Origin, by Jessica Khoury, explores life, humanity, and the promise of immortality.  Pia is a seventeen year old girl who is perfect.  She is the first of a new and immortal race, born of science and a special breeding program designed to capture the essence of a special flower found deep within the Amazon jungle.

Pia lives in Little Cam – a secret compound hidden away from the world within the rainforest.  There she is surrounded by scientists, her “Aunts” and “Uncles” who are pursuing the ultimate goal of creating a new an immortal race. They wish to cheat death, and after years it seems like they have succeeded.  Pia has been raised to take on this task, but until she passes a series of tests the secret of her immortality (and the secret “catalyst” required to transform the deadly elysia nectar) won’t be shared.

Her life, and her quest to help create others like her seemed enough, until one night she notices a hole in the electric fence surrounding Little Cam.  The temptation is too great for Pia, who had never left the compound before.

Out in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village.  No longer content with her structured, sterile life, Pia continues to sneak out to see him.  As the two begin to fall for each other, Pia also starts unraveling some of the mysteries within Little Cam, including her own origins.


  • I really like Pia.  She’s believable: a sometimes cocky, self-important girl (who has constantly been told that she is perfect) who struggles with the knowledge she is the only one of her kind in the world.
  • This book really explores morality and science.  No one in Little Cam questions the ethics of what they are attempting to do, and it’s really interesting to see people go so far for what they believe.  They are driven by their mad purpose.
  • You kind of have to wonder if Eio and Pia would have fallen for each other if it wasn’t for the fact that he is the FIRST boy of her age that Pia has ever laid eyes on!  Even so, it was a sweet love story.

I really enjoyed Origin and Jessica’s next book, Vitro, looks equally as interesting. 4/5


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Filed under Science Fiction, Young Adult Books

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