Here's a novel readers will love but may overlook: a modern sci-fi tale taking place in a secret science facility buried in the exotic Amazonian rain forest. The place is called Little Cam and animal testing and complete isolation from the outside world is commonplace. In addition, one of the main characters, seventeen-year-old Pia, is the result of five generations of breeding since 1902 and is "Immortal"; impenetrable skin, perfect memory, and gorgeous with nearly endless energy. But she's also emotionally reflective about everyone else's mortality, and thus, very lonely.

This book sounds like a philosophical conundrum. And that's why it's so good - making you think about what it is to be human in a way few Young Adult books dare to explore. Because one day, there's a hole in the fence leading to a world she has never seen. Oh, and she meets a native boy. Things get complicated, morally and ethically. Where's her place? Her fate? Her destiny? And how will her decisions affect the progress of the human race? Scientists who have dedicated their short lives creating a race of Immortals to end some of human's biggest problems are counting on her, and that's a lot of weight on a teenage girl's shoulders.

This novel is edgy (and at times disturbing) but always beautifully written. A romance blended with a heavy dose of existentialism, "Origin" is spectacular and one of the most thoughtful, human, dramatic debuts in Y.A. fiction. It's also a contender for YALSA's Teens' Top Ten pick.

If you like devoted romances, speculative science, strong description of place, characters who make life-changing decisions, or plots filled with secrets, I strongly encourage you to pick this book up and start loving it.

 

Recommended by Matthew Lowder

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