cover image The Lost Girl

The Lost Girl

Sangu Mandanna. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-208231-2

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%E2%80%93up. Agent: Melissa Sarver, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency. (Sept.)