Author: Jessica Khoury| Website
Publication Date:September 4th, 2012
My Interest: Hype, New Found Sci-Fi Nerd
Age Group | Genre: YA | Science Fiction, Romance
Origin struck my fancy because it has had some serious hype in the YA world. There was a huge blog tour prior to it’s release, and since I’m a new found sci-fi lover, I knew I had to give it a try. Right before I picked it up from the library, I read Jamie’s review which peaked my curiosity even more because I always find myself looking for that one memorable point in a book. As a lit major in college, I learned to anticipate the climax of a story from it’s build up–both through plot and outside talk. I really liked this story, but I’d be lying if I never mentioned that I never found that one moment with Origin.
Pia was created for one purpose–to be immortal–and she has been genetically engineered to breed a race who will no longer fear death because death will be impossible. Until her seventeenth birthday, Pia has been hidden away deep in the Amazon at a compound known as Little Cam. She knows nothing of the outside world for she has only been taught to carry on the other scientist’s work because until now her dream has been to become a scientist herself and to fulfill her destiny. But then on the night of her birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the fence and she sneaks away for the first time. It is in the jungle where Pia meets Eio–a boy who she falls desperately in love with and who helps her piece together the unraveling secrets of Little Cam–revealing the darkness of her origin.
My anticipation of Origin was high. I know I have a huge TBR list for the fall,but Origin was one of the first to be added. The hubster has been on me for, oh years to get into sci-fi, and until The Hunger Games rolled around and dystopia overtook the world of YA, sci-fi wasn’t ever on my reading shelves. But, the trend in YA lately seems to be the awakening of sci-fi and even mashing it up with other genres, and that is EXACTLY what Origin is: a mixing of genres and I LOVED it.
Firstly, Khoury’s world building was beautiful. Granted, she did describe a real place, the Amazon, but how many of us actually get to travel there? In reading her story, I felt as if I was there. From the picture of the jungle through the glass room to Pia’s teal dress and Skittles cake, I could imagine everything clearly. I always love it when an author nails description in their novels. For me, description of the world and scenes is huge when it comes to reading. I want to clearly immerse myself in the world of the novel and with the way Khoury writes, that was possible.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Pia as a heroine. As the novel starts off, she seems to be under the wings of the scientists but that is plausible considering they 1. created her and 2. shielded her from the rest of the world. But then Dr. Fields steps in. I looked to her as a stand-in mother figure for Pia–helping Pia to open her eyes to life outside of her cage–and once Pia broke out of her cage I felt that she really came into her own as a character. She was smart (and not just because she was engineered that way) strong, and willing to sacrifice herself for others. She really learned about humanity and started to see that there was more to life than science. And there wasn’t a silly romance involved. In fact, it was quite beautiful and slow forming.
For the simple origin-ality of the book, I would stock my classroom library with it. I love the idea behind Origin, and I feel that Khoury is a talented writer. Especially since this was a stand alone novel. In a genre full of trilogies and series, it was very refreshing to read a story in one volume. The only thing that bummed me out about this novel is that I figured out the catalyst well before it was revealed, so all that build up left me wanting for something greater. I blame not only my lit degree but my secret detective superpowers for that. It’s rare that I’m surprised in a novel anymore, and sometimes, I just want that surprise back.
As a last note, was it just me or did anyone else catch the Peter Pan references in the pages? Those made me extremely happy, and the lit nerd in my wants to reread the novel and analyze it on that premise alone.
He shrugs, ‘Go Pia bird, before you are shot down by an arrow.
If you like this novel, you might like….
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]