The Lost Girl

The Lost Girl

by Sangu Mandanna

SYNOPSIS:

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 …

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If only tears could talk, they would tell you how much I loved this story..
They would tell you that pages can radiate emotions, that words can create feelings, that beauty can hurt.
If tears could talk.. they would tell you how they dropped on this book drowning smiles in emotions, drowning sadness and turning it into in happiness, making my heart melt slowly and leaving me with a sweet taste of hope.

You’re an angel among mortals. Echos are asked to sacrifice everything to make another family, other people, happy. To give them hope. You are hope.

Sometimes I read sad books that make me happy… How ironic, huh?
But it’s true.. I love reading stories about humans, about the human nature in fact, about their essence, about their deep, raw feelings. Figuratively, I love the sound of my heart breaking with every word, with every new nuance discovered.. There’s a beauty that can’t be put into words, it hurts but it also makes me feel complete, because books like this one are everything I want and then a whole lot more.

lost-model-bellakotakI am at a loss for words, you know, and this only happens when I truly love a story. When it touches my heart, when it turns my life upside down, when it hurts to turn the last page and let go of a world so cruel but so beautiful, of these characters so perfect in their flaws.
I loved every bit of it and I can’t get tired of telling you how amazingly beautiful this book really was for me.

It’s like a part of me on paper, as someone said: if I were to write a book, this would be it. If I were to be a character, I would be named after a stubborn elephant in a zoo, I would feel trapped in a crazy world but I would grow wings and make myself fly. I would love with all my heart and I would always hope to find my way back home. I would fight, I would survive, I would believe in myself even when no one else will. I would play nice but I would never forget who I am, I would never stop trying to find my way to freedom.

“But maybe that’s what the dead do. They stay. They linger. Benign and sweet and painful. They don’t need us. They echo all by themselves.”

lost-girlThe story:
I’ve always asked myself: what are we without our choices, without the will to live our own lives by our rules and desires, without the will to be ourselves?
When you look in a mirror, what do you see?
What are you without that part that can’t be seen: the inner you, the real you.. Can you be someone else, can you leave your own self behind and be that mirror?
Can you bury your feelings, fake your thoughts, be a puppet in a world that doesn’t want you but uses you for what you represent, for the image you mirror?
…And here goes question after question and the truth is that this is just a tiny piece of what this story might be about.

The Love:
I loved the relationship between Eva and Shaun – their friendship was strong, their love was so sweet and innocent. They matched like no others, perfect in every way.
I loved how he saw her as a real human, I loved that he believed in her without any doubt, that he was there for her when she needed him the most, that he loved her and he never thought that she was just a reflection in a mirror, but a girl that deserves to be loved, to be cherished, to be given a second chance. Their romance was sweet, their connection strong, their chemistry palpable.. you could feel it in their little conversations, in their little fights, in their desires, their hopes for the other’s safety and freedom. They melted my heart like no other couple, and if there is another book to follow (like a second book in a series) I hope to see more of them, together.

“You,” he says, before the door closes all the way. “I often dream of you.”

The Family:
I loved the connection between Eva and the ‘familiars’.
How the supposed brother saw her as herself not a copy and he wanted to protect her, and how the little sister Amarra left behind was so sweet and innocent. How the mother wanted to see her daughter still in Eva and how the father never got over his grief and couldn’t make himself believe in a fantasy.
Also, I liked the guardians that represented Eva’s real family – or the only one she ever had. How they loved her and wanted to keep her safe in their way. How they treated her like a person and wanted her to acknowledge that as well.

The Friendship:
I could understand Amarra’s friends, how they wanted her back, how they felt betrayed, how they all loved her, but I was happy to see Eva make new friends, create her own path. She tried a lot to be the best version of Amarra, but at the end she felt the need to be herself again, to take a break from that all, to just.. be.

“She was right. I am the thief. I’ve taken everything that belongs to her. She’s had to give it all up. What must that be like, to know that every single thing you wear, every last thing you know, is being copied, mimicked, duplicated halfway across the world

I feel the need to talk a bit about Ray too (the boy Eva never did study what was like to kiss, as the synopsis says). I didn’t understand how he got away with the accident, but I did care about him. I felt his pain, his hope, his struggle when things didn’t add up. It saddened me to see how much he wished for Eva to really be Amarra.
…But there were times when I wanted to punch him right in the face too.

The Pain and grief:
Here goes the family next to Ray.
They were all so different and they saw her in such a different light.
I felt their love for Amarra, I saw them caring more and more for Eva, I felt their inner struggle, the fight between what is right and what is wrong, between their desire and their reasoning.. it was really heartbreaking.

Tiny, tiny little bug:
The IT girl in me kept screaming: a few hundreds years later (I can only assume) and they still use CDs (aka. the disks)? Come on, we barely use them anymore, if they can “stitch” life they must do better than that o_O

CONCLUSION:
What an awesome, awesome read!
It cut my heart right open and I loved it from the first page to the last one, and its echo still lingers here..

Happy midnight reading!

Music of choice:

Not sure why, but this old video reminds me a bit of the book 🙂 It might not make sense to you, but like this book, it’s all about the feeling.

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LEAVE A COMMENT

  • Celie

    You definitely know how to make people want to read a book ;))

    • Ari

      Oh, thanks, Celie ^_^ I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much!

  • “Sometimes I read sad books that make me happy…”  YESSSSS!!  I understand this completely!  This is a beautiful review of a book that I admittedly had not paid that much attention to.  Well, you have definitely convinced me, and I’m adding it to my list immediately.  Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts, Ari <3

    • Ari

      I didn’t pay much attention to it either, but some friends liked it (a lot!) and so I decided to try it out. Turns out it was perfect for me, hopefully you will like it too 🙂

  • Paula

    I just finished this book the day before and I must tell you that everything you said I felt it too. I love, love, loooved this book! Thanks for the rec!
    – Paula –

    • Ari

      Oh, I am so glad that you liked it too! I am usually overly enthusiastic when it comes to the books I loved and I feel bad when people read my reviews, get their expectations pretty high and then don’t enjoy the book as much. *sigh*

      It’s not like I can do something about it, still it makes me happy to see other people loving the same books 😀

  • Samantha Coughlan

    I found you’re review AFTER I read the book and I honestly couldn’t express my love for it better than you did!
    Reading the review just filled me with that amazing feeling I had whilst I read Eva’s story (I am also quite enthusiastic when I positively adore a book). I have somewhat of an intense feeling that I need to remember this story, and yet again I am teetering on a ledge between “I need to search for books that will be just as amazing” and “Woe is me, I will never find a book that I love so much ever again!”

    – Sammy

    • Ari

      Thank you, Sammy! This was such a lovely and emotional story.
      And I know the feeling. It happens to read a book and not want to ready anything else for a while ;))