If you watched my vlog yesterday, you’d have heard me talking a little about The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna and how interesting the story sounds. Well here we have Sangu telling us a little more about Echos and how to spot them. I’m sure you’ll agree it sounds like a good read!

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna – YA Dystopian

Publication date: 3rd January 2013

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 …


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‘10 Ways to Spot My Echo’

Picture this. You bump into me on the street. We say hi, we laugh, we chat and all seems just as it should be. Except I’m not me. The girl you’re talking to is an echo. Sangu 2.0, so to speak.

In The Lost Girl, three Weavers are trying to cheat death. They create copies of existing people so that, when those people die, their loved ones have a replacement. An echo is supposed to be a spare body. A vessel that waits for the original’s soul to carry over when their original body dies. Except the book revolves around the uncomfortable premise that the Weavers haven’t yet achieved this. The current generation of echoes are almost exact physical copies (see the section on scars in the book for exceptions), but have their own minds. They’re not their originals.

So how do you spot them? I think we all have traits, characteristics and preferences that only the people who know us well are aware of (and sometimes even they aren’t). Traits that are difficult to communicate to someone who can only study us from far away. Sometimes they’re traits we may not even notice about ourselves until we stop to think about it.

Here are ten ways to know when it’s me, and when it’s not.

  • I have some freakish, obsessive-compulsive habits. Like having everything just so on my desk. Heaven help you if you move my lucky troll so much as one millimetre from its position between the pencil pot and my little marble elephant. Or like the fact that I have to shower before bed, even if for some reason I’ve already had a shower three hours earlier. Or like the fact that I need the words on the screen to look right when I’m writing. Right now, this very minute, I’m gritting my teeth and pushing through because I’m using Times New Roman and, sweet Heathcliff, it hurts my eyes.
  • My favourite ice-cream in the whole world is Baskin Robbins’s mint chocolate chip. It would not be possible to give me too much of it. And always mint chocolate chip. There’ll be no ‘trying out rum ‘n’ raisin’ or any shenanigans like that.
  • I like smelling like green apples. And also like eating green apples. The red ones, not so much. I don’t know why.
  • My favourite colours (to wear) are black, white, camel and dark green. So if you see me out and about in a gloriously bright red tee, you will know that a) I’m deluded for thinking that colour looks good on me, because it most definitely does not, and b) I’m not actually me.
  • I like Jane Austen adaptations but not her actual books! This is a confession and a half because I always tend to alienate every Austen fan when I make it. I just can’t get into her writing. I love pretty much every TV or film adaptation of her books that I’ve ever watched, but her books… I try every few months and hope for the best, but I can’t do it. The closest I ever got was getting through about half of Pride and Prejudice on my Kindle on a ten-hour flight while uncomfortable and pregnant. When my husband woke up and saw what I’d somehow resorted to trying to brave Austen, his exact words were “bloody hell, you must have been desperate! Did you finish all the other books already?” (I had.)
  • My very first story was exactly one page of scrawly four-year-old’s handwriting. It involved a terrifying true-life adventure wherein an ‘elefit’ chased us in the forest and I got ‘sked’. So if you ever catch me telling you about how my first story was a very long epic fantasy about a prophecy foretelling the rise of five warriors who would save the world from the evil overlord who just so happened to be one of the five warriors’ father, you’ll know I’ve gone to meet my maker and my copy has taken my place. (I’m frantically tapping on my (wooden) desk right now for fear that all this talk will make it happen!)
  • Sometimes I just randomly say words or nonsense phrases without any context or meaning whatsoever. Examples include Flyaway Nancyglibby and mumkin bunny.
  • I also sometimes break into song for no reason. Right now the current favourite is the song from The Snowman. Usually just I’m walking in the air… Because it’s the only line I know. It therefore stands to reason that if you’ve spent several hours with me and I’ve neither spouted something intelligible or sung something at you, you’ve been hoodwinked and I ain’t me.
  • I love Aqua. There is no beating a perky Norwegian songstress and three blokes. And I hope this highly embarrassing confession proves my commitment to outing my echo. I’m not giving her a chance, the poor thing. It’s cruel.
  • If I approach you in a bold, confident manner, then enthral you with my wit, charm and highly intelligent views on current events… well, let’s just say there’s an excellent chance it’s not me.

And there’s your cheat sheet! Now I just have to hope my echo doesn’t read this…

What are your odd, unique quirks?