Saturday, January 5, 2013
Book Review: The Lost Girl
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.
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.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Going into it, I had the feeling that this would be the type of book I would really love. And I was right - I completely love it, and it was even better than I had hoped.
I've never read a book quite like this. I was immersed in Eva's story from the very beginning. All the characters - Mina Ma, Erik, Sean, and so many more - are realistic and heartwarming. I completely fell in love with Amarra's family, from her poor parents to her endearing little brother and sweet little sister. And Eva herself - I loved her so much and was rooting for her through her whole journey. It's impossible not to like her. These characters have a way of latching onto you and making you feel what they're feeling.
And the writing. Oh, it's so lovely. There's this certain richness and depth to it that made all the scenery easy to envision. The way everything was described - the world, the characters and their behaviors, the dialogue...it all sucked me into the story. The pacing in this book was perfect. It was never too slow moving or too fast, and I couldn't get enough. I kept turning the pages until I knew what was going to happen to Eva.
I don't even have any complaints about the romance (which is a rarity for me!). It's so perfect and beautiful. I liked Sean right away. I love how he's such an important part of Eva's life and how they have such a strong bond even before they fall in love. I feared that there'd be a love triangle with the addition of Ray, but there's not. The author handled Ray's character very well; he is an interesting part of the story and plays an important role.
This book is such a tearjerker. I cry occasionally when I read a book that's particularly moving, but The Lost Girl had me in tears several times while reading it. If you can believe it, I even had a tear in my eyes from a fable that is told only fifty pages into the story! I cried when Eva is betrayed, when no one stands up for her, when people don't believe she has a right to live. This book is so emotional and heart-wrenching, but in a completely beautiful way.
Everyone should read The Lost Girl. It's one of those stories that will stay with you for a long time, and I'm so glad I read this book. I can believe this is Sangu Mandanna's debut; it's that good. I absolutely can't wait to read more of this author's work in the future.
My rating: 10 out of 10 (5 stars)
~ The Bookworm