Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

The Lost Girl
Sangu Mandanna
Balzer and Bray
[August 28, 2012]

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.

I'm not even sure if I can properly review this book. It's just...so freaking incredible.

So, Eva was insanely awesome. She was tough and intelligent, clever and strong. Despite having to be someone else, she never lost who she was. Eva was Eva and I loved Eva. I loved every stubborn piece of Eva. 

The story itself is fantastic and pretty unique. I doubt it's the first of it's kind, but it's the first I've ever read. And although it's really a paranormal read, it also reads a lot like a contemporary novel, so that's a fun little surprise. I loved the twists and turns and the utter darkness and despair that seemed to drip from the pages. There were happy moments, but they were always shadowed with the truth and the fact that Eva could never be Eva. Then there's the ending which is amazing and shocking and just...yes. <3

Sangu Mandanna's writing is lovely and lyrical and beauty. I could drown myself in her talent and her genius and I will probably read anything this woman writes. She's just this incredible story teller and I'm both inspired and intimidated by her talent. 

The Lost Girl is largely about grief and how we as humans handle it. Amarra, the girl who Eva's supposed to be, was in a lot of people's lives and she was important to them. All of them are looking for Eva to be something to help them past the grief and each person uses Eva differently. I thought it was a really incredibly commentary on family and friends and relationships. Just...ugh. I can't even describe how incredible this book is.

Nothing I say will adequately describe my love for this book or how fantastic it is. There aren't enough words in the world to do that. Just, please, trust me. And go pick up The Lost Girl. 

--Julie

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