Review Detail

4.2 8
Young Adult Fiction 4401
Fascinating and Compelling
(Updated: June 19, 2013)
Overall rating
Writing Style
What's Left of Me not only features a stunning cover, but it truly cap­tures Eva and Addie, the two protagonists. Eva, the reces­sive soul that should have dis­ap­peared accord­ing to her soci­ety, was born and marked for death. And Addie, the dom­i­nate soul, des­tined to for­get her best friend and other half. But they share a secret. They are hybrids, a title coined to those with reces­sive souls that refused to just fade away. To the gov­ern­ment they are deemed a threat to soci­ety and there­fore must be locked up, con­tained, fixed or be killed.

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.
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