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The Lost Girl Hardcover – August 28, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Eva is an "echo." She was created to take the place of a girl named Amarra, who lives in India with her family. Should Amarra die, Eva will replace her so that her family will not have to suffer her loss. This means that Eva must study the girl, know her likes and dislikes, and experience as much of her existence as she can, right down to getting the same tattoo. But Eva has a life of her own in England, including a guardian who loves her and a boy who may be more than a friend. When she is called to take Amarra's place, she begins a journey of self-discovery and danger. Echoes are illegal in India, and one wrong move could mean the end of not only Eva's life, but also disaster for Amarra's family. She must avoid vigilantes who kill echoes, play her part in her new family, and pretend to love Amarra's boyfriend, Ray. While this book has an intriguing premise, it gets lost in the details, both in terms of the specifics of how echoes are pieced together by the "weavers" and the implausibility that Amarra's friends and the media in India would not be aware of her death. How is it that Ray, who was driving the car when she was killed, wasn't questioned by the police? This question and others show the many plot holes. The frequent climaxes frustrate more than add intensity, leaving the ambiguous ending lackluster.-Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Eva—a man-made yet human “echo” of Bangaloran native Amarra, created to step in if Amarra’s life is cut short—is entirely circumscribed by her “other’s” experiences, even to the extent that when Amarra gets tattooed as an act of rebellion, Eva is branded with an identical mark whether she wants it or not. When Amarra dies in a car accident, Eva is sent to take her place, knowing that if the deception is discovered it means her death. Debut author Mandanna prefaces this absorbing novel by quoting from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, hinting that readers are being introduced to a monster, and then delivers a sympathetic central character deeply immersed in two worlds of friends and loved ones. The story is moving without being sentimental, and Eva’s attempts to evade her captors provide action that will broaden the book’s appeal to both sexes. Grades 8-11. --Cindy Welch

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1 edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062082310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062082312
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant and wrote her first story about it and decided that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became THE LOST GIRL, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together.

Sangu now lives in England with her husband and son. Find her online at www.sangumandanna.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A breathtaking, illuminating but never didactic, emotionally accessible (to both young adults and adults alike) tale of life, love, and what makes us human. The Lost Girl is an ambitious, unexpectedly deep, and mentally stimulating debut novel, and one with a beating heart. In this skilfully plotted and intense sci-fi thriller (with subtle romantic elements) Sangu Mandanna offers us a striking and disquieting look at a strange world of the future. A world of Weavers, echos, and hunters, filled with grief, sorrow, danger and never-ending questions about the essence of humanity, self-worth and identity.

Eva is an echo. She was created by people called "Weavers" as an exact copy of a girl named Amarra. She lives with her guardian and mother-figure, Mina Ma, in a small cabin in England's countryside. Her life is not her own. It never was. She's the property of the Weavers, made to replace Amarra in case something happens to her. Every day she is forced to follow a very strict set of rules, only do what she's told to do, never step out of line. The smallest misstep could result in a trial and -- inevitably -- her destruction. She has to learn how to be Amarra. Through weekly journal entries, she studies Amarra's life and personality, learns about her family, friends, and boyfriend, memorizes every little thing that Amarra did, saw, thought. If anything happens to the other girl, Eva is expected to step in and be Amarra. An expensive replacement, a back-up plan, a clone - that's all she is and all she'll ever be. And then one day it happens. Amarra dies in a car crash and Eva is sent to take her place. Can she really leave everything behind and be the Amarra that everyone expects her to be? For Eva, failure is not an option.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on August 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In The Lost Girl, young Eva's life is not her own. She is not a normal human, she's just a copy, an echo, an "other" -a complete copy of another person created by the Weavers in order to replace a young girl named Amarra if she were ever die. As Eva studies Amarra's life, her likes and dislikes, her personality, her relationships -she finds that she's not as much like Amarra as she should be, though she may look the same. And when Amarra dies, Eva must take her place.

The Lost Girl has some of the strongest and most chilling writing I've come across this year. So much of this novel is infused with powerful metaphysical questions and vivid, crisp writing that pulls the reader into Eva's head. And as I dug deeper and deeper into this story -and into Eva's head -it was fascinating to see how different and free will she compared with what she was supposed to be. As I was pulled into Eva's story I became more compelled by the overarching plot and the ideas being discussed here.

While I enjoyed Lost Girl overall, I felt like some of the questions and themes brought up at the beginning didn't really stick. They started out with promise, but didn't hold up over time. Though some of the questions about identity did move forward, it did bother me that Lost Girl was a little too focused on the romance by my tastes. For a good portion of the book, the story basically came down to: "can I love who I want or does it need to be the same as Amarra?" While this is a plausible and interesting dilemma, I would have liked to have seem more going on.

Though Lost Girl has some great ideas and an interesting premise, I feel like it was a little lacking at the end and that it didn't quite meet up to its potential.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Holmes on November 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
** Slight Spoilers **

With parallels to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, The Lost Girl traces Eva's plight as an echo for Amarra. It is Eva's grudging destiny to replace Amarra in the event of her death. Mandanna's writing is lovely, simple and hauntingly evokes grief and despair for both the family whose teen daughter is killed in a car accident, and Eva who must forget everything she holds dear to fill the void left. For this, the author earns three and a half stars.

Unfortunately, there were too many issues that intruded on the story and often pulled me from complete absorption. In its day, Shelley's work drew upon cutting edge and very shocking scientific discoveries, such as Galvanni's innervation of frog-legs with electricity and Harvey's Theory of Blood circulation, which questioned the very nature of God and existence. It is a profound exploration of spiritual meaning, the right to live and humanity. The lack of an explanation for what Eva actually is, be it full clone, replica with another's consciousness or something else nagged all the way through, as the concept of the 'Loom' and 'Weavers' hobbling people together from 'dust and bits of bone' seemed so utterly anachronistic in what is essentially an urban fantasy set in the modern world. If Eva was something as obvious as a clone, it sets up the opportunity to at least explore nature versus nurture, as her and Amarra are raised apart. But any elucidation of Eva's actual origins is lacking. Using Frankenstein to foreshadow events made the direction of the narrative a tad obvious for anyone familiar with the original.

Additionally, I kept wondering how any sane family or individual would sign up for an imperfect proxy of one they held so dear with full knowledge of what they were getting.
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