The Island – for teens

Vitro by Jessica Khoury is what I imagine you would get if you took the movie The Island and threw in a little of the setting and comedy of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island for effect.

This is another ARC I got at NewYorkComiCon – yes, it is secretly the best book event ever – and it’s a fun, somewhat superficial YA SciFi novel due out on January 2014.

VitroThe story centers on Sophie Crue, who get a mysterious emergency message to help her mom on Skin Island – the private research facility where she works and has never allowed Sophie to visit. Being an oh-so-logical teen, Sophie, of course, immediately heads for the island with charter pilot Jim Julien. Since this is YA, Jim is young, cute and he has a meaningful backstory with Sophie. Then, from the instant Jim and Sophie land on the island – or try to land – things start to go wrong. We quickly meet Nicholas – another hot young guy, though we can’t immediately decide if he is good or evil – and learn more about the shocking – at least to Sophie – experiments taking place on the island. There’s Sophie’s “twin” Lux, revelations about Sophie’s mother, an evil scientists/dictator Strauss, semi-disturbing brainwashing and the complicated investor Andreyev.

Vitro’s plots and characters chug along through the standard YA SciFi tropes. Can you justify the experiments? What makes somebody a “real person?” What would you sacrifice for the people you care about? And you see brilliant names like the corporation named Corpus and the experimental island named Skin Island. But, despite the predictability of the book, it is fun.

You’re not going to find anything cutting edge in Vitro, but it’s a fun, quick read on a cold night. And apparently that’s enough, since this is actually Khouri’s second book – her first was Origin, a book about a new immortal race in the jungle, sound familiar?

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