Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost (via Goodreads).
My thoughts on ORIGIN: I was lucky enough to go to Costa Rica in March and ORIGIN was like a free trip back to the breathless beauty of the rainforest. The flowers, the foliage, the jaguars! To find out Jessica Khoury wrote the book without ever having seen the jungle for realz was astounding! Her research must have been all-encompassing.
While 'perfect' protagonist Pia made me want to strangle her for the first couple of chapters, I warmed to her character as she begin to question her immortality, her humanity, and what was happening in the hidden scientific compound that had been her entire world for seventeen years. From that point onward, this gripping story moves at a breathless pace and culminates in an ending that is both surprising and satisfying.
FP: The most fun part of writing ORIGIN was _____.
JK: Getting to do research on the Amazon jungle and learning all this cool stuff I got to put into my book--especially about the animals! I loved writing about Alai, Pia's pet jaguar.
FP: The hardest part of writing ORIGIN was _____.
JK: The romantic scenes. I wrote them over and over again, because I'd get halfway through and just bust out laughing. That was usually my clue that the scene wasn't working. So I'd sigh, erase it all, and start over until it was just right.
FP: People who like ______ will probably like ORIGIN.
JK: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck or Across the Universe by Beth Revis
FP: Just for fun, because I am (finally!) reading His Dark Materials, what would be your daemon or spirit animal?
JK: Oh! I've thought about that exact thing for a long time, ever since reading HDM. My daemon would be a red fox. (I'd really want an orca, since that's my favorite animal, but that would be kind of difficult for both of us, I think).
Buy ORIGIN here or here or here.