The best part of What's Left of Me was the relationship between Addie and Eva. I have to sit and applaud Zhang's skill at crafting two very different characters, who share the same body, yet they struggle to portray just one person to everyone else. Against her better judgement, Addie agrees to practice letting Eva take control of their body. She knows what this could mean for them if they are caught and discovered. However, she also knows how much it means to Eva to not just be the soul everyone else thinks is gone. Eva wants to be real. So they take the risk and their worst fears are, unfortunately, realized.
Quote: "We'd been born with our souls' fingers interlocked. What if we'd never let go?"
The bond and love these two sister had for one another was phenomenal and, at times, tear jerking. Though, I should say I did not cry during this novel. But I will say it was deeply emotional when the sisters internally struggled to fulfill both souls' needs without depriving the other. Of course, this was nearly impossible. Eva is the recessive soul and as such is used to literally taking the backseat to whatever Addie needs or wants. At times that frustrated me to no end because I could just feel Eva ready to burst free and be her own person, but Addie would take those moments away from her.
Quote: "I was caged in our body and caged in his arms and, somehow, the former was the real prison."
And while I remained angry at Addie for her selfishness, Eva not once blamed her sister for the way she felt. That is not to say they always got along. There were quite a few times they stopped talking to each other in the novel, but I just loved how they made up.
Not only did Zhang have to keep track of Addie and Eva's characters, but she created two characters in one body in several different instances. Now, I know from reading that sentence, that may A) not make a lot of sense or B) not sound very difficult. But it fascinated me how Zhang pulled it off. There were times where Addie and Eva would be talking with a character only for him/her to switch mid-conversation to their other soul. So you have two different mannerisms, facial expressions, tone, ect. for this one person and you have Addie and Eva able to not only tell the difference between the two, but to also convince the reader of the switch. And I'll even take it a step further to say that after a certain point I could tell which soul was who before Addie and Eva confirmed it for me. I think this is a testament to just how well these characters were crafted.
And that is where the pacing and plot come into play. At first I thought the book was moving too fast in the beginning because I was getting introduced to a bunch of new characters and STUFF was happening very quickly, but it works well that way. Looking back, What's Left of Me doesn't really have much downtime because something is always happening, but at the same time it doesn't read like a thriller either because it's not exactly action packed. Oxymoron? Why, yes. But it was riveting and I felt I NEEDED to figure out the mystery to why the hybrids were treated so badly. Interestingly, I would usually take this time to point out and complain about world building flaws. There is very little mention of the outside world and how they deal with hybrids. But, it works in this instance. The reader is intentionally kept in the dark until a few plot twists are revealed. Even after completing the novel, I feel like there is so much more to come.
Final Verdict: This novel was so fascinating and awesome. After all that I just have one last thing to say: More now, please.