A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Origin is a fast-paced science fiction thriller that explores some of the possible consequences of genetic engineering. Pia, the young protagonist, gradually learns the history of lies and treachery at the research facility that's been her only home. There's little violence until the novel's climax, when there are some shootings, a suicide, and a death by arrows. "Screw you" is the book's most objectionable language, and there's little sexual content, beyond some longing looks and a couple of passionate kisses.
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What's the story?
Deep in the Amazon, Pia has been bred and raised in isolation by a team of scientists searching for the secret to immortality. She is willing to put up with their tests and strict rules until she begins to learn that nothing in the research facility is at it seems. With the help of a sympathetic newcomer and Eio, a boy who lives among the local people, Pia begins to question the cost of immortality and explore the possibility of life outside her camp's fences.
Is it any good?
ORIGIN is a refreshingly self-contained science fiction thriller, the story of one remarkable young woman's discovery of the secrets and betrayal that lie at the heart of her family. Author Jessica Khoury does a fine job of orchestrating Pia's ethical awakening, making her initial naivety and passivity relatable but making her an active agent in her own redemption. The love-at-first-sight of Pia and Eio is a bit overdone but somewhat understandable, given the extraordinary circumstances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why genetic engineering and the search for immortality are popular themes in science fiction stories. Can you think of other books or movies that explore either or both?
What would it feel like to know that you might live forever?
How would you feel if you learned that you had been born to be a test subject for a secret experiment?
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