The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna Book Review
Friday, September 7, 2012 10:00 AM
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“But maybe that's what the dead do. They stay. They linger. Benign and sweet and painful. They don't need us. They echo all by themselves.”
― Sangu Mandanna, The Lost Girl
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. (Goodreads)
The Lost Girl had me hook, line and seeker from the very first page. It was such a wonderful read, I found it difficult to put down when I needed to. I loved everything about it. From the character development to the setting to the refreshing premise. When I first read the plot synopsis, I was blown away by how wild and creative it was. Echoes of living people? Weavers that stitch people to life? And all of this inspired by Shelley's Frankenstein? I'm jealous of Mandanna's imagination. It's one of those books you read and wish you had written yourself because it's that amazing.
First off, as I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of YA books that manage to intricately weave (haha weave as in Weavers) classic literature into the plot. It's becoming a regular occurrence, and I'm thrilled. The connection between Frankenstein and the Weavers' creations in The Lost Girl really strengthened the plot and increased my interest because I LOVE Frankenstein. I love me some dark and gloomy books. It added meaning to the book by questioning the relationship between the creator and the created. It also reconsiders the definitions of monstrosity and human. The Shakespeare, Sense and Sensibility, and Wuthering Heights references were also a huge bonus.
The characters were so developed, I almost expected them to step out of the pages as living, breathing people. I loved Eva. She was such a strong heroine. Throughout the book, she learned how to love and trust others, and to really develop as a person while some people just considered her Amarra's duplicate. While she was a fierce character to be reckoned with, she had her insecurities, making her all the more real to me. Sean was one of the best romantic interests ever! I loved him, and I would pick him over Ray anytime. Not only was he British, but he also saw Eva as a human being and not just an echo. I was happy the romance wasn't the central focus, and it was touching and sweet and far from instalove.
The secondary characters in The Lost Girl really stood out and were also well-developed. Even if I didn't love every character (which of course I didn't and I'm not supposed to), every one of them was fascinating. I adored the guardians. Ophelia and Erik and Mina Ma. I could not get enough of Mina Ma. Lekha was one of my favorite characters; she reminded me of Luna Lovegood: all weirdness and warm-hearted. Nikhil and Sasha were adorable. Even Ray intrigued me. He seemed endlessly torn between the memory of Amarra and her echo Eva. I couldn't help wondering if he was only interested in Eva because she looked exactly like his dead girlfriend. Matthew was probably the most complex, and then Adrian, though we don't see him as much. They were both a mystery to unravel. Definitely some memorable characters here!
I love how The Lost Girl takes place in England and then India. Mandanna described the setting in vivid detail, making me wish I could be beside the lake in Windermere or in the crowded streets of Bangalore. I never lost my interest and there was even some action, with hunters on the loose and seekers that work for the Weavers. The Weavers seemed to be a constant presence, even if they were just in Eva's thoughts.
I want the sequel now! Right this minute! I know I'm demanding, but I want to learn more about the Weavers and how the Loom started! The suspense is killing me! I also want to read more about Frankenstein and how it connects to the Weavers. Why were the echoes forbidden to read it? I can't wait to find out! My conclusion: read this book immediately!