’s not one of those that I NEED to read right now. Now, I kind of want to, though. While I do wish it had that ‘something’ and had been GREAT, I’ve been missing a book that’s easy to get into and just read, lately. I might pick this up and see how it works for me. Thanks for the review!

  7. This book is towards the top of my TBR list and I’ve been anxiously awaiting my copy. I have heard several people say they felt the same way—it had great potential and was an all-around good book to read but overall it was lacking something. It’s always a bit of a let down when we see such potential miss the mark and not hit as high as we hoped. Either way, at least I can go into the book knowing this and not be left feeling sort of cheated. Great review, lady!

  8. Great review, Jamie. I have been wondering about Origin, I’ve read comments that make me think it’s not for me but I am intrigued and I do seem to be enjoying more sci-fi these days

  9. I really, really liked this book! I thought that the concept behind it was incredibly unique and different from what I’ve been reading. Going into it, I definitely had no expectations – and I’m so happy that I ended up liking it. It may not have been one of my 2012 all star reads (which are AMAZING reads for the year), but it’s definitely awesome.

    I wasn’t too enamored with the romance either, but I really liked the friendship between them!

  10. I love when you get so into a book you completely shut out everything going on around you.

    Really looking forward to reading this one. It sounds right up my alley.


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