Book Title/Author: Origin by Jessica Khoury
Publisher/Year: : Razorbill September 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Other Books From Author: None — debut!
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.
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.