Title/Author: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray on August 28, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian/Science Fiction
Other Books by Author: None yet!
How I got this Book: Borrowed it from the library
Summary From Goodreads: Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination–an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other,” if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.
But sixteen years of studying never prepared her for this.
Now she must abandon everything and everyone she’s ever known–the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love–to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.
What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.
Wow, The Lost Girl was fantastic! I haven’t read a book like this in a very long time. A book that is paced so fantastically that you don’t even realize the time passing as you read! This book has it all: fast-paced make your heart race moments, and slower, more tender sentimental moments. It was so well written and perfectly paced that you could probably sit down and read it all in one day and feel almost as though no time has passed at all.
The main character, Eva, is an “echo” of her “other” Amarra. Eva was created for the sole purpose of replacing Amarra in the event that she passed away. She would have to blend in seamlessly, picking up right where Amarra left off with her family, her friends, and even her boyfriend! Eva has spent the last 15 years studying everything about Amarra, and I mean EVERYTHING. Essentially, Eva is supposed to act like Amarra at all times in preparation for replacing her and not getting caught, as echos are illegal in India where Amarra is from. Imagine how awful that must be!! To be raised from birth to be the copy of another person, never having the chance to act upon your own thoughts and feelings, to not even be allowed to have your own thoughts and feelings for that matter!! I imagine it would be downright awful.
Eva makes the best of her situation though, and even rebels in small ways by taking her own name, and going on secret trips to the zoo. She lives with her Guardian Mina Ma, who takes care of her and loves her as her own daughter. Eva has also fallen in love with Sean, another of her Guardians who comes and visits often. But of course, their love is forbidden!!! When the time comes for Eva to replace her “other”, she has to be perfect. She has some very difficult decisions to make that will affect her and her loved ones.
I loved hearing this story told from the perspective of Eva, a strong-willed narrator who brings you so close as to feel every little fragment of emotion that she has. Although I cannot personally relate to her, the way this story is told will touch your heart. Many of the other secondary characters will inch their way inside your heart as well, especially Sasha, Amarra’s younger sister. She is adorable in every way imaginable, and makes you want to say “Awwwwwwweee” every time she makes an appearance! All of the characters, the plot, and the message of this story make this one of my most favourite reads in quite a while.
Everyone needs to read The Lost Girl. Definitely under-appreciated in my opinion. I loved practically every bit about this book, and I think this is a book that I might even pick up in a couple of years and read again! The story will make you think a lot about what it means to follow your heart and stay true to yourself, as that is exactly the journey that Eva goes on throughout this book. With moments that will have you with butterflies in your stomach, and others that will be tearing at your heartstrings, The Lost Girl is one of the best dystopian novels I have read!
Side note: This book also quoted my favourite poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, which makes me love it even more!!
I face the room squarely, taking in every stark detail of the life a girl has lost. It’s a funny sort of word to use at a time like this, lost. You lose your keys. Your phone. Your favourite pair of shoes. And you often find those things again, days or weeks later, under the sofa or buried in the back of a closet. But it isn’t quite the same for a lost life. A lost girl. Can you find those things again?
Have you read this book? If you have, what were your thoughts on it? Did you love it as much as I did? If you haven’t read this book, do you think it will make it onto your TBR?