Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Review of
The Lost Girl
by Sangu Mandanna

Published by Balzer + Bray
on August 28, 2012

Source: bought


"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."

My summary: Eva has always known that she's a copy, a back-up, a contingency plan. Created by the mysterious Weavers, Eva is the Echo to Amarra's Original. Eva was made at the request of Amarra's parents to take their daughter's place in the unlikely event that anything were to happen to her. But when Amarra dies in an accident, Eva must travel to a new country and assume a new identity. Amarra has friends, siblings, a boyfriend, all of whom Eva has to deceive. She'll also have to face her own lifelong feelings of inadequacy, her fears of vigilante groups who think Echoes are abominations, and her longing for her former self. Before long, she'll be running for her life.

My thoughts: The Lost Girl is one of my favorite reads of 2012!  Inspired by Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Lost Girl poses questions that are both timeless and timely. Can love transcend death? What is the nature of personhood? How fixed is identity? Can science find a way to defy mortality? 

Part sci-fi, part folktale, part coming-of-age story, The Lost Girl is a story of impressive depth and subtlety, a story that's a pleasure to read but also keeps you thinking long after you've turned the last page. As modern science makes advances like cloning and the creation of artificial body parts, the questions posed by this book are relevant and fascinating.

I loved Eva. The recent popularity of dystopian fiction has made tough-as-nails heroines all the rage in YA, but Eva has a quiet strength and resoluteness that I found deeply moving. Every character in the book felt spot-on, from Sean, Eva's forbidden love, to Mina Ma, Eva's surrogate mother, to Amarra's grieving family and boyfriend.
"I pretended to love them for so long, and somewhere along the line, it stopped being pretend."
Much of the plot revolves around Eva's adjustment to her new life. Not only is she literally stepping into another person's shoes, she's living on the other side of the world. Eva was created and raised in England, but after Amarra's death, she goes to live in Bangalore, where Amarra's family lives. I loved this post-colonial, cross-cultural aspect of the book, loved the setting, loved how the author wove a folk tale about a mongoose into this Frankenstein-inspired story. 

For those of you who crave romance and suspense, this book has plenty of both. Not only are echoes are illegal in India and hunted by vigilantes, they can also be terminated on request, so Eva is always one step away from oblivion. Suspense, forbidden love, strong characters, beautiful writing, a thought-provoking premise -- I can't think of any more I could ask for in a book. I highly recommend this one!

P.S. I'm giving this book away as a choice in my Back the Books giveaway. (You can also win Defiance by CJ Redwine or Nerve by Jeanne Ryan.) If you haven't entered,you can do so by clicking here!


29 comments:

  1. Lost girls sounds really good! I wasn't really interested at first but now I think I'll be giving this book a chance. Great review!

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  2. Wow, that quote gave me book shivers! I've seen this book mentioned, but I didn't know it was a take on the Frankenstein tale. Can't wait to read it now, Jen, excellent review!

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    1. I don't think I've ever read the original Frankenstein, but now I want to!

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  3. I really enjoyed this book too!! I thought the whole thing was very well done. I was so into the story and really felt for Eva and wanted the best for her. Awesome review!

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  4. Fantastic review, you have left me drooling to read this, from the protagonist to the world building it sounds delightful..thank you for sharing this one!

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  5. I'm so glad you loved this one too! You know I have been singing it's praises since I read it! It just goes to show that you can write a YA book that is smart, thought provoking and completely entertaining at the same time! It's definitely one of the best books I've read this year as well:)

    OH! And I'm so glad you referenced the Rudyard Kipling story in your review! I have always called it Riki Tiki Tavi (from the cartoon special that aired when I was kid, did you ever see it?) though I don't think that is actually the name of the story. Anyway, I loved it's inclusion and almost forgot about it until you mentioned it! It tied in so beautifully, I remember getting shivers while I was reading it!

    Brilliant review, Jen! Let's HOPE we get a sequel because I am so wrapped up in Eva's world:)

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    1. That story drove me crazy -- I kept wondering how/if/when it was going to play into the plot...
      No, I never saw the cartoon!

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  6. Fabulous review! Post-colonial cross culture aspects, romance and mongoose folktales? I love it! I really, really cannot wait to read this book.

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  7. This one sounds really, really good! I love dystopia and haven't read one like this yet. I really need to read it, it just sounds so interesting!

    Thanks for the review, I'm glad you really enjoyed it!

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  8. Amazing review, Jen. I love paragraphs 3 and 4 especially! So glad you loved this one, too.

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    1. Thanks so much -- it's so hard to write a review for a book I absolutely love. I'm always afraid I'll leave important stuff out, and I always do!

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  9. I loved the plot of this one! It sounds so intriguing, I couldn't imagine being a clone of someone else and forced to live their life, great review you definitely convinced me to read it!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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  10. Awesome review Jen! A favorite read of 2012?! I've had this one on my TBR for sure, but you've completely sold me on it! :-)

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  11. Um, wow. This sounds fantastic. I was only kind of interested in this book, but now I'm a lot more interested. And I love that quote about pretending. It's so true about everything in life!

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  12. This book sounds really great and I've heard only good things about it! I'm so happy you like it cause I'm planing on reading it soon!
    Great review! :)

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  13. This was fantastic! I loved that Eva had such a vulnerable strength. She was sweet and emotional but strong deep down. Those are always the characters I think we relate to the most. Sean was so sweet and amazing but that Ray was a jerk! I can't believe what he did. But he was dealing with grief which is also a huge part of the book. Losing someone is never easy and dealing with it sometimes makes us do bad things.

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  14. I have heard nothing but great things about this novel. Admittedly, I've never read the Mary Shelley version, but this sounds like such an amazing take on the Frankenstein story, and I can't wait to love this book as much as you! I love that you mention it poses so many thought-provoking questions...I love books like that! Fab review, Jen!

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  15. Ahhh!!! Jen you are KILLING me!!! haha I had an arc of this and gave it away to a friend, thinking that my bestie had a copy I could borrow. Sadly she did not. I am dying to read it now that you said its your favorite read of 2012. Eeek!!! You totally make me want to read it last month! haha Fantastic review as always! =)

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  16. So glad to learn more about this! I wasn't really interested based on the cover but your description is piquing my interest. I have added it to my tbr-list!

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  17. THE LOST GIRL looks and sounds amazing. Such a fresh idea!!

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  18. Ahhh! Great review! I am so happy I bought this one! One of the best of this year? Awesome. This sounds so different and amazing and I can't wait to read it. :)

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  19. I've read a lot of great reviews for Lost Girl this week. I guess I have to investigate and add to toppling heap of books now lol

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  20. I have had this book on my 'beg-borrow-buy' list for the longest time so naturally I was curious to your thoughts about it .. and this is the first I've heard that it was inspired by Frankenstein. O_o
    Your glowing review of Lost Girl makes me want to run out and (finally) buy this book... or at the least, beg for it for Christmas :D

    Thanks for a great review!
    ~Lynne
    (tworeads.blogspot.com)

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