cover image Vitro


Jessica Khoury. Razorbill, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59514-605-2

In her second novel, Khoury (Origin) introduces Sophie Crue, a 17-year-old with a mysterious past. Sophie’s childhood was spent on Guam where her biologist parents worked at a high-security laboratory on nearby Skin Island. When Sophie was seven, her father abruptly took her to the United States, leaving their lab behind and divorcing Sophie’s mother. Now, Sophie has received an email from her mother asking for her help in an unspecified emergency; without telling her father, she returns to her birthplace. There she discovers that no one on Guam will fly her to the forbidding island—no one except Jim Julien, her former childhood playmate, now grown to reckless adulthood. Sophie and Jim discover that Skin Island hides a dark experiment in genetics, one that some might kill to protect. Khoury’s prose is crisp and her primary characters compelling. The scientific mystery, a variation on the one at the core of Origin, is fascinating and serves as a believable critique of the dangers of scientific research motivated by profit. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, the Friedrich Agency. (Jan.)