Published by Balzer + Bray (8.28.2012)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
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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 liked Eva, and I felt bad for her. All her life she’d been trained to be somebody else, never really getting to just be herself. How awful would that be? Imagine not being about to do anything you want to do. You have to like certain things, do certain things, just because your Other does. If your Other gets a bad haircut, or a tattoo, you have to follow suit. You’re a nobody, seen as less than human; just a monster, an echo of another person. With all that, I really had to admire Eva’s strength. Many times in the story I found myself outraged and indignant over the way that she was being treated. I wanted to storm into the pages and kick some ass while taking names because of the unfairness of it all. But instead of giving up or hiding, she stood tall and faced the people that looked at her with disdain and repulsion.
I kind of hated Ray. While I can see why he did what he did, it doesn’t justify it. He was a douchenozzle at best, and many times I wanted to knock his teeth out. I understand that he loved Amarra, and he was grieving, but still. His treatment of Eva when he found out she was an echo was appalling.
The pacing was a bit slow in the first half, but towards the end it really picked up. The premise was enough to keep me fascinated in the slow parts, though. I loved the idea of echoes and Weavers! The echo part reminded me of the movie The Island (where there were clones made only for replacement parts). The world building was very thought out and well developed, making for a convincing setting.
If you’re looking for a book to make you laugh, this is not the one. I didn’t cry (although I feel like I should have), but it was somber, raw, and thought-provoking, addressing death and loss head-on.
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5