As you may or may not know, Jessica Khoury's debut novel, Origin is due out September 4th. In advance of its release, Jessica has given us an excerpt from the novel, along with her thoughts behind the motivations of her characters:
“What did he say? After it was over?”
“What he always says. That I was perfect and that I passed.”
“Perfect,” he snorts.
“What? You don’t think I’m perfect?” I can’t resist because he gets so riled whenever I bring it up. “I can run up to thirty miles without stopping. I can jump six feet in the air. There is not a material in this world sharp enough to pierce my skin. I cannot drown or suffocate. I am immune to every illness known to man. I have a perfect memory. My senses are more acute than anyone else’s. My reflexes rival those of a cat. I will never grow old” – my voice falls, all smugness gone – “and I cannot die.”
“Perfect is,” Uncle Antonio whispers, “as perfect does, Pia.”
I almost laugh at him for sounding cliché, but his eyes are so solemn I stay quiet. (Origin, page 11)
Thoughts from Jessica:
By telling Pia she is perfect, the scientists hope to instill in her a sense of entitlement. They know that if she truly believes herself to be the height of humanity, she’ll do whatever it takes to fulfill their mission for her - creating more immortals. They continually remind her that nothing is more important than this. And because there is no one there to tell her otherwise, Pia begins to believe them. Antonio knows he can’t speak out against this training, at least, not outright, but he knows Pia isn’t as perfect as the others want her to believe. He knows the pride and self-absorption the scientists want Pia to have is a flaw itself. He knows there is more to perfection that physical flawlessness, and that it begins in the heart and not the skin. Pia is flawed in that she’s been trained to not see her flaws, training which Eio immediately challenges the first time they meet. As Pia learns to see herself truly with Eio’s and even Harriet’s help, she discovers that there are things more important than perfection.
Want to know more? Visit the Origin website here. Catch the book trailer here, or visit the book's Facebook page. You can also check out Penguin's Breathless Reads on their Facebook, Tumblr, and Scribd Samplr.