Origin by Jessica KhouryOrigin by Jessica Khoury

Origin

byJessica Khoury

Hardcover | September 4, 2012

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The jungle hides a girl who cannot die.

An electrifying action-romance that's as thoughtful as it is tragic.

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.

"ORIGIN is a startling mystery played out in the vivid and lush Amazon jungle. In this deadly clash of science and nature, a heroine emerges. Pia clawed her way through the pages and left her mark on the landscape of my imagination as the almost tangible danger left me breathless."--Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of Tiger's Curse

"I loved Origin's action, romance, and mystery--and I couldn't stop thinking about the questions it raised." --Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the Universe

"Is this science fiction? It feels too scarily real. This spellbinding tale of the horrors of genetic engineering gone made is both thriller and love story, breathlessly paced and beautifully told." --Judy Blundell, National Book Award-winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied

"A lush, dreamy page-turner that will live forever in the hearts of its readers. Pia may be the perfect antidote for those suffering from Katniss withdrawal." --Josh Sundquist, author of the national bestseller Just Don't Tell
Jessica Khoury is 22-years-old and was born and raised in Georgia. She attended public school followed by homeschooling, and earned her bachelor's degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. Origin is her first novel. She lives with her husband, Benjamin, in Toccoa, Georgia.
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Title:OriginFormat:HardcoverDimensions:372 pages, 8.5 × 6 × 1.25 inPublished:September 4, 2012Publisher:Penguin Young Reader GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1595145958

ISBN - 13:9781595145956

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! One of my favourite series of all time! Beautifully written, I loved seeing the amazon through Jessica's description and Pia's point of view. This book left me satisfied with the action, mystery and answers featured though out the book. Saying that, I would definitely reread this book and the series as a whole.
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow This book blew me away! The protagonist's journey and development over the course of this book is so impressive! Jessica Khoury surprises us with a huge twist at the end which left me reeling. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction, and anything to do with genetic engineering.
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING Red this book about 3 times because I love it so much. I love how Jessica Khoury brings the book to life by explaining every single detail about the scenery. Absolutely amazing book, truly exceptional.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reading this book is like going on an adventure In the beginning this book is kind of slow, but it gets much better in the middle and end. First of all the setting of this story, the lush Amazon was amazingly described; so well that you can imagine yourself and visualize it in your head.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A well written love story with a touch of adventure and science :) This book was amazing. It hooked me from the start and it kept me guessing throughout. I love how it had so much adventure and romance without making it too cliche. The culture of the people in the Amazon rainforest was intriguing and really well written. I loved this book so much that I ended up buying vitro and kalahari. Just read vitro and I was not disappointed. I'd defintely recommend this book.
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful.Perfect. This was breathtaking, amazing, incredible! It is one one of my all time favorite books. The story was beautiful and I love love Pia and Eio! I wonder if they'll make a movie out of this Perfect Book :)
Date published: 2013-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful, Mesmerizing, and Like Nothing I Have Ever Read Before! In the middle of the Amazon lies Pia, your typical teenage girl. She has brown hair, blue eyes, and likes things that most kids like, such as running and art. She has feelings, like every one of us. But heres the catch: Pia is immortal. Living in a small community that only consists of scientists, Pia is basically trapped, although she doesnt see it that way. But on her 17th birthday, Pia finds a hole in the fence that protects her (or cages her) community, and starts wandering in the forest, only to come across Eio, a teenage boy from a nearby village. Pia continues sneaking out night after night to see Eio, and it isnt long before they fall for each other. But secrets about Pias origin are revealed, and she wonders if love is worth leaving everything she has worked for - lived for - behind. Origin is a beautifully crafted novel, a completely amazing and fantastic story. The characters are real and although Pia's whining and her stuck-up-ness bothered me, it also made her more 'real' and relatable. Eio is also an excellent character, and he's just so amazing. Hes so different from Pia, yet so similar to her, which is what brings their love alive. Pia is so filled with emotion and Khoury brought tears to my eyes, more then once. The whole concept behind Origin is compelling and so unique. Every secret thats revealed is completely and utterly awesome. Yes some surprises weren't a surprise to me, but most were. Even the ones that weren't are made with an interesting backstory that captures the attention of readers. Every character we encounter is so different from all the others, and, as much as i enjoy the ending, it still breaks my heart. I think thats a sign of awesome writing! But, seriously, Origin is amazing. The perfect blend of suspense, sci-fi, romance, and drama, its completely mind-blowing. Yes, Pia is immortal, but she is also real, with feelings and emotions and thoughts that bring the readers into her mind. Its magnificent, and so heartwarming and touching. You will love Origin. I know I did!
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely AMASING I had been a bit skeptical to read this book but I was instantly transfixed and couldn't put it down. It has been so long since a book truly sucked me in like this one did and I love the feeling of it. No matter what time it was, I was reading. Every free second I had, I would pick it up, even if I literally only had a free few seconds. Great book. Great story. Great adventure. It's such a different theme than all the previous books I have read and believe me when I say I have read a lot of books. This is my all time new favorite. I will defiantly read it again in the future.
Date published: 2013-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Debut! Here is another book that I waited for for months to read until last month when I finally got my hands on a copy from the library. Then when I brought it home I read a couple iffy reviews so I went into it very hesitantly, expecting the worst but I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed Origin. The story centers around Pia (love the name) who is a genetically enhanced human who has the gift of being immortal. She's raised in a jungle compound where she is heralded in as the future of humanity and expected to be as cold and calculating as those around her and she is almost convinced that she will be until she escapes the compound and meets the boy of her dreams Eio. However a series of events take place and she finds out what kind of sacrifices were made for her to gain the immortality that those around her so value and she has to fight for the life she truly wants. I thought that the book was great. In many ways it reminded me a lot of The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna click here to read my review. Because both novels focus on strong female characters that were somehow made different through scientific advances and there was secrecy and romance in both of these. However, I found that in Origins the author did a much better job at developing the plot a lot more because a lot of the questions I had about how and why Pia was the way she was were answered. I appreciated how well explained the plot was because it created a steady story line. Pia though has to be one of my favourite heroines of the year. She was so strong willed, smart, and kind that there was very little that I couldn't like about her though I do wish she had grown a backbone when it came to certain things a wee bit sooner but it wasn't anything major in terms of effecting the novel. I loved how despite growing up in such a cold atmosphere in the compound where she was raised that she still had a lot of goodness in her. Eio, was a good side character as well I liked how much he showed his love for Pia but it was sadly a week case of the dreaded insta-love that I tend to dislike. However, I didn't mind it as much as I usually would though for me that is the one major draw back in the book. The other side characters were also well developed enough for me to find them interesting enough that I wish I knew more about their side stories as well as Pia's but then the book would have been really long. I really enjoyed learning about how Pia was made/born and the reasons why. I thought the whole immortal flower was a great idea and one that I've only heard about a few times and hopefully it won't be the new thing and other authors start putting them in there novels all of a sudden. I also liked that there was a bit of intrigue and a lot of action in the book as well so that it kept me guessing the whole way through. Overall I thought that this was a great debut by Jessica Khoury who is only a couple months older than I am. In my mind this proves that young authors do have talent and are capable of penning successful novels. With a well developed plot and a great heroine I think this is going on my favourites list of books I've read this year. I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone especially those who like YA novels. I hope Jessica has another book in the works because I think she's going to be an author to watch out for in the future.
Date published: 2012-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "A New Look @ An Age-Old Desire: To Live Forever" I Totally Loved Origin. I jsut can't believe how good the book was. The characters just were so well described and so well thought out. I love much they made the book come alive. The plot though was just amazing! I loved all the romance, mystery, the secrets and I just loved being along for the ride. It gives you a whole new look on who we are as the human race and Love. :D
Date published: 2012-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fast Paced & Intriguing The Good Stuff Fast paced and never boring. Got hooked into this one really quickly and didn't want to put it down (Yes I was up to midnight reading it!) Intriguing heroine who develops beautifully Sweet love story Constantly had some movie quotes in my head while reading. The good of the one outweigh the good of the many(Star Trek) & Just because they can doesn't mean they should (Jurassic Park) Good moral commentary - done nicely so not in your face and obvious. Also a book that could lead to fascinating discussions about right and wrong & science vs nature Kept me guessing on what the secret was -- not overly obvious - actually understands that her readers are intelligent Loved the character of Aunt Harriet - would like to know more about her - her actions were very realistic Richly drawn world - quite imaginative, yet very realistic It's a standalone book -- sorry I am just so very very sick of trilogy's Honestly guys just an entertaining read that makes you think - highly recommend - go forth and buy with my approval LOL! The Not So Good Stuff We get it she's perfect - says it so many times I was irritated Didn't think the epilogue was really needed - unless its to leave things open for a sequel or a story about Harriet - which quite frankly I think I would probably read Pia's mother is all kinds of awful & the scene with Sneeze broke my heart Not a bad thing, but for sensitive souls like me, some of the scenes involving animal testing are very hard to read Favorite Quotes/Passages "We Ai'oans do things differently, yes, but in many ways we are just the same as you." "How?" "He shrugs and picks a fern frond, pulling one tiny leaf off at a time and rolling back into little beads." We eat, we sleep, we breathe. We smile when we're happy, and we cry when we're sad. When we swim, we must come up for air. When we work all day, out backs get sore. When we get cut, we bleed." I look at my pale wrist, Not all of us." "You can't take someone's gods away. You can try, but they'll hide them and pray to them anyway." "Everything he does, each movement, each word, is so vivid and strange. I feel like I've discovered some fascinating new species. Homo ferus: wild human. An unpredictable, nocturnal creature usually found in trees. Caution: may cause bewilderment and disorientation. Also, prone to teasing." Who Should/Shouldn't Read If you like a fast paced intriguing story with heart - no matter if you are YA or Adult you will enjoy this one Sensitive readers may be disturbed by the scenes involving animal testing 4.5 Dewey's I picked up a copy of this at Book Expo America 2012
Date published: 2012-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vividly Imagined, Compelling and Highly Refreshing! 4.5 maple leaves! :) Wow, where should I start? Jessica Khoury's debut novel impressed me to the core! Origin is unique and marvelous story where science, magic, reason and emotions intertwine to deliver a well-thought-out story with moral and philosophical content. Origin takes place in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Here, a group of scientists have establish a small community in order to find the flower containing an elixir capable to give immortality. However, only after more than a century after constant research and studies, scientists have finally been able to create the perfect first immortal, Pia. Here in the middle of the Amazon, Pia is isolated from the rest of the world. She has never been taught about other countries or anything that could raise her curiosity and make her want to live the scientific research camp... until on day she is able to make it out of her "cage" and goes into the jungle for the first time and meet with the first boy around her age she has ever seen. Origin is a thoughtful well thought-out story and I was gladly surprised to have find a great deal of philosophical content on this novel. The fact that Khoury approached immortality in such a thoughtful way is what I love the most about Origin. What if we could get rid of sickness and mortality? what if we could create a raze of perfect and immortals human beings? What is perfection? What would it mean to become like God? Khoury brilliantly approaches all of these questions through the raw emotions of Pia. In addition, Pia is an unforgettable character whose reason keeps forcing her to obey, yet her heart never cease to question her captivity and origin. Pia's emotional side brings many other themes into this novel that wonderfully contrasts the scientific side of the story. Freedom, love, family, lies, and sens of belonging are some of the themes that Origin wonderfully deliver through Pia's life. There is no doubt that Jessica Khoury is a highly talented writer with a vivid and exclusive imagination. Origin 's setting is marvelous and terrifying at the same time. The presence of the powerful elements and raw and wild rainforest took my breath away countless of times. Also, the amazonian people (the Ai'oans) are the delightful addition to the story that brings magic and mythology that beautifully intertwines with the scientific content. Origin is a vividly imagined, compelling and highly refreshing debut that provides much more than just entertainment to its readers. It provides wisdom. Needless to say that the Epilogue alone is a powerful closure that will leave readers staring into space for quiet a while after they turned the last page.
Date published: 2012-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vividly Imagined, Compelling and Highly Refreshing! 4.5 Maple leaves! :) Wow, where should I start? Jessica Khoury's debut novel impressed me to the core! Origin is unique and marvelous story where science, magic, reason and emotions intertwine to deliver a well-thought-out story with moral and philosophical content. Origin takes place in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Here, a group of scientists have establish a small community in order to find the flower containing an elixir capable to give immortality. However, only after more than a century after constant research and studies, scientists have finally been able to create the perfect first immortal, Pia. Here in the middle of the Amazon, Pia is isolated from the rest of the world. She has never been taught about other countries or anything that could raise her curiosity and make her want to live the scientific research camp... until on day she is able to make it out of her "cage" and goes into the jungle for the first time and meet with the first boy around her age she has ever seen. Origin is a thoughtful well thought-out story and I was gladly surprised to have find a great deal of philosophical content on this novel. The fact that Khoury approached immortality in such a thoughtful way is what I love the most about Origin. What if we could get rid of sickness and mortality? what if we could create a raze of perfect and immortals human beings? What is perfection? What would it mean to become like God? Khoury brilliantly approaches all of these questions through the raw emotions of Pia. In addition, Pia is an unforgettable character whose reason keeps forcing her to obey, yet her heart never cease to question her captivity and origin. Pia's emotional side brings many other themes into this novel that wonderfully contrasts the scientific side of the story. Freedom, love, family, lies, and sens of belonging are some of the themes that Origin wonderfully deliver through Pia's life. There is no doubt that Jessica Khoury is a highly talented writer with a vivid and exclusive imagination. Origin 's setting is marvelous and terrifying at the same time. The presence of the powerful elements and raw and wild rainforest took my breath away countless of times. Also, the amazonian people (the Ai'oans) are the delightful addition to the story that brings magic and mythology that beautifully intertwines with the scientific content. Origin is a vividly imagined, compelling and highly refreshing debut that provides much more than just entertainment to its readers. It provides wisdom. Needless to say that the Epilogue alone is a powerful closure that will leave readers staring into space for quiet a while after they turned the last page.
Date published: 2012-08-26

Read from the Book

I take a step back as he reaches his full height, my flashlight still aimed at his face. “What do you want with me? Where—where are you from?”“You’re the one who crashed into me.” He is taller than me, and though he is thin, he is very muscular. I can tell because he’s half-naked. He’s wearing khaki shorts and a cord around his neck from which hangs a tiny jaguar carved into jade, but nothing else, not even shoes. His skin is the color of a shelled Brazil nut, light, warm brown, the brown of days spent in the dappled sun of the rainforest. His hair is as black as the night around us and thick with tangles. There is something vaguely familiar about his face, but I can’t think of what it is. That’s very disconcerting for me, since I forget nothing. If I had seen this boy before, I would remember it. And not just because my memory is perfect. I’d remember those eyes . . . that sculpted chest . . . the definition of his abdomen. . . .I snap my eyes up to his face, whipping my thoughts back into line. My initial fear gives way to anger. “What are you doing out here, anyway? It’s the middle of the night. Where are your clothes?”He replies, remarkably calmly, “You’ve wandered far from your cage, Pia bird.”“What?” I ask blankly.“The dress,” he says, nodding at it. “It makes you look like a bird. The kind we Ai’oa like to keep on our shoulders. But that’s not a good thing to be running around the jungle in.”I look down at my torn dress. “It’s my birthday.” Furious, I glare at him, refusing to let him distract me. Again. “Ai’oa? What is that?”He presses a hand to his bare chest. “We are a who, not a what.”“Are you a native?” “I’m Ai’oan. Only the scientists call us natives.” He cocks his head curiously. “Are you a scientist? I think you must be, because you are of the Little Cam village.”“No. Yes. I mean, I will be soon. How did you know where I’m from? Have you been to Little Cam?” Fear had turned to anger, but my anger now transforms into fascination. I’ve never spoken with anyone from outside Little Cam. Harriet Fields doesn’t count because now she’s from Little Cam too.“I’ve seen it,” he says, “but only from the trees. It is no place for the Ai’oa. Kapukiri says there is evil in the village of the scientists.”“Little Cam isn’t evil,” I reply, bristling. “What do you know about it?”“Only what Kapukiri says.” He kneels and stares curiously at Alai. “He obeys your command and follows where you go. Incredible. Truly, you are blessed to have such a companion.”His words soften me, and I warm a little. “Is your village close?” Eio’s eyes narrow suspiciously. “Why? What do you want with Ai’oa?”“I want to see it,” I say on a whim. “Show it to me.” “I don’t know. . . .” He frowns. “That smoke I smell, is it from Ai’oa?” I close my eyes and breathe deeply. “It’s coming from . . . that direction.” I open my eyes and start to follow the scent. When I look back, Eio is staring at me with wide eyes.“You . . .” He runs to catch up with me. “You can smell it from here?”“Ah . . .” I swallow and backpedal a bit. “Well, can’t you?”Uncertainty plays openly across his face. “I guess . . . if you promise not to wake everyone . . .”“I swear.”“Well . . . okay.” He still seems uneasy. I take it that visitors aren’t often invited to Ai’oa.I follow him over fallen logs made soft with mosses and under low-hanging vines and limbs. I wonder how he’ll see where he’s going, but he seems to feel his way rather than see it. I thought I moved silently through the jungle, but Eio seems to float over the ground rather than walk on it. He moves as sinuously as a snake and as lightly as a butterfly. Alai stays between us at all times, showing his mistrust in his hackles and rigid tail.Before long I smell smoke, then I see the fires from which it comes. They burn low, more embers than flames, several dozen of them. Around the fires are huts made of four poles and thatched with palm leaves. They have no walls. When we reach the edge of the village, Eio stops me. “They are sleeping. It is never good to wake what is sleeping. Stay here and look, but don’t wake them.”“You’re awake,” I point out.“I couldn’t sleep. I heard a jaguar and went looking for it.” He looks down at Alai. I remember Alai’s roars as we escaped through the fence. “Is it a good idea to hunt jaguars? Seems to me they’d end up hunting you.”Eio sits on a mossy rock, arms crossed over his bare chest. “Not to catch one! To see it. It is a powerful sign, the glimpse of the jaguar.”“I see a jaguar every day,” I say, reaching down to rub Alai’s ears.“It is a thing unheard of.” He shakes his head. “In the jungle, the jaguar is king. He follows no one but himself, and we Ai’oa fear and respect him and call him guardian.”“Alai’s just a big baby, really.”Eio gives a short laugh. “Of course. That’s why he tried to bite the nose off my face!”“How do you know English? Uncle Paolo told me you natives were ignorant about everything outside your own villages.”“I’m not ignorant,” Eio objects. “It is you who are ignorant, Pia bird. My father taught me English.”“Your father?”“He is a scientist like you, in Little Cam.”“Really!” I blink and stare at him with astonishment. Well, well, someone’s been hiding a really big secret. . . . “Who is it? What’s his name?” I think of all the scientists, wondering who it could be.“I don’t know his name. To me, he is only Papi. He comes and teaches me English and math and writing.”“What does he look like?”Eio shrugs. “Ugly, like all scientists.”I frown. “You think I’m ugly?” “Of course,” he says, staring toward his village.I feel my face flush with anger. “That’s the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me! I’m not ugly! I’m . . .” I look down at my muddy, bedraggled dress, and my voice falls to an embarrassed whisper. “I’m perfect.”“Perfect? Is that why you’re running around in the jungle, making noise like a tapir running from the spear, in a dress?”“I—it’s my birthday. . . . I wanted to see the jungle. I’ve never been outside Little Cam before. I wanted to feel what it was like to be outside, in the wild.” “Are you a prisoner, Pia bird?”“No,” I say, startled.“Why have you never left, then?”“I—they say it’s dangerous. Anacondas.”“Anacondas! I have killed an anaconda.”“You have?”“Yes. It was as long as I am tall, and I am the tallest Ai’oan in the village. I made its skin into a belt for Papi.”“I’ve only seen an anaconda once. It was dead too. Uncle Timothy shot it.”“With a gun?”“Of course with a gun!”“I don’t like guns. I hunt with dart and spear and arrow. These are silent and will not scare away your prey like a stupid gun.”I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the night is growing even darker. “I should go back now.” It’s been much, much longer than an hour. My delirious rush of adrenaline leaves me weary and nervous. I want to get back, to change and shower before my absence is noticed. If it hasn’t been noticed already.

Editorial Reviews

"Khoury's debut captures the lush rhythms of the rainforest. . . . The plot moves at breakneck speed. . . . Utterly refreshing." —Kirkus"This well-written first novel concerns 17-year-old Pia, who, as the result of advanced genetic engineering, is invulnerable and immortal. . . . [Khoury’s] descriptions of the rainforest and the native people contrast beautifully with the laboratory setting . . . and Pia is a fascinating protagonist." —Publishers Weekly"This first novel is a gripping read . . . with a clever blend of elements. It is an adventure story with romantic overtones, has a lush exotic setting framed by science, turns the eternal-love concept on its head, and rotates around a compelling moral quandary." —Booklist"Readers will be thrilled with the page-turning adventure/survival scenes in a descriptive and imaginative setting, and will root for Pia and Eio to the end." —SLJ"Origin is a startling mystery played out in the vivid and lush Amazon jungle. In this deadly clash of science and nature, a heroine emerges. Pia clawed her way through the pages and left her mark on the landscape of my imagination as the almost tangible danger left me breathless." —Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of Tiger's Curse"I loved Origin's action, romance, and mystery and I couldn't stop thinking about the questions it raised." —Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the Universe"Is this science fiction? It feels too scarily real. This spellbinding tale of the horrors of genetic engineering gone mad is both thriller and love story, breathlessly paced and beautifully told." —Judy Blundell, National Book Award winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied"A lush, dreamy page-turner that will live forever in the hearts of its readers. Pia may be the perfect antidote for those suffering from Katniss withdrawal." —Josh Sundquist, author of the national bestseller Just Don't Tell