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The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

The Lost Girl

My name is Eva, I am an echo. My time has come.

Echoes are created not born. They exist only as spares, to replace loved ones if they die. Stitched together at the Loom, their existence is determined by the Weavers – if they play by the rules they might survive. Eva is not too good at playing by the rules. She has a mind of her own, questions that she needs answers for, and a dangerous disregard for authority.

Eva was made to replace Amarra. Her whole life has been spent studying everything about Amarra; what she likes, where she goes, who she’s friends with. She has to be ready to slide seamlessly into Amarra’s life if necessary. After fifteen years she knows what’s expected of her, but she doesn’t really expect ever to have to uproot from her makeshift family and fulfil her role. An horrific car accident changes everything; Amarra is dead and Eva must become her for real.

Not only does Eva have to leave all the people she has grown up with, that have looked out for and after her, she has to meet the Weaver that made her on the long journey from England to Bangalore. Matthew is a scarily intense man, seemingly lacking in compassion and empathy. He views Eva as his creation, little more than a sentient puppet to whom he can do as he will. Keeping on the right side of him isn’t Eva’s only problem, not by a long way. Echoes are illegal in India; she must convince everyone that she is Amarra. The family must be satisfied, boyfriend, school friends, acquaintances…One misstep could mean disaster for Eva – she could be returned to the Loom for unstitching. There are also Hunters out there whose aim is to eradicate these abominations from the world.

The story is great; it’s exciting and tense with plenty of action. It also has some really big themes. It’s interesting for me to read two YA books both inspired by Frankenstein so close together. Like Broken, The Lost Girl deals with the nature of grief and how people try to come to terms with losing someone they love. It looks at how parents deal with losing a child, and actually made me think a bit more about that dynamic in Broken too. But most importantly, for me, it talks about what it is to be human. Eva is subject to prejudice, she’s considered less than human, a thing, not a person; she is the ‘other’ that scares and disturbs. Only those who refuse to get to know her though, who allow fear of difference to rule them, can hold these opinions. Those who meet her with open hearts and minds find a person, better yet, a friend.

I don’t know whether a sequel is planned, but I hope so. There are things left unresolved and unexplained that I would like to know more about. Saying that, it definitely does stand alone as a full story, I just want more! The Lost Girl is an amazing first novel and I think Sangu Mandanna is a name to watch out for.

Thank you so much to Harriet Venn at Random House for sending me a copy to review; I loved it!


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