What's Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles Series #1)by Kat Zhang
I should not exist. But I do.
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the
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I should not exist. But I do.
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. 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. Only Addie knows she's still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable—hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
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What's Left of Me
By Kat Zhang
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2012 Kat Zhang
All rights reserved.
The end-of-school bell blasted everyone from their seats. People loosened their ties, slapped shut books, shoved folders and pencils into backpacks. A buzz of conversation nearly drowned out the teacher as she yelled reminders about tomorrow's field trip. Addie was almost out the door when I said <Wait, we've got to ask Ms. Stimp about our make-up test, remember?>
<I'll do it tomorrow> Addie said, pushing her way through the hall. Our history teacher always gave us looks like she knew the secret in our head, pinching her lips and frowning at us when she thought we weren't watching. Maybe I was just being paranoid. But maybe not. Still, doing poorly in her class would only bring more trouble.
<What if she doesn't let us?>
The school rang with noise - lockers slamming, people laughing - but I heard Addie's voice perfectly in the quiet space linking our minds. There, it was peaceful for now, though I could feel the start of Addie's irritation like a dark splash in the corner. <She will, Eva. She always does. Don't be a nag.>
<I'm not. I just—>
"Addie!" someone shouted, and Addie half-turned.
"Addie - wait up!"
We'd been so lost in our argument we hadn't even noticed the girl chasing after us. It was Hally Mullan, one hand pushing up her glasses, the other trying to wrap a hair tie around her dark curls. She shoved past a tight-knit group of students before making it to our side with an exaggerated sigh of relief. Addie groaned, but silently, so that only I could hear.
"You're a really fast walker," Hally said and smiled as if she and Addie were friends.
Addie shrugged. "I didn't know you were following me." Hally's smile didn't dim. But then, she was the kind of person who laughed in the face of a hurricane. In another body, another life, she wouldn't have been stuck chasing after someone like us in the hallway. She was too pretty for that, with those long eyelashes and olive skin, and too quick to laugh. But there was a difference written into her face, into the set of her cheekbones and the slant of her nose. This only added to the strangeness about her, an aura that broadcasted Not Quite Right. Addie had always stayed away. We had enough problems pretending to be normal.
There was no easy way to avoid Hally now, though. She fell into step beside us, her book bag slung over one shoulder. "So, excited about the field trip?"
"Not really," Addie said.
"Me neither," Hally said cheerfully. "Are you busy today?"
"Kind of," Addie said. She managed to keep our voice bland despite Hally's dogged high spirits, but our fingers tugged at the bottom of our blouse. It had fit at the beginning of the year, when we'd bought all new uniforms for high school, but we'd grown taller since then. Our parents hadn't noticed, not with - well, not with everything that was happening with Lyle - and we hadn't said anything.
"Want to come over?" Hally said.
Addie's smile was strained. As far as we knew, Hally had never asked anyone over. Most likely, no one would go.
<Can't she take a hint?> Aloud, Addie said, "Can't. I've got to babysit."
"For the Woodards?" Hally asked. "Rob and Lucy?"
"Robby and Will and Lucy," Addie said. "But yeah, the Woodards."
Hally's dimples deepened. "I love those kids. They use the pool in my neighborhood all the time. Can I come?"
Addie hesitated. "I don't know if their parents would like that."
"Are they still there when you arrive?" Hally said, and when Addie nodded, added, "We can ask, then, right?"
<Doesn't she realize how rude she's being?> Addie said, and I knew I ought to agree. But Hally kept smiling and smiling, even when I knew the expression on our face was get- ting less and less friendly.
<Maybe we don't realize how lonely she is> I said instead.
Addie had her friends, and I, at very least, had Addie. Hally seemed to have no one at all.
"I don't expect to get paid or anything, of course," Hally was saying now. "I'll just come keep you company, you know?"
<Addie> I said. <Let her. At least let her come ask.>
"Well ..." Addie said.
"Great!" Hally grabbed our hand and didn't seem to notice Addie flinch in surprise. "I have so much to talk to you about."
The TV was blaring when Addie opened the Woodards' front door, Hally following close behind. Mr. Woodard grabbed his briefcase and keys when he saw us. "Kids are in the living room, Addie." He hurried out the door, saying over his shoulder as he went, "Call if you need anything."
"This is Hally Mul—" Addie tried to say, but he was already gone, leaving us alone with Hally in the foyer.
"He didn't even notice me," Hally said.
Addie rolled her eyes. "I guess I'm not surprised. He's always like that."
We'd been babysitting Will, Robby, and Lucy for a while now - even before Mom had reduced her hours at work to care for Lyle - but Mr. Woodard still had moments when he forgot Addie's name. Our parents weren't the only ones in town with too much work and too little time.
The living room TV was tuned to a cartoon featuring a pink rabbit and two rather enormous mice. Lyle used to watch the same thing when he was younger, but at ten, he claimed to have outgrown it.
Apparently seven-year-olds were still allowed to watch cartoons, though, because Lucy lay on the carpet, her legs waving back and forth. Her little brother sat beside her, equally engrossed.
"He's Will right now," Lucy said without turning around. The cartoon ended, replaced by a public service announcement, and Addie looked away. We'd seen enough PSAs.
At the old hospital we'd gone to, they'd played them on a loop - endless rounds of good-looking men and women with friendly voices and nice smiles reminding us to always be on the lookout for hybrids hiding somewhere, pretending to be normal. People who'd escaped hospitalization. People like Addie and me.
Just call the number on the screen, they always said, displaying perfect white teeth. Just one call, for the safety of your children, your family, your country.
They never said exactly what would happen after that call, but I guess they didn't need to. Everyone already knew. Hybrids were too unstable to just leave alone, so calls usually led to investigations, which sometimes led to raids. We'd only ever seen one on the news or in the videos they showed us in Government class, but it was more than enough.
Will jumped up and headed for us, casting a confused and rather suspicious glance at Hally. She smiled at him.
"Hi, Will." She dropped into a squat despite her skirt. We'd gone straight to the Woodards' from school, not even stopping to change out of our uniforms. "I'm Hally. Do you remember me?"
Lucy finally looked away from the television screen. She frowned. "I remember you. My mom says—" Will jerked on the bottom of our skirt and cut Lucy off before she could finish. "We're hungry."
"They're not really," Lucy said. "I just gave them a cookie. They want another one." She climbed to her feet, revealing the box of cookies she'd been hiding from view. "Are you going to play with us?" she asked Hally.
Hally smiled at her. "I'm here to help babysit."
"Who? Will and Robby?" Lucy said. "They don't need two people." She stared at us, daring someone to say that she, at seven, still needed a babysitter.
"Hally's here to keep me company," Addie said quickly. She picked Will up, and he wrapped his arms around our neck, setting his tiny chin on our shoulder. His baby-fine hair tickled our cheek.
Hally grinned and wiggled her fingers at him. "How old are you now, Will?"
Will hid his face.
"Three and a half," Addie said. "They should be settling in a year or so." She readjusted Will in our arms and forced a smile onto our face. "Isn't that right, Will? Are you going to settle soon?"
"He's Robby now," Lucy said. She'd grabbed her box of cookies again and munched on one as she spoke.
Everyone looked at the little boy. He reached toward his sister, oblivious to our scrutiny.
<She's right> I said. <He just changed.> I'd always been better at differentiating between Robby and Will, even if Addie denied it. Maybe it was because I didn't have to focus on moving our body or speaking to other people. I could simply watch and listen and notice all the tiny little ticks that marked one soul from the other.
"Robby?" Addie said.
The toddler wriggled again, and Addie set him down. He ran over to his sister. Lucy dangled what remained of her cookie in front of his face.
"No!" he said. "We don't want that one. We want a new one."
Lucy stuck her tongue out at him. "Will would've taken it."
"Would not!" he cried.
"Would too. Right, Will?"
Robby's face screwed up. "No."
"I didn't ask you," Lucy said.
<Better hurry> I said. <Before Robby pitches a fit.> To my surprise, Hally got there before we did, plucking a cookie from the box and dropping it into Robby's outstretched hands.
"There." She crouched down again, wrapping her arms around her knees. "Is that better?"
Robby blinked. His eyes shifted between Hally and his new prize. Then he grinned shyly and bit into the cookie, crumbs cascading down his shirt.
"Say thank you," Lucy told him.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"No problem," Hally said. She smiled. "Do you like chocolate chip? I do. They're my favorite."
A small nod. Even Robby was a little subdued around strangers. He took another bite of his cookie.
"And what about Will?" Hally said. "What kind of cookies does he like?"
Robby gave a sort of half shrug, then said softly, "Same kind as me."
Hally's voice was even quieter when she spoke again.
"Would you miss him, Robby? If Will went away?"
"How about we go into the kitchen?" Addie jerked the box of cookies from Lucy's hand, inciting a cry of outrage. "Come on, Lucy - don't let Robby eat that in the living room. Your mom will kill me if you get crumbs on the rug."
Addie grabbed Robby's hand, pulling him away from Hally. But she didn't do it fast enough. Robby had time to turn. He had time to look at Hally, still crouching there on the ground, and whisper, "Yes."
Excerpted from What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang. Copyright © 2012 by Kat Zhang. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Meet the Author
Kat Zhang is an avid traveler, and after a childhood spent living in one book after another, she now builds stories for other people to visit, including the Hybrid Chronicles.
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(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins publishers, and Edelweiss.) 15-year-old Addie lives in a world where every baby is born with two souls; two different consciousness’ living in the same body and mind. Between the ages of 5 and 10, every child loses their second soul, in a process known as ‘settling’. The dominant soul fully takes control of the body, and the recessive soul simply fades away. Addie is unusual in that she didn’t settle until she was 12. A fact that nearly cost her her life, but what nobody knows is that while Addie has full control of her body, her sister Eva still lives on within her mind. Addie/Eva are what is known as a hybrid, and in the USA this is basically illegal, if they are caught they will be experimented on or killed, so Addie says nothing, and Eva remains trapped in her own body. When a girl at school Hally reveals herself to Addie as a hybrid too and tries to get Addie to admit that Eva never disappeared, Addie wonders if it is a trick, but Eva is desperate to find out if she could get her control back and no longer have to live imprisoned in her body. Unfortunately though, Hally manages to get herself sent to an institution for hybrids, and tells the people there Addie’s secret, meaning that Addie is taken too, and must now find a way out, before the people there try to take Eva away from her forever. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the relationship between Addie and Eva, and felt sorry for poor Eva being totally unable to exert control over her own body. Eva was such a strong character, stronger even than Addie who was supposedly the ‘dominant’ soul. She hung on in there, desperate to hang onto life, not wanting to fade away, always wanting to experience more, even when everybody told her that she should be gone already. I felt sorry for Eva in the way that she was treated, even by Addie, who at one point blames their hybrid status on Eva, because if Eva had just let herself fade away like she should have, Addie would be normal. I also felt sorry for the other children at the institute who were being experimented on. It was so terrible how their other halves were being ripped away from them, and how they were told that they were sick and wrong because they were hybrids. I really don’t understand how people could possibly live with this kind of torture! Having a child who has two separate personalities inside, naming them different names, and then having to live with the knowledge that at some point one of them will basically cease to exist! I also find it very difficult to imagine living with someone else in your head, and having to share a body, but also, if you had had someone else in your head since birth, how would it be to have them disappear and be no longer there! The grief that the children felt about the loss of their twin was just so poignant, and sad. The story was well paced, and the finale was so tense! My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I was silently begging ‘They’ve got to make it, they’ve got to make it!’ There was a little touch of romance, but nothing too much, I’m guessing that this might be explored more in future books. Overall; I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next books in the series! If you love dystopian YA, you’ll love this! 8.75 out of 10.
This is one of the coolest covers I've seen in a really long time! I've been staring at it for a couple of weeks and only just now noticed the profile of the other girl. I was really looking forward to reading this because the summary sounded intriguing and unique. Kat Zhang has done an excellent job of presenting a story that questions what it is that makes us a person. Is it our soul or is it a physical body? This was more Sci-Fi than I expected and I did find it hard to keep track of who was who at times. For example, you might have three physical people in the same room but there would actually be six total - two souls each sharing one body. When the topic of romance came up, I felt a little awkward because how do you handle a kissing situation when both people can experience things but only one wants too? I'm sure this will be explored in future books but I couldn't help thinking that it vaguely reminded me of a Siamese Twin scenario. I do feel this story is well written with a very interesting concept and raises thought provoking questions. While it may not have been the book for me, someone else will love it, I have no doubt!
I am fascinated by the idea of two souls living in every body. What an out of the box, interesting thing to think about, let alone craft into an intriguing story. Kat Zhang has hit a home run with WHAT'S LEFT OF ME--the first book in THE HYBRID CHRONICLES. Can't wait to read more.
First things first—is that a stunning cover or what? Whoever the artist is, they captured perfectly the dichotomy that exists in Addie/Eva and, even before you read the book’s description, you know there is an intense story here. The really good news is there is no mislead, no deception. What’s Left of Me is a story that’s every bit as stunning as its cover. In some ways, this reminded me of The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the only book of hers that I like. In that tale, the two entities sharing the same body and brain are a human and an alien invader. That’s really where the similarity ends because those two entities have not been together since birth and they are not teenagers seemingly abandoned by any adults who ought to care what happens to them. I love that the recessive personality, Eva, is the narrator because we get so much of what she has had to do to survive, hidden from everyone but her partner, Addie. We also learn a great deal about Addie since, after all, no one could know her better than Eva does, but we also get a very distinctive voice in Addie. Addie is the one that the world knows and she’s the one who has to make sure no hint escapes to let others know that Eva didn’t fade away as a good recessive should. Even her own parents and brother don’t know the truth because the truth will lead to disaster. Ms. Zhang does a really nice job with secondary characters, too, and the children being “tested” are especially poignant while the fear and hopelessness engendered by Mr. Conivent and the review board are palpable. If I wished for anything in this first book, it would be more worldbuilding, more explanation of how hybrids came to be and why America has become so isolationist. I do want to mention that the Mullan family is a nice touch, an example of ethnic bias gone very wrong. More than anything else, though, I was terribly saddened by the simply awful choices that have to be made by the very people Addie (and Eva) count on the most and how the girls must come to terms with what they can only see as betrayal. All in all, What’s Left of Me is a unique take on a person’s fight to survive despite horrendous odds. Kat Zhang has written a captivating story, made even more remarkable by the fact that her publisher picked up her trilogy when she was all of 19 years old. That’s not unheard of, certainly, but the wonder of her prose and her imagination is rarely found without many more years experience. Addie and Eva are in my heart now and I hate having to wait for the next book. I’m looking forward to the complete trilogy but also to years of pleasure reading the work of this author who has immense talent. What’s Left of Me will be in my list of favorite books of 2012.
I don't want to imagine what it'd be like to be in Eva's position, watching the world pretend to forget about you when before they would call you along with the other soul inhabiting your body. Before, it was Addie and Eva, Eva and Addie, but now it's just Addie. To watch your parents sob with relief when they think you've disappeared. Eva hasn't heard anyone call out her name in years. Because of this, I don't know if I can fault her for jeopardizing her and Addie's safety for the chance to speak again and walk, just to feel herself in control of their body again. Eva is compassionate. She doesn't fault Addie for being hesitant to relinquish control of their body or even for being the one to dominate all of their parents' love, for living the life she could have had. She's the more self-assured of the two for all that Addie has the outside friends; she knows that Addie couldn't live without her and keeps an eye out for her other self. Eva is the one willing to take risks whereas Addie is the meeker of the two and tends to follow the rules. Addie is forgetful, hesitant at crucial times, and dependent on Eva to make the hard choices. She can come off as self-centered, but she's a sweet girl. As much trouble as she gives Eva, she truly does care about her and does the best she can in her own way to protect the two of them. The strength of the novel lies in the power of Eva's voice. In the way she oftentimes talks about her and Addie's shared body as "our body," their hand as "our hand," because it belongs to both of them. They're like twins, only closer. They share a life. The only difference is that Addie is the one in control most of the time, and Eva can only assist her as she takes them through their daily life. Out of all the characters, the two of them are the most developed, though their daily conversations with each other. I do wish that we got to see more of the other characters, especially Hally and Lissa, Devon and Ryan. However, it doesn't mean that they're any less dynamic than Eva and Addie. It only feels as though we see less of them because Eva and Addie interact with each other so much; and also because they are so heavily supervised at the Ward. Most of the world-building takes place within Eva and Addie's head. We know that the Americas claim to have severed all trade and connection with the rest of the outside world, that hybrids are considered a threat to society, and that those who fail to separate are sent to institutions. Why so, we have yet to find out. However, it's all right for this book because Eva and Addie are still trying to figure out what the truth is; they're still fighting to stay alive. Mostly, What's Left of Me is a setup for the greater plot, and it looks like there's a lot more action to come. I can't wait to read the second book in the Hybrid Chronicles. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the hybrids and learning more about the dystopic world they live in.
Rating: 4.5 stars "What's Left of Me" is set in a world where every person is born with two souls. Two personalities, two people, one body. They alternate control of the body until one soul, the dominant soul, takes over completely, leaving the recessive soul to fade away. If the other soul refuses to fade, the person is deemed a hybrid and is sent to a correctional hospital. Addie and Eva had trouble settling, and now everyone believes Addie is the dominant soul, but Eva's still there, though she can no longer control the body. When Eva gets a chance to move again, will Addie and Eva take the risk for Eva to be able to walk and talk? I have to say, this book was truly fantastic. I was hooked and couldn't wait until the moment I could just stick my nose right back inside its cover and continue where I left off. The whole idea of two souls in one body is so original and I really like that. Kat Zhang does a great job of creating a plot all around this idea. Oh, and can I say that the cover is beautiful? *SPOILER ALERT AHEAD* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . However, the only downside I'd have to say is that the book had mentions of North America being the only continent left in the world. Unbeknownst to North America, they're not the only ones left, and the other continents are still functioning. I really would have appreciated it if this subject was delved into a bit more, otherwise, great book. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *SPOILER ALERT OVER* In all, I've just got one thing left to say: when's the next book in the series coming out? c:
I read this book for a school lesson and I thought it was ok. It was about hybrids which is one person with two souls basically. If you are still a hybrid at the age of 11you can be taken away by the police, I guess you would call them. Then you are usually never seen again. I liked this book because it was pretty interesting to think what if this would be our world eventually. I didn't like it because it was pretty confusing to read. Also at some parts it was slow moving. Other wise I would recommend this book to any one who likes a calling to read, or if they like reading about a messed up government.
When I first heard about it, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME reminded me a bit of THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer. From its general idea of two souls living in one body. But that's where all similarities end. Kat Zhang's story goes an entirely different way. It's hard to describe the setting of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME. The world feel apart a long time ago, with the US in the middle of riots and fights for power. So that makes it feel like a dystopian. At the same time the protagonists' lives feels ordinary and almost boring in the first few chapters. I would've wished for a bit more action. The concept of living with two souls in one body, is called hybridity. It's perfectly normal to start out with two differen personalities, but children are encouraged or forced to abandon one in the process of maturing. It's forbidden to be a hybrid to ensure stability and order. So that's where our protagonist Addie & Eva come into play. Addie's the dominant soul controlling their body and pretending to be the only soul left in that girl's body, but there's still Eva left. Always in the background of their life. The interesting part is that the story is told from Eva's point of view. She's been the best observer all along, only concentrating on still being a part somehow and not getting lost. I enjoyed Eva's voice and her telling the story, but I've got a bunch of things that just didn't work for me. The first chapter does a good job of introducing us to the setting, characters and the point that our main character Addie & Eva is a hybrid, which is forbidden. We get the conflict and know what to expect in future. A clash between hybrids and the government, Eva & Addie and the rest of society. The next several chapters, follow the same rythm though. All the time circling around Addie & Eva being a hyrid and what it means for them, for their family, for their neighbours, fellow students. At some point I felt too tired to listed to that anymore. With two souls in one body it might not be easy to live together and there is a higher conflict potential, but their inner quarrels about doing this or doing that, the right and wrong thing, got on my nerve after some time. Could also be because I didn't really find a connection to Addie, and only to Eva. A big part of the novel is made up of inner conversation between Eva and Addie, which makes an easy to read dialogue. It's marked through special signs; so that you don't get too confused about who's speaking. There is action to some extend and the setting changes to something more threatening after some time into the story. Addie & Eva are confronted with several obstacles and revelations concerning the being of hybrids. They are forced to make rash decisions to not only save their lives but these of their friends, too. There's also a time span in which Addie & Eva mostly interact with fellow hybrids to experience what it means being hybrid. That's when they also meet the potential love interest, Ryan. The bond between Eva and him was the only thing that kept me reading til the end, because I really wanted to know how their feelings for each other unfolded and in how far a relationship would be possible with Eva who's never really been in control over their body. THE VERDICT 2,5/5 **/* WHAT'S LEFT OF ME - Or better what's left of my patience. Two or three likeable characters can't increase my interest in this very slow paced dystopia. The HYBRID CHRONICLES are based on an interesting concept and Kate Zhang really did find a good voice for protagonist Eva and an intriguing way to develop the romance between her and Ryan. But there were just too many aspects about the story that were not to my liking. I'm not sure if I'll find the time and patience to read the sequel of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME if it's held in the same detailed and slow paced writing, but I still recommend you to give this story a try if the summary and story concept sound appealing to you.
Incredible prose, characters I didn't want to leave and a plot that wouldn't leave me. I tore through this book on an international flight, standing reading by the baggage claim because I just had to reach the end. Kat Zhang's writing is gorgeous, and she explores both dark and inspiring places fearlessly. This book isn't afraid to open up questions, or to take you places you're scared to go, asking what it is that makes you a person, and what can take that away from you. Beautiful, poignant and just hopeful enough, I loved this story
An Interesing Twist on Humankind. The cover of this book caught my eye long before it came out. As you read the first few pages the meaning really sinks in. You know how you are born, one soul, one name, one life? Well, this book puts a big twist on being human. In this book we are all born with two souls, two names are given to us and eventually the dominate soul takes over while the other disappears. Normally, this happens by the age of 10 or so. For those whose souls don't "settle" and one does not disappear, they are termed a hybrid. Part of the world is hybrids while the other part is not, and the two sanctions are at odds with each other. Wars have been going on and in this story, hybrids are the bad guys. This story centers around Addie and Eva. These souls share one body. Nobody knows about them. Everyone thinks that only Addie is present. If anyone found out different, they would be sent away, institutionalized, never to return. That is until another hybrid confronts them. Even though Eva is still there, she hasn't actually moved their body in about 3 years, only Addie has had that capability since than and neither souls thought that would change. The other hybrid lets them know that there is a way for Eva to regain full functions. From here things find a way of going awry. Slowly they are found out by higher authorities. Soon after that they are institutionlized. The horrors they face, the lives they see changed, the truth they find out bring them closer to the end but also closer to those that want to help. The story was a bit slow to start, but surprisingly with all the additional souls you learn it wasn't hard to keep track of who was who. A twist on the prejudice many have faced through the years, be it race, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, this story is completely unlike others. The action really kicked into high gear once Addie and Eva arrived at the facility and the ending reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, which is one of my favorites. I look foward to the second book in The Hybrid Chronicles, Once We Were, which is to be released the end of August of this year.
It isn't often that a book really takes me by surprise with an original concept. What's Left of Me did exactly that. Even better than an original concept is the beautiful, compelling writing. I don't think there's anything about this story that I didn't appreciate and enjoy. The concept of two souls born into every body is intriguing. Add to that a government that actively (you have NO IDEA how actively until you finish reading!) seeks to make sure all kids have "settled" (the recessive soul fades away into nothing) by the time they're ten or else they're labeled hybrids and institutionalized, and you have a delicious recipe for disaster when two souls refuse to settle. Toss in a large dose of government propoganda against hybrids and a nice big pack of lies and secrets, and the stakes are even higher. But all of that glitzy concept aside, this book is wonderful because the writing is wonderful. I had no trouble keeping up with which soul/character was speaking as they each have such distinct personalities. I enjoyed the fact that Addie and Eva make many mistakes or panic and freeze when they should probably run because that's real. Most teenage girls with a huge secret to hide who land on the radar of a terrifying government agency wouldn't have clue one in how to deal with it. I appreciated the emotional journey the characters took as well. It was fraught with drama and mistakes and love. I was utterly compelled. I thought about the story when I had to put the book aside to deal with real life, which is the mark of a really great story to me. I highly recommend and will eagerly anticipate the sequel!
I felt that this book had such an original concept, but I was a little bit jarred when I first started to read it. I think what confused me most was that I didn’t really realize it was just an alternate of our world. Everything else was mosty the same except this whole twin souls thing. Or maybe it is supposed to be somewhere in the future, but either way, that was what was confusing for me. What perhaps interests me most (and that we will find out in a future book) is how these two souls came or be a thing (but I guess if its just an alternate of our world, then its just always been a thing) I think what would have been challenging in this book would be how to present the different thoughts and dialogue of Eva and Addie, but Kat Zhang did a great job by presenting Eva’s voice with . So clever. I loved following the two girls stories and seeing how they both struggled with Eva’s existence. Sometimes it was hard to see how Eva was just trapped only able to think while Addie, in a way, whined about having Eva there. I have to say I wasn’t favorable to Addie. While I could understand her anger with Eva, I still didn’t find it fair that it was Eva that was the one unable to feel. But kudos to her for giving her sister a chance to try to find herself. I think the most creepy part of this book was how the hybrids were entirely different people and you could notice the change between the different personalities. I can’t wait to find out more about them, and how they function. I also liked that romance wasn’t a big part of this book, and I think that hasa lot to do with how to navigate the different personalities. It had to be awkward for Eva and Ryan and Addie and Devon as they tried to figure out how to function. All in all, I can’t wait for Zhang to hit us with the next book.
What I Liked: 1) Eva. She was my favorite of our two main characters (Addie and Eva). Because Eva is the recessive soul, she could have easily become a so-so character. But it really becomes her story as we go along, because she is the one who doesn't get to have much of a life, who is really fighting for every second she gets. And she is also our narrator. Because Eva is really hardly anything more than a voice, you really get to know her on an emotional level, which is awesome. 2) The hospital where Addie/Eva are taken for testing. I didn't so much like it, as thought it was a great setting for the "hub of all evil" - haha! They are studying the hybrid gene and how to control it. 3) How much there is to think about with this book! It's been 2 days since I've read the book (well, really, 8 days once it's posted) and I am still going over things over and over in my head. How long has the world been like this, where bodies are born with two souls? How are people affected when their sister or brother soul disappears? How are families affected? Eva mentions at one point how when they were young her parents would refer to them as Eva-and-Addie. How do they feel when one of those isn't there any longer? There is so much to think about as you are going through this book, and even once it's over you will still be curious and anxious for the next story. 4) I loved the ending. Love, love, loved it. It was one of the best non-cliffhanger-y endings that still set up the next book in a great way. Just thinking about it makes me all jittery and excited for book 2! What I Didn't Like: There wasn't anything that I just didn't like, but I will caution you that when it comes to two people controlling, or trying to control one body, some confusion is to be expected. There was one point where there were three bodies in the room, but six people talking. Just...pay attention while you're reading, because while some of the twin souls are very easy to differentiate just in the ways they talk, others you don't get to know well enough. Overall Thoughts: What's Left of Me is an awesome debut from author Kat Zhang and an explosive opening to what looks to be an exciting series. It's thought-provoking, full of action, and has some great characters for readers to know and love. I can't wait to see what's next in this series, because What's Left Of Me has only left me wanting more!