Rating: 4/5 stars.
“If you pretend you love a boy, maybe after a while you start to care. If you spend months with the traces of someone else’s love and memories inside you, maybe those traces become a part of you. Or perhaps Amarra has nothing do with this. Perhaps I care because I’m jealous of what she had. That kind of love. That kind of freedom to love.”
As an echo, Eva’s sole purpose is to study someone else’s life and eventually replace her if she dies. Amarra, Eva’s “other”, happens to pass away after an unfortunate car accident. But when Eva leaves what she’s known for sixteen years to take the place of another girl, she finds that what she wants to do and what she was designed to do are two wildly different things.
The Lost Girl is almost a young-adult version of Frankenstein, with more sentimentality and slightly sweeter prose. I could tell from the start that Sangu Mandanna had been inspired by Mary Shelley’s work, as the story of The Lost Girl stems from it: the plot pertains to themes like the right to life, what it means to be human, and more. Equally entertaining and similarly scary (though not to the point of horror, which was more up Shelley’s alley) Mandanna’s debut will please fans of science-fiction, dystopia, and romance.
I easily connected to the main character, Eva. She acts rashly and is refreshingly aware of it, which I do not see often in young-adult books. My only wish was for her romance with Sean to stop being so prominent – I felt like other aspects of her life and of the world she inhabits could have taken its place.
Overall, I appreciate that Mandanna wrote The Lost Girl as a standalone. But I wouldn’t mind a sequel, if it were as well-written as its predecessor.