Monday, 29 July 2013

The Lost Girl

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.
With echoes (no pun intended) of the brilliant Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Lost Girl was completely captivating.  I loved, loved, loved this engaging debut novel from Sangu Mandanna.  While it wasn't my original intention, I read The Lost Girl in a day devouring each new page as quickly as I could.

The opening section, introducing the reader to Eva, was pitch perfect.  Showing her relationship with each of her caretakers and examples of how she feels like a prisoner.  By the end of part one I was on Eva's side no matter what, and this allegiance carried on throughout the book.

Then there is the sinister Loom where the Echoes are created. The name makes the process sound like a fairy tale, yet it is anything but.  There are three scientists who work at the Loom, and through their story Mandanna presents the old idea that brilliance corrupts.  How far does the science push you until you're not you any more?  Is there a point where what you've created becomes more human than you? 

When I finally finished it got me wondering: Is The Lost Girl classed as YA because the narrator is a teen? Because what I had just read was a diverse and adult exploration of the grieving process.  There were so many discussion points that I found myself still thinking about The Lost Girl long after I had finished reading.

As a side note: If not for a review link on twitter, I would have never of found/read The Lost Girl.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't have picked it up in a bookshop; the cover doesn't grab me, and neither did the blurb on my copy.  Just goes to show you that the old adage is true...

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