The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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.
My thoughts: The story reminds me of a movie I watched years ago starring Scarlett Johanson and Ewan McGregor where, in a futuristic world and on a island, clones were being kept for harvesting parts when the "real" person was injured. But in this story, the clones are not cloned which I found to be an interesting concept. Some of the subject's cells are used but the beings are "woven" together. There is also talk that the parts are also from robbed graves. There are three "weavers" and there seems to be some differences of opinions within them. They work at "The Loom" and have given each Echo guardians who watch over their charges and report bad behavior. They are playing God.
Echos are not allowed to have their own identities. They are made expressly to replace the person they look like if s/he were to die. They eat only what their person eats. They study and and are quizzed on the person's lives to the smallest detail. If their person dies, the echo is dispatched to take their place, all with the same body markings and knowledge.
The protagonist is an Echo who is to replace an Indian girl named Amara. Her guardians are good and discreet. The echo discovers her own identity, however and gives herself a name; Eva. The story continues at a good pace and revelations are given although not all questions are answered. One can definitely make assumptions regarding Eva's origination and it is intriguing, indeed. The more interesting question is why.
My interest was held for the entire book. The ending was a little cheesy but with plenty of hanging questions that need to be followed up in a sequel. Solid storyline. Solid writing. Excellent character development of Eva. The rest of the characters need additional information which I assume will come.
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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.