Title: What’s Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
Genre: Science fiction, YA
Series? Yes, #1 in the Hybrid Chronicles
Publisher: Harper Collins (2012)
Synopsis from cover: I should not exist. But I do.
Like everyone else, Eva and Addie were born sharing a body – two souls woven together. But as they grew, the whispers began. Why aren’t they settling? What if they end up as a hybrid? Finally, Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life, trapped in a body she can no longer control – until two other hybrids learn her secret and offer her a way to move again. When the teens are caught, they are shipped off to a remote facility determined to stamp out the recessive souls… permanently. Eva and Addie must escape before they lose each other forever.
I remember hearing about this book ages ago, when I was in school and didn’t have the time or money to really invest in books. It fell off my radar, but when I started blogging I heard the buzz about it’s sequel, Once We Were, and decided it was high time to start on this series. And, despite some negative reviews I read before starting it, I was highly impressed with this book – it’s definitely a new favorite of mine, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Once We Were! Possible Spoilers Ahead.
This was one of the two tiny parts that bugged me (just a little bit) when I was reading. With the concept of hybrids and two souls sharing one body, it was really important that Zhang clearly differentiate between the two souls, so that I knew when exactly they had switched. I didn’t get that all the time, and even though I knew who was in control because Zhang told me, I would have liked to be able to tell for myself, whether or not I was told who was speaking.
Addie/Eva: These two, by the end of the book, were pretty distinct in their personalities, so not too many complaints here. I think the best part about their interaction was the brutal honesty they shared between their two heads. Addie was scared to let go of the control and security she finally had, while Eva only wanted to be able to laugh, cry, and walk again. And despite their difference of opinion on whether or not they should bring Eva out, their relationship was really strong, and I felt the love between them as sisters.
Devon/Ryan: At first it was really hard to tell between the two, but in the second half I got to know them a lot better. Devon’s definitely more quiet, and very reserved. Ryan has that bad-boy edge – a bit roguish, with his lopsided smile, and more extroverted than his other soul. To be honest, I loved it when Ryan was in control of their body. He was a far more engaging character than Devon, and I loved the chemistry between him and Eva.
Hally/Lissa: This one was the hardest to distinguish between. I still don’t know what makes Lissa different than Hally, other than the fact that Hally talks a lot more. Hally was an interesting character, though, if a bit foolish. She genuinely wanted to help Eva, even though it landed them in the institution. She had a good heart, and in that was endearing.
Concept: Hello, flawless! This is the reason science fiction and fantasy is my absolute favorite genre – there’s so much possibility. What’s Left of Me is no different. It’s incredibly original, at least from what I’ve read, and very well executed. Plus, Zhang didn’t just get into the idea of two souls in one body, she really delves into all the implications that brings along. If there are two separate people sharing one body, who gets control? And if they share it, how do they give each other some privacy? And if one wants to emerge after years of silence, how does the other react? So many questions, and I thought Zhang handled them very well.
Plot: It kind of reminded me of The Program by Suzanne Young in the fact that the kids don’t escape the institution. They’re actually captured and taken into permanent custody – a nice change from the always-successful protagonists of other books. It gave me a great insight into what was actually happening, and I learned a lot more about the science behind the hybrids.
Even though Zhang used the < > bars to show when Addie and Eva were communicating with their thoughts, and it was a bit odd to look at at first, I thought it worked perfectly. Otherwise, Zhang was succinct, but not too brief. It was that fine balance between too descriptive and not enough.
There was just one tiny little part that bugged me though: I would have liked a bit more background information about the world that Addie and Eva live in. It was kind of described, but not enough. At least, not for me. Maybe I’m just dense. My main question: is this a parallel world where twin souls always existed, or is this in the now-Earth and just in the future where twin souls have been discovered? I think it’s the former, but I’m not entirely sure. I absolutely loved this book, and sped through it as quickly as I could. Despite my few nitpicks, I highly recommend it, and I can’t wait for the sequel. It would be a 5+ star rating, but with the two problems I listed, I just can’t give it that rating. Nevertheless, it’s a new favorite for sure!
My Final Rating:
Find the book at: