Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Published: August 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies 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 fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything 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.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.

This book was beautiful. I had put off reading it since it isn’t my *thing* (re: not a dystopia/zombie book) – but it was on an OLA member’s list of books not to be missed, and so I grabbed a copy. And fell in love with it almost immediately.
Mandanna writes beautifully, and she knows what it is to be reckless and afraid all at the same time. The questions asked in this book are heavy: How far would you go to never lose a loved one? How much can you risk to be yourself? The beauty is that the emphasis is placed on the questions of existence, life, love and death – not how an echo like Eva came to be in the first place. We are given no method behind the miracle – although hints and parallels to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein abound. And as someone who always wants to peek behind the curtains, I promise the story is engaging enough that you don’t care about the how, all you want to know is what happens.

Eva and Amarra are both strong, wonderful female characters, with enough hesitance to make them believable. Much to my happiness, they didn’t gush out all their secrets within days of meeting a heartthrob of a boy. They were complex, and kept some secrets and blurted out others all I a very believable and likeable way.

Sean and Ray are also both wonderful male leads – of course they’re both beautiful, but it’s their character flaws that Mandanna builds in that makes them beyond likeable. Both heartbroken in different ways, how they deal with the anguish and guilt makes them real in a way male YA characters never seem to be.
I think that was what sold me on this book – despite the existence of The Loom and echos, everything and everyone felt real. I seldom questioned their actions or motives. They were flawed characters, written almost flawlessly. And Mandanna’s writing style is elegant and beautiful in a way that is fluid and pleasing to read. A wonderful book and one I suggest you pick up. Definitely a not-to-be-missed title.

Many thanks to Special K for this wonderful review.  I'm off to get a copy to read for myself.


  1. Oh this is a wonderful book. I absolutely loved it. :D
    Great review! :)

  2. A story that feels real, filled with great characters. I think I must grab my copy from the shelves and read it soon, because it sounds very good :) Nice review!