The Lost Girl

( 9 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Lost Girl

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Eva is the ultimate insurance policy: she's an echo, created by the "Weavers" to be an exact replica of her original, an Indian girl named Amarra. Eva's entire life has been dedicated to studying Amarra's life; should Amarra die, Eva will replace her, with only Amarra's family the wiser. Shortly after Eva and Amarra turn 16, Eva is ripped from everything and everyone she holds dear to move from England to India, where echoes are illegal, to fulfill her purpose. Mandanna's debut novel is lovely and at times heartbreaking, though there are some hiccups with her premise. Given the danger surrounding the discovery of an echo, Eva's upbringing doesn't seem nearly strict enough, her exposure to British culture and slang only opening the door for potential slipups (it's similarly puzzling why the Weavers would brand echoes with an identifying mark in a fairly visible spot on their bodies). But the novel rises above these and other illogical moments, offering a thoughtful study of both a girl's search for her identity and the human reaction to death. Ages 13–up. Agent: Melissa Sarver, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency. (Sept.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The breathtakingly complex character development is set against a sinister, Frankensteinianunderworld that promises plenty of philosophically fraught conflict and intricate backstory. [A] compelling meditation on the nature of humanity, consciousness, and self-ownership.”
ALA Booklist
“[An] absorbing novel .... The story is moving without being sentimental, and Eva’s attempts to evade her captors provide action that will broaden the book’s appeal to both sexes.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The breathtakingly complex character development is set against a sinister, Frankensteinianunderworld that promises plenty of philosophically fraught conflict and intricate backstory. [A] compelling meditation on the nature of humanity, consciousness, and self-ownership.”
Lauren DeStefano
“THE LOST GIRL was the most honest portrait of grief and loss that I’ve read in a long time. Filled with heartache, love, and things that would stir Mary Shelley’s ghost, this is a story not to be missed.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The breathtakingly complex character development is set against a sinister, Frankensteinianunderworld that promises plenty of philosophically fraught conflict and intricate backstory. [A] compelling meditation on the nature of humanity, consciousness, and self-ownership."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The breathtakingly complex character development is set against a sinister, Frankensteinianunderworld that promises plenty of philosophically fraught conflict and intricate backstory. [A] compelling meditation on the nature of humanity, consciousness, and self-ownership.”
VOYA - Diana Geers
Eva was created for one purpose: to replace Amarra if she happened to die. Eva is an "echo" and Amarra is her "other." Even though echoes are illegal, Weavers secretly create them for families who want to escape the devastation if their child happens to die. Eva is taught exactly what Amarra is taught, is fed the same foods, and studies Amarra's daily journal. That way Eva will be ready if or when Amarra dies. If Eva does replace Amarra, will people really believe that she is Amarra? What will happen to Eva if they do not? The Lost Girl explores the moral issue and question of how far parents will go to keep their children alive. Although the protagonist in this book is likable, readers may struggle with the plausibility of the entire story. Throughout the book there is no explanation of how echos are "woven." The absence of that specific information makes it difficult to believe a Weaver can "weave" a human being with a personality, determination, and fully-functioning body. Other unanswered questions, such as how Eva is able to travel from Canada to India without documentation of her birth, could create more questions for readers. This book contains an intriguing premise, but quality fantasy or science fiction is always grounded in reality. Readers may not choose to stick with such a lengthy book with so many fundamental flaws. Reviewer: Diana Geers
Kirkus Reviews
A compelling novel of a girl created to "replace" another in the event of her death. She has always known that she is an "echo," stitched by the Weavers from bits of a girl called Amarra to step into her place should her original die. Though Amarra lives half a world away, in Bangalore, her echo has grown up in her shadow. She has a clutch of guardians who work for the Loom, keeping her safe and grooming her for the day she might be needed. They also love her and allow her small rebellions, like the name--Eva--she chooses for herself. But she is forbidden to read Frankenstein. Being an echo is dangerous, even where they are legal; many regard them as soulless monsters, and some even hunt them to death. And if her original's family decides they do not want her, she is subject to a Sleep Order: "unstitching." Mandanna sets Eva's story in present-day England and India, a deliberately and effectively jarring choice. She keeps the Loom's technology a mystery, indicating its workings through glimpses and never using the prosaic "clone," and focuses on Eva's experience. Both an interrogation of bioethics and a mesmerizing quest for identity, this debut succeeds through its careful development of the oh-so-human Eva and those around her. A provocative and page-turning thriller/romance that gets at the heart of what it means to be human. (Science fiction. 13 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Eva is an "echo." She was created to take the place of a girl named Amarra, who lives in India with her family. Should Amarra die, Eva will replace her so that her family will not have to suffer her loss. This means that Eva must study the girl, know her likes and dislikes, and experience as much of her existence as she can, right down to getting the same tattoo. But Eva has a life of her own in England, including a guardian who loves her and a boy who may be more than a friend. When she is called to take Amarra's place, she begins a journey of self-discovery and danger. Echoes are illegal in India, and one wrong move could mean the end of not only Eva's life, but also disaster for Amarra's family. She must avoid vigilantes who kill echoes, play her part in her new family, and pretend to love Amarra's boyfriend, Ray. While this book has an intriguing premise, it gets lost in the details, both in terms of the specifics of how echoes are pieced together by the "weavers" and the implausibility that Amarra's friends and the media in India would not be aware of her death. How is it that Ray, who was driving the car when she was killed, wasn't questioned by the police? This question and others show the many plot holes. The frequent climaxes frustrate more than add intensity, leaving the ambiguous ending lackluster.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062082312
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 632,528
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant, wrote her first story about it, and decided this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became The Lost Girl, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together. Sangu lives in England with her husband and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Wow! Mandanna¿s debut novel has to be the best book I¿ve read th

    Wow! Mandanna’s debut novel has to be the best book I’ve read this year. No, I take that back. It has to be the best book I’ve read in a really long time. I love it. In fact, I loved it a lot more than I thought I would.

    The concept of echoes was different. It was a much more complex and fascinating process than the typical cloning. And while Mandanna doesn’t go as in-depth into the process of creating echoes as I would have liked, she does tell you enough. It’s enough to be intrigued and curious, but also somewhat hesitant. There’s a fear of the unknown that makes it all the better.

    The book was just fantastic. The writing was beautifully done. Mandanna’s writing is powerful and full of emotion. The characters were real. I understood every character and how their behavior fit them. While I might not have agreed with a character, I understood them (even the Weavers). I feel like that’s an important part of characters. The plot was fantastic. I really don’t think there’s enough good things I could possibly say.

    I know many people would like a sequel to The Lost Girl, but I personally hope this stays a stand-alone book. I think, while not perfect, the ending was nicely done. I like it being as open to interpretation as it is. Yes, it would have been nice to have a definite answer as to what happens, but sometimes it’s good to leave it to the imagination.

    In case it isn’t obvious, I recommend The Lost Girl to anyone that hasn’t already read it . And I look forward to Sangu Mandanna’s next book.

    Check out my other reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2013

    Loved this book. I have this thing for the underdogs and thankf

    Loved this book. I have this thing for the underdogs and thankfully they pulled through!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Lost Girl was in a word, underwhelming. Not to say that it w

    The Lost Girl was in a word, underwhelming. Not to say that it was bad, it was enjoyable enough, and well written. It just didn't blow me away as much as I expected it to.

    The concept of the echo's was definitely intriguing. The book provides a very vivid description of just how the Weavers create the echoes, and it is all together fascinating, disturbing, and to be honest, stomach turning. I had a hard time eating after reading that particular page. But I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to things like that, so others might not find it gross at all. And as I said before, the writing was very good, beautiful even, and I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the novel. There were parts that definitely felt as if they were being rushed, but overall it worked well.

    My primary issue with the book was that I just couldn't care about the characters or what happened to them. I enjoyed Eva. She's funny, smart-mouthed, and a bit of a bad ass, which is pretty much my favorite combination of traits. I enjoyed watching her develop her own identity separate from Amarra. Her interactions with Amarra's siblings were particularly enjoyable for me. Of course I also found Eva very frustrating at times. A lot of the decisions she makes seem very nonsensical to me, but I suppose there wouldn't have been a story to tell if she'd do things logically. Another favorite was Eva's Weaver, Matthew. He was intriguing, and I would read any sequels just for more of him.

    What I didn't enjoy about the book was basically every other character. The love interest, Sean, fell flat for me. I couldn't get invested in their relationship, which made it hard to get invested in their fight to be together. The other supporting characters produced emotions ranging anywhere from sheer rage to plain old frustration.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Lovedit!

    One of those books that stick with you.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    So I waited months to read this book but to me it felt more like

    So I waited months to read this book but to me it felt more like an eternity. So when I finally got to read it in October I could hardly open the book fast enough to begin reading it. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the book but what I got was a good read that I finished in a few hours.

    The book focuses around Eva who is an Echo or a clone if you will that was made to replace Amarra if anything should happen to Amarra. Well of course something does and the life that Amara has been training for since the day she was "weaved" has come and she must insert herself into a dead girls shoes but this is not without danger since Amarra lives in India where Echos are outlawed.

    So, Eva is fighting what she is supposed to do with what she wants for herself which is to go home to the boy she loves Sean. However, she comes to care for Amarra's family and tries to keep up appearances but one day her secret gets out and sets off a chain of events where she almost gets murdered twice, kidnapped and leads her running away back to the U.K.

    For a debut novel I would say that Sangu Mandana's The Lost Girl was a success. There was a lot going on in the novel but somehow she managed to make all the different components work well. I liked the whole "weave" concept that lead to Eva's creation I thought it was pretty unique because unlike a lot of other novels like this she gave Eva a lot of spirit which I loved. I hate when authors write the main characters with little to no personality and Eva had a lot of personality. I really liked her character and I thought that she was the most developed and realistic character.

    The plot of the novel was good too. The fact that if she faced being "unraveled" if the "Weavers" deemed her to dangerous to keep on the street added a lot of intrigue to the story but I think that the main premise of the novel was that sometimes you have to fight the world to be the person you wish to be and I think that was a great moral to work into her story.

    The novel is a mixture of romance, sci-fi, dystopian, action and a wee bit of romance thrown into the mix. I really enjoyed the writing and the story but at times I wish things have been a little more structured, and flowed a little better. I also think the whole Weaver thing could have been explained in a lot more detail throughout the book. It was 432 pages and very little of it spoke about the weavers and I wish I had known more about them. Also all the other characters with the exception of Eva were pretty one dimensional. I wish there had been a little more life to them and to the book itself. It was like I said a good read but it was such a somber read and I wish it had been a little lighter in parts and I think that would have benefited the whole book.

    Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read despite my issues with the other characters and the plot holes. Plus, it was a really quick read even at a length of 432 pages I read it in something like 4 hours one night and as a debut novel it could have been better but it could have been way, way worse.

    I would recommend this book to fans of YA novels with a dystopian twist or people who just like YA novels that are a little different with a unique heroine but if you're unfamiliar with these types of novels I suggest borrowing it from the library first just to make sure it's the book for you. I do think though that Sangu Mandanna is an author to watch because I can't wait to read her next novel.

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    What I Liked: 1) Eva. Eva was a great main character, because sh

    What I Liked: 1) Eva. Eva was a great main character, because she was easy to understand, even while she was two people. Her struggles with figuring out who she is and who she wants to be is completely relatable, and anyone can easily empathize with her struggles. I love personable characters like this. 2) Plot. What an interesting idea. There are a few stories out there about two souls, one person, but this was something new. In this story they create a person, what they assume is just a body that a soul can occupy should their original body die. Of course that's not really how it works, but it's so intriguing to see Eva try to become Amarra. 3) The emotion. There is so much emotion coursing through this book. Amarra's parents and family are dealing, in their own way, with their daughter's death and the presence of this echo, who in their mind should somehow be Amarra, but yet knowing in their hearts that she isn't. 4) How easy it is to love so many of the characters. I already talked about Eva, but something that just plays into the emotions of the reader is how easy it is to love these characters. They say "there are two sides to every story" and that is blatantly obvious. There are those who love Eva as Eva, and those who love Eva as Amarra, and those who love Amarra and Eva as separate people. So it's almost hard to "choose a side" when it comes to the epic battle of love or life.

    What I Didn't Like: There are some questions that I feel remain unanswered once the story is over. Sometimes this is normal, but there were a few biggies that stood out to me. But I don't want to bring them up, because I want those of you who are going to read it for yourself to be able to make your own assumptions. Just be prepared to still have questions. Also, as a side note: This book is sooooo long, it could have easily been two books. So much happens that you have to take a break at some point while reading, or else your brain might just explode. And no one wants that.

    Overall Thoughts: A completely unique story, The Lost Girl definitely has a place in the world of YA literature. Somewhere between dystopian, science fiction and fantasy, this story has a place all it's own. Heart-wrenching emotions will grip you from the beginning and keep you interested throughout the book. It's easy to get lost in Amarra's story, and your own imagination will be stretched as you try to make sense of some of the open-ended questions remaining at the close of the book.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    Creative and Beautifully Written. My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

    Creative and Beautifully Written.

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

    Disclaimers: I received this book for review as part of the DAC tours. Thanks Tara and Lisa for this wonderful opportunity.

    My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Wow! This book had such an original idea and was unlike anything I have ever read before. That automatically set this up to be a book I loved. Any book that presents a new idea in such a compelling idea automatically makes it on the top of my list.

    I loved the characters Eva, Sean, Ray, and Mina Ma. Basically, every character left their mark. Their were some characters I wish had been more developed, but they were all so delightful to read about and left me thoroughly entertained.

    Then there was the writing style. I adored this writing style. I used to be so prejudiced against novels written in first person and then I read so many incredible novels written in this perspective that I had to change my mind. Mandanna's writing style left me breathless. It was beautiful and allowed me to delve into Eva's mind.

    Eva's life isn't her own. She can't do anything her other doesn't do and she has to do everything that her other wants to. But what happens when love enters the picture? Can you really share love? And then there was the question of whether or not Eva even has a soul and is worth saving.

    This book was touching, poignant, entertaining, fast paced, and incredibly written. Basically this book was everything that a good book should be.

    In Summary: Mandanna's debut novel was absolutely brilliant. She created an original story that is bound to stick with all those who read it. Beautiful prose mixed with intriguing characters. Definitely one I recommend.

    The Wrap-up: This was a book that I couldn't put down. I just had to keep turning the pages until the very end and now I can't wait to see what happens next. This book and this author have definitely caught my attention and I can't wait to see what Mandanna comes up with next.

    Love,

    Danica Page

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    Posted January 12, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

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