Monday, October 8, 2012

Becky's View: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
♦publisher: Balzer & Bray
♦release date: August 28th, 2012
♦hardcover, 432 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ALA
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.

Review: Without a doubt, one of the easiest 5-cupcake ratings I've given out in a long time.  This book blew me away.  I started out reading this one by checking out the preview at Amazon (something I often due during quiet hours on the desk at work), and by the time I had reached the end of the short sneak peek, I was completely engrossed in every detail, I was invested in every character, I couldn't wait to get home and tear through the rest.  And, honestly, that intense feeling of being completely drawn into this story and these characters lives never lets up, not until the very last page. 

Starting out,  I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I knew it was about some sort of clone, a bit of a science fiction-y concept where people are copied in case their "original" dies. I'd read stories about clones before and even those where they contemplate the human nature of them (one of my favorite books of all time is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro---if you've never read it, you must.)  So I already knew this sort of concept fascinated me.  But The Lost Girl is so beautifully told, you feel every emotion---all the fear, the uncertainty, the loss, the longing, the anger, the love, and the hope.  It's amazing because without it being in anyone's perspective but Eva's, you still get inside the head and heart of every character.  The emotions just seem to come crashing at you from all sides.  

The plot itself is tightly crafted and flows perfectly.  It's split into three parts: first we meet Eva in her home with Ming Ma who raised her with so much love, and her guardians, one of which has become so much more.  You get to know all of them and see how much they all mean to each other, to see how fiery Eva is,  how she feels about her existence, and how passionate she is to keep her life her own.  I loved Ming Ma's character---she loves Eva fiercely and is so determined to keep her safe, no matter the cost to herself.  And Sean..well, he's just awesome.  Smart, funny, genuine, and brave.   In part two, we see Eva's struggle to find her place in the grieving family who ordered her creation and the dangers of trying to convince everyone that she is Amarra, including the boy who loved her. She finds a wonderful bond with Amarra's younger brother and sister and discovers a great new friend when she least expects it.  And in part three, the story explodes into a fast-paced and perilous fight to survive against her creators, The Weavers, who could take it all away.  This is a stand-alone story, and while the end is not a tidy little package of certainty and safety, I thought it was perfect. 

Don't hesitate---READ THIS BOOK.

Find Sangu Mandanna online: Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase The Lost Girl:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound



  1. Wow, now I want to read this one immediately. :D I'm really glad that you loved this so much and your review reminded me to keep this one in mind and pick up a copy when I get the chance. :)

  2. Sounds fab. I can't stop thinking of that movie The Island (2005) when I hear or read about it.

  3. I've seriously heard nothing but super amazing things about this book. And your review has me looking forward to reading it even more! Hopefully I can get to it soon.

  4. Wow! You totally sold this book to me. It had kind of passed me by before now for some reason. Never Let Me Go is also one of my all time favourite books. Everyone should read it! :)