I’m happy to say that this book made me think. A lot. More than any book that I’ve read recently. About genetics, morality, true love, science…. I really enjoyed this change of pace!
Origin is about a girl named Pia. Scientists have engineered her to be perfect; unbreakable skin, ridiculous endurance, a sharp mind. All her life she’s lived in Little Cam- her compound somewhere in the middle of the Amazon-, never leaving. She’s never wanted to leave, until one day she sees a hole in the fence around the compound and can’t resist. She expects to be gone for just a few minutes, but then she meets Eio, and everything changes. All of a sudden, she’s sneaking out every chance she can to be with him. Eio makes her challenge everything she knows about her immortality, and the further she digs into the secrets of Little Cam, the more disturbing her past becomes. (if you’d like a nice little snippit of the book, here’s the book trailer! It’s the first one I’ve actually liked in a long time!)
What a summary, huh? This book captured me from the very first page. I found Pia to be likable and very relatable. She’s very brainwashed at the beginning (i.e. “What’s San Francisco? Who is Shakespeare?”) but it’s amazing to watch her break out of the cage they’ve built for her. She begins to question things, come into herself. Pia is refreshingly dynamic, a huge contrast to some static characters in popular YA (such as Katniss, even? Don’t go off on me for that- I just didn’t think she changes that much through the series). I also have an affinity for standalone books (probably due in part to the fact that series’ usually end up ripping my heart into pieces, but that’s beside the point) and it pleases me that I could read this and not go crazy waiting for a real ending! There is talk of a companion, which I would happily read, of course.
The world building is complex, and I love that it *isn’t* a future dystopian. It’s so creepily realistic. It shows us the semingly perfect girl, and the terrible things that happened to create her.
I loved the romance. To all the people saying that this book is ‘too chaste’, I think you don’t know teens well, honestly. This book isn’t deliberately preachy or clean, it’s natural. Honestly, if I was running from wack-job scientists and a bunch of other very bad things I can’t tell you for ruining the novel (but there may be flesh eating ants involved) my primary focus would not be kissing Eio. As hot as he is, in the moment that is not important. Protecting him is, but not kissing him. I appreciate the genuinity of the romance, I thought it played out naturally and it couldn’t have been better.
The pacing and action are great. Unlike some books, I was totally surprised at the plot twists. By the end, I was attatched to every single character- the minor ones, Pia, Eio, Albert, even Paolo. Jessica Koury gave them the layers that you can’t find in not-so-good YA.
My only negative thought is that it took me a couple chapters to really get engrossed in the story. But once I did, it didn’t leave my hands until I was finished. The sci-fi elements that I would normally avoid like the plague were surprisingly charming.
Overall, I loved it! I truly think this book will be The-Next-Big-YA-Sensation, and I’m so happy that a book with such potential to be popular conveys a great, non-preachy message among lovely writing. I look forward to many more years of fabulous books from Jessica Khoury. (she’s only 22!)
Happy Reading, all!
P.S. To all those who’ve read it, I am really looking forward to seeing some Origin inspired jewelry! Yresa necklace, please! 🙂
P.P.S. Origin is now released! YOU should go buy it!