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.
Eva doesn’t know how people like her are born. She knows that, one day, she just was. She was seamed together in the Loom, the place from where every one of her species is controlled and judged, whenever necessary. There are certain laws she must respect, even if she doesn’t want to. She has a schedule, she has no choice. But that’s because she was born as an echo, since the beginning destined to be someone else. She doesn’t really have a name, except for Amarra, the one she was cloned off. Everything Amarra likes, she has to like too. So, if something happens to Amarra, she is ready to take her place. That’s why she exists, to be an echo.
But Eva is different, and wants to be her own person. Her Guardians seems to put blind eyes almost every time she does something she shoudn’t. But when Amarra dies and she needs to take her place, she is in the verge of rebelling herself. Especially because she wants to love someone she shouldn’t: after all, Amarra had her own boyfriend, and she should assume her place in this case too.
But when the Loom is watching her closely, falling in love with someone she shouldn’t can be the worst thing she does, putting not only herself in danger, but her loved ones.
The Lost Girl was one of the best surprises of 2012. The book has a strong world building, taking us right into this incredible world created by Sangu Mandanna. The echos, the Loom and the laws were so present in the narrative that it seemed something natural to read. Everything was constructed with detail, and that made The Lost Girl a strong visual experience.
We are heartbroken by the love story, but at the same time in awe of Eva, who is a strong character and a very determined girl, who wants the right to make her own choices above everything. The Lost Girl is a brilliant mix between romance and fiction. This book is an open eye for the freedom we take for granted, and brings a lot of ethical questions too. Is it right to create a clone to replace someone you love? Would that clone have the same soul as the original person?
If you haven’t read this one yet, be aware: you may fall in love with this story like we did, and join us waiting for news about a sequel. The Lost Girl does work as a stand-alone novel, but the author has already said that she has plans for a trilogy—but there’s no contract for it yet.
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Country: United States
Genre(s): Fiction, Science Fiction, Romance
Publication date: August 28, 2012
Our favorite quotes on this book are bellow.
The truth is, there is only so much space given to a single life.
He glues my edges together. It looks like dancing. But his hands – no matter how many times I imagine my creation, his hands never move like they love me. Because they don’t. I suppose it’s one of those things I have always known.
I have a routine that doesn’t change much. I study a girl far away. She’s the original to my copy. She haunts me. Everything I do depends on her. And on her parents, my familiars, the two people who asked the Weavers to make me. I learn what she learns. I eat what she eats.
“I’ve always wanted to be a girl. Only a girl. To not be ‘the echo’.”
“You’re not ‘the echo’ to me.”
I’m not like these people around me, and I am not Amarra, but I can wear all my differences without shame.
“It must be hard letting him go.”
“I don’t think anyone ever really lets go of the people they love,” he says, putting his keys down in a big bowl by the door, “You’re living proof of that, aren’t you?”
“You’ve been Eva too long. It’s time to be Amarra.”
I’m going. I’m really going.
I promise her I’ll do what she asks. I promise I will do my best to forget myself.
I don’t look back. And he’s gone. How can I never see him again? How can they ask that of me?
I face the room squarely, taking in every stark detail of the life a girl has lost. It’s a funny sort of word to use at a time like this, lost. You lose your keys. Your phone. Your favourite shoes. And often you find those things again, days or weeks later, under the sofa or buried in the back of a closet. But it isn’t quite the same for a lost life. A lost girl. Can you find those things again?
Is it possible to look at a picture of somebody, over and over, and learn to love them?
I stare hard at the photograph as if it can give me answers. Can I love him? Love isn’t so simple. It’s not a word I can throw around.
It occurs to me then, for the first time, that I have always been one of two. A copy. A mirage. I had her, even when I hated her. Now I’m alone. Singular.
If you pretend you love a boy, maybe after a while you start to care. If you spend months with the traces of someone else’s love and memories inside you, maybe those traces become a part of you. Or perhaps Amarra has nothing to do with this. Perhaps I care because I’m jealous of what she had. That kind of love. That kind of freedom to love. I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t.
I am a creature, a girl, life stitched from nothing. I am eerie and frightful. And I’m stronger than all of them. I can’t allow any hunter, or Weaver, or betrayal to defeat me. Believing that is all I have. It’s all that might save me.
I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of having no control over my life. This has to change.
“The thing is,” says Sean, his eyes very green and sad, “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”
Things don’t have to be finished to be beautiful.
I can live with the traffic. I have bathed an elephant in a river. I can handle traffic.
I don’t like the world without you. I need you to be alive.
“Honestly?” I say. “You look kind of sexy.”
“So the bloody, battled look gets you going? And here I thought my intellect and wit would be enough.”
I smile up at him. “I thought you looked sexy before you were bloody and battled.”