Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

This is another book I saw that my library had on their "new items" list. I read the synopsis and thought I'd give it a try when it came in. Then one day I was researching YA word counts and I came across Jessica Khoury's website. I recognized her book as the one I was waiting to read so I browsed around her site to learn more about her. Let me just say, I was impressed. Jessica is smart, accomplished and personable. Now I was even more excited to read her book. Here's the summary:

Pia lives in a glass room in a secret laboratory under the canopy of the Amazon rain forest. The scientists that study and look after her are her family. She knows virtually nothing about the outside world and all she knows about herself is that she was created to be the start of a new immortal race of humans. She'll learn the secret to what created her when she proves her commitment and loyalty to the scientists. One night Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her compound. She sneaks out to see what lies in the jungle around her. That's when she meets Eio. He's from a nearby village. Every chance she gets, Pia slips away to see Eio and learn about his people, the jungle, and the world. Slowly the two fall in love and in the process learn that the scientists' aren't as innocent as they want Pia to think. The secrets they are hiding will change Pia's life forever.

**I LOVED this book and the characters within. Pia's arc is well-written and realistic. At first, she's a little self-centered and conceited from a lifetime of being told how perfect she is and how one day she will lead a new race of humans. But when she meets Eio, all this changes. Pia learns that not only can she question her world but she should. And when she actually starts to do this you see a very natural shift in her loyalties. What Pia learns causes her to form her own opinions and make her own choices. The consequences of this new way of being add an element of suspense to the plot that keep you turning the pages. The relationship between Pia and Eio is natural and sweet as any first love between such sheltered people would be. The ending was satisfying in a way that's often hard to come by with a stand alone book. Khoury brilliantly ends Pia's story in a way that leaves you content. I can't wait to read more from this talented new author! (here's a link for what she's coming out with next: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicakhoury)