A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Origin presents a reasonably convincing picture of life in the Amazonian rain forest and raises questions about the limits of genetic engineering.
Many of the characters in Origin embark on a quest for immortality without examining what it might actually mean to live forever among the rest of a fragile humanity. The novel's protagonist, Pia, gradually uncovers the secrets that have governed her entire young life and must find the strength to assert her humanity, at the possible expense of her near-invulnerability.
Positive Role Models
Pia, the young protagonist of Origin, begins the novel as a sweet and naive test subject, eager to fulfill the expectations of the only family she's ever known. Her gradual realization of the cost of the quest for immortality makes her take active agency against nearly everyone who has raised her. Eio, the boy she meets in the jungle, helps her set her ethical compass and accept that love and compassion are more valuable than physical invincibility.
Violence & Scariness
The level of violence in Origin is fairly low until the climactic scenes, at which point there are a number of shootings, a suicide, and death by arrows. The mayhem is not described gratuitously. An earlier scene involving euthanasia and a kitten might upset some sensitive readers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Pia and Eio share a strong physical attraction, but their romantic activity never progresses beyond longing looks and a few passionate kisses.
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Readers will find little objectionable language in Origin. At a moment of emotional intensity, Pia says "Screw you" a few times.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.