Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Random House Children's Publisher
UK Release date: 3rd January 2013
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
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 I loved about The Lost Girl was how the story delved into Eva’s situation as a replica or 'other' – trying to balance the two conflicting sides to her life, each pulling her in a different direction. Eva was torn between doing what she was created as an echo to do, and discovery and expressing who she was as an individual. Receiving information from Amarra about her life and having to learn it as if it was her own life must have been difficult. Especially knowing you can never be yourself. And despite what some people thought, Eva did have a soul, a personality and her own thoughts and feelings. She was interesting and best of all didn't ever want to give up fighting. The idea that she couldn't be with the person she liked was really sad. On the flip side, it was interesting to hear snippets of how Amarra felt, having to share how every thought and every action with some stranger who might possibly usurp your life.
The concept of a replica to replace you when you die was also very thought provoking. How would I feel knowing there was a replica of me ready to jump into my shoes when I died? And is it right to create one in the first place? Surely echos only existed because families couldn't bear the thought of living without some they love, which is a nice thought but it's also selfish to some degree and doesn't allow the family to grieve properly when someone passes away. But once an echo has been created, it seems wrong to treat them as if they themselves are evil or soulless.
Aside from the concept behind the story, I also loved the writing which was natural and flowing. Although I expected Eva to become Amarra really quickly on, you actually get to see quite a bit of Eva as herself, struggling to cope with what is expected of her. I think this was a good thing though, as you feel the build up before she is thrust into her new life in India and can understand her fears about it. The plot focused a lot on Eva's emotional perceptions and the changes she undergoes, but there were also lots of suspenseful moments, when I was really worried that she might be found out, and plenty of action towards the end.
Although Eva grew up in England, Amarra lived in India. So for Eva, becoming Amarra was also a huge change in situation. I liked the contrast between the two places and how to some extent Eva already knew little bits of her new life. There were a few bugs for me, like Eva growing up in a country that would give her a different tan and accent to the real girl, but that's just me being ultra picky.
A stunning debut, The Lost Girl combines a brilliant concept with flowing writing to create a thought provoking dystopian.