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Jessica Khoury. Razorbill, $17.99 (372p) ISBN 978-1-59514-595-6

Set in a secret scientific compound in the depths of the Amazon, this well-written first novel concerns 17-year-old Pia, who, as the result of advanced genetic engineering, is invulnerable and immortal. The scientists who created her are fanatics, morally compromised by their work; they’ve raised her to be what they see as the ideal scientist—rational, objective, and heartless—repeatedly telling her, “You are immortal, Pia, and you are perfect.” Her sole purpose, they say, is to eventually create more immortals. Pia, who has never been outside the compound and knows nothing about the world beyond, is content with this role until, sneaking through a hole in the fence one night, she meets Eio, an indigenous boy her age, who shows her that there is significantly more to life than she knows. Khoury’s scientists are mostly one-dimensional monsters, and their scientific protocols (keeping knowledge of geography and culture from Pia) make little sense. Her descriptions of the rainforest and the native people contrast beautifully with the laboratory setting, however, and Pia is a fascinating protagonist. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, the Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)