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.
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
Firstly can I say how lovely the cover of this book is. It's not in your face with flashy colours and graphics and really captures the book so well. Eva is an echo of Amarra. Both girls are the same but Eva is a copy of Amarra who's only purpose in life and her reason for existing is to replace Amarra in the event she is killed. She's been trained her whole life on 'being Amarra' and kept hidden away in a small village in England so no one in India where Amarra and her family live would find out about her echo. It's illegal in places like India and even in legal countries it is sneered at and seen as playing God. Eva wants to be herself but she lives in the shadow of another and Amarra it seems dislikes Eva just as much.
When Amarra dies suddenly Eva is brought in to replace her without anyone outside the family knowing and soon begins a new life in India trying to be someone she's not and forgetting all that she was and the people she loved. There is darkness ahead as the fear of destruction by her makers or those that hate she exists hangs over her head constantly as she tries to heal the grieving family with her presence.
A fab story that looked at big issues from a very human and realistic point of view. Who decides if it's OK to play God and who should have the power over the life it creates? What do you do when you are the creation? For anyone that's read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley may have deeper thoughts on these questions and it's lovely to see it referenced in The Lost Girl as a forbidden tale to be read by an Echo. As if the mere ideas in that book would crumble an entire society. Eva was such a wonderful character as an MC and Sangu Mandanna is very careful to make her a character you can warm to without making Amarra's family and friends seem like villains for having the power to ruin Eva or making her essentially to be a back up.
The relationships between Eva and her familiars (Amarra's parents) portrayed a family with grief so well and I sort of wish we'd got to see more of that side of the story and the relation ship with Neil who was so close to Amarra and so distant from Eva. If anything The Lost Girl could have been divided into two stories; the story of the Echo and playing God and the story of loss and grief. It was finely balanced and I think it has great potential for movie producers to be all over it.
Thrilling story and characters that get inside your head. The Lost Girl kept my nose firmly glued between the pages.
Published by Definitions, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, and is available from January 2013