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.
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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