I took a class in the fall semester of my sophomore year of college that involved reading books that discussed science crossing the line. It is still one of my favorite courses I have taken so far in my college career. I love to read and as a science major I enjoy discussing different scientific advances in society. However, there is always the question of what line are you willing to cross when it comes to experiments. Some of the books we read were Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Oryx and Crake. While these were all older books I believe Jessica Khoury’s books could fit right in as more recent additions to the reading list. Just because they are a teen book does not mean it holds no meaning and her books definitely prove this point. Vitro by Jessica Khoury was the second book of her’s that I read and it was just as fantastic as the first one I read. Her books are all connected in a way but not necessarily a series.
This book follows a 17-year-old girl named Sophie who receives a mysterious email from her estranged scientist mother. Her mother is on an island out in the ocean near Guam where she has been working a secret assignment for Sophie’s entire life. After being forced to leave Guam, where Sophie spent the first 7 years of her life, and move to the States Sophie has wanted to understand her mother’s work for as long as she can remember so when she gets the email she jumps on the opportunity and flies out to Guam. While in Guam she runs into her old childhood friend Jim who she convinces to fly her to the mysterious Skin Island. Once on the island they realize that her mother is growing teenagers in a lab creating a group called the Vitros with one Vitro being the identical clone to Sophie. From there on out…well I can’t tell you because that would ruin the surprises the book holds. Don’t worry I didn’t give away any spoilers you can’t find on the book summary. But believe me there are many twists and turns coming in this book.
Like I mentioned earlier this book discusses both the risks and the benefits of crossing the line in science. I know a lot of people complain about books like this because they make science seem like the big bad evil but I think they do the opposite, at least in the case of Khoury’s books. She makes you see what good science can do but how easily it can turn bad in the wrong hands. I love the blend of science and fiction that she writes about. Another part of the book I love is the setting. For the most part it takes place on Skin Island, which isn’t described as being very big. By the end of the book I feel like I can picture most parts of the island. Khoury really has a way of describing a setting. I almost wished she had focused some of that description on the character’s relationships.
While I feel like Sophie’s relationship with her mother was developed very nicely, especially given all of the plot twists (seriously READ THIS BOOK), I wanted more from Jim and Sophie. It was like every time they began to show development the plot would twist and everything would change. However, I still enjoyed their relationship. I just wanted to know more about their lives after Skin Island. It’s been keeping me thinking which I guess is a good thing. In the end this book was just as good as her first book I read. She has one more book out that follows the Corpus company and I look forward to reading it (along with her latest book set to come out in February of 2016 that has nothing to do with these books). Seriously she is an amazing author and I highly recommend her books.
PS she was another author I got to meet in person and get my books autographed by her