Friday, September 6, 2013

Becky's View: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
♦publisher: HarperTeen
♦release date: September 18th, 2012
♦hardcover, 343 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Hybrid Chronicles, book 1
♦source: trade show
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.

Review: In an alternate reality of our world, Addie and Eva are in danger.  Every human is born with two souls and right around age 10, the more dominant soul takes over and the other fades away; it’s called “settling”.  If one soul doesn’t die off, you are considered a Hybrid, with the potential for insanity and violence. 

All Hybrids in America are destroyed.
Addie and Eva never settle, a secret that they've learned to guard carefully. For years, Addie has acted as the dominant soul, while Eva stays hidden inside.  The story is told, uniquely, from Eva’s point of view.  While the story draws you in immediately, the writing style is stark and serious and it takes some getting used to. Because of the main character’s use of “we”, I don’t think I ever stopped being confused at first glance about someone else being present in the scene, when really they were just referring to the two souls in the same body.  It was a little hard to wrap my head around. 

It was a heartfelt story, a different kind of sibling relationship: both a strong bond and a rivalry.  They two souls struggle with each other---Eva’s wish to be more than just a voice in Addie’s head and the fact they will never be alone.  I loved how each girl’s personality was very distinct.  There weren’t many moments when you couldn’t tell which one was talking.  While I really liked them both, Eva was more hopeful and open, while Addie was very standoffish and cautious.   It was the same way with several of the characters: Hally and Lissa, Devon and Ryan---with twice the personalities, I’m surprised it wasn’t harder to remember who was who. 

What very slight romance there is in this story, I appreciated how slow-developing and secondary it was.  Once the girls are taken away to a horrible institution, there is so much danger and urgency, it would have been silly for them to be falling in love.  I thought it was perfectly timed to the story and woven in at moments where it made sense for any of them to be letting their guard down.  I also loved the conflict of how a relationship might work when there are two souls involved on either side.  I highly suspect an oncoming love triangle in book 2, but we’ll see.

I’m hoping for a little more background in Once We Were regarding why the Americas really destroy Hybrids and why the rest of the world doesn’t.  From what I can tell, Addie and Eva’s fight has just begun.  I’m excited to see the intensity of this series build even more.
Find Kat Zhang online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase What's Left of Me:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I liked this one but had a few issues with it! Felt the romance was a little odd, but like you appreciated how slow-developing it was. And definitely agree that we need more background! I had a lot of unanswered questions. Glad you enjoyed it overall and hope you like the sequel! :)

  2. I really enjoyed 'What's Left of Me' and I felt the same as you did. I also thought the romance was fitted in perfectly and I'm glad it didn't take center stage. The whole concept is fascinating but confusing and it was a bit much to take on at first. I felt Addie could be selfish at times but I still loved that the girls remained close. I'm excited for 'Once We Were'. Lovely Review Becky!

    PS. Isn't the cover cool?
    - Sunny @ A Sunny Spot Blog

  3. I liked the nice hint of romance, but I was happy that it was all about Eva and Addie. I love the unique concept! :)


  4. I was really impressed with how the author developed Eva and Addie's relationship and I agree, the romance was sweet but came secondary to the overall plot which YAY is a good thing. I also wanted some better explanations for their world but I'm guessing we'll learn more in the next book. Great review :)

  5. Great review, thanks to you I was able to get this one for $2.99 on kindle. I'm so excited to own it and look forward to reading it. I think the concept is what lures me to the book the most. I'm actually happy there is only a spot of romance in this one.

  6. The first book in this series was one of the books that's been sitting on my TBR list for a very loooong time but I've yet to read it. And now the second book is out....

    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading