Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Origin

Title: Origin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Science fiction
Pages: 394
Age Rating: Readers over 11
My Opinion: 9/10

Hi, Readers!

       Each year, my public library has an annual book sale.  The books I usually purchase here are hit or miss, because all I know about them comes from the short blurb on the back.  Luckily, when I bought Origin at the book sale, I came into possession of a real gem.  I was enthralled with the characters, plot line, and themes of the novel, and it kept me reading late into the night.

Pia's jungle boy, Eio
       Pia's genes have been genetically bred over five lifetimes so that she is born immortal.  Her skin is impenetrable, her immune system is unbreakable, and she is... perfect.  However, Pia has never been outside of her small compound, Little Cam, located in the middle of a vast jungle.  Although Pia knows everything there is to know about science and math, she has never even heard of New York City, or even cities in general.  The scientists, especially Uncle Paolo, keep Pia on a strict regimen of learning and exercising in order to turn her into a superhuman who will eventually reproduce and be the start of a new, immortal population.  One day, Pia notices a hole in the electric fence surrounding Little Cam.  When she enters the jungle and the real world for the first time, Pia's life is completely changed.  She meets Eio, a local native boy, who shows her that there is more to life than test tubes and immortality.  Torn between two worlds, Pia must now decide where she belongs - future or present, science or emotion, and civilization or jungle.

       Just recently, in English class, we discussed the idea of perspective.  Seeing things from a different point of view can show readers that there is not just one way of living.  My favorite part about Origin is the first-person perspective of Pia, because she is relatable and yet entirely unrelatable at the same time.  Of course, being immortal, Pia lives life much differently than the average human.  However, she still feels happiness, sadness, and, most importantly, love.  The dilemma that Pia must face, although not realistic in the real world, creates a sort of empathy between her and the reader.  We go along the journey with her, finding out more of the truth as the plot line progresses.  

Up next... Vitro!
       One of the most brilliant aspects of Origin is that author Jessica Khoury was able to create a science fiction novel with a unique plot line.  Although I did pick up some hints of popular dystopian and science fiction books thrown in, the work of literature was about a new topic and had undiscovered characters.  In the age of mass-produced literature, I applaud Khoury's distinct style of writing and original ideas.  The Young Adult genre is filled with many "fake" novels that try to replicate the well-known ones in order to sell more copies, and I am happy to say that Origin is not one of those books.

       I would recommend Origin to anyone who enjoys The Hunger Games or Divergent.  Although Origin is a less extreme and hard-hitting version of those popular novels, it explores much more of the emotional impacts of dramatic events.  Now, I can't wait to get my hands on Khoury's next novel, Vitro, to see if it is just as good as Origin

Happy reading!

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