What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)FeaturedHot
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.
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.
At the beginning I was hooked with the writing that swept me away into this alternate America with children/teens who struggle with two souls.
Then the story felt more like GOLDEN COMPASS only instead of Daemon(animal guides)this story has two souls trapped in a body. In this alternate world when children reach a certain age, they 'settle' or the other soul 'disappears'. Only in the case of Addie, her other soul, Eva, stays. While in school another girl catches her eye, Hally, who would be popular only she's foreign. Only there might be more then that.
The writing moves along well enough but when Zhang goes back and forth with the different souls? It got distracting and very jarring. A better example of using this format has to be THE HOST by Stephanie Meyer.
The hospital scene was suspenseful and the experiments they do on the hybrid children are pretty chilling. Also the dialogue moves this story right along. I did have a few questions though that include what happens when one soul 'falls in love' with someone that the other soul hates? **This is touched on only briefly and towards the end of the novel. Wouldn't a parent know if another soul is still inside their child? As a mother I know when something is up with my own kiddo. It's called mother's intuition. I didn't get a sense of that in this story. Also I wanted more emotional reactions and to see more conflicts/struggles going on with not only the hybirds but others in this society.
Intriguing premise set in an alternative America that is promising but falls a little short. I'm hoping that the next book shows us more of what happens in the rebellion and also the consequences of keeping both souls. Still there's some promise with this series. I'm curious where book two will go next!
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 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!
What's Left of Me was basically about a society where every body starts out with two souls, and in most bodies, one soul dies off sometime in their early life. However, some bodies remain with two souls, like the main characters, Eva and Addie (who share a body). This is confusing to explain, but it seems really simple in the book. There is a lot of character development from basically all of the characters, too.
What's Left of Me is one of my favorite books, and I really hope Kat Zhang writes more books besides this trilogy.
I thought that this book was in our future, but as you progress into the book, it becomes clear that it is around the same time as now, but in a parallel universe. A universe where everyone is born with two souls inside the one body, and by the age of ten, one soul is meant disappear while the other dominates. Well that's what supposed to happen.
Eva is the main character book, but what makes her different to all the other characters in every other book is that she has no control over her body, and is sharing her body with her other soul, Addie. Eva watches through their eyes, and sees Addie live their life, without her. Except in their head, where they communicate. This book makes me think really hard, it seems awful not being able to live, but the way Addie and Eva work together shows that you'll always have someone.
I thought that it was brilliant to have the book told in Eva's point of view. The soul that was shunned and has no control over anything that happens to their body. I thought that she was so strong to keep fighting even when her parents, her friends and even Addie told her to give up, so much stronger than a lot of other protagonists. Eva proves that even if you have nothing, not giving up means losing yourself.
It's really hard to describe what happens in this book, as you can see in my review, that probably makes you more confused than less. I just want to say that this book is beautiful, in every aspect, and shows you that there is always hope, no matter what.
For some reason I was kind of thinking of What’s Left of Me as a dystopian before I started, but it’s more scifi dealing with an alternate universe where having two souls just happens to be normal. Well, normal until you’re about 10 years-old, at least. It’s one thing to think of this world in an abstract way, but Zhang writes it in such a way that it feels so real I was occasionally feeling like my head was a little too empty. Kat Zhang has created a fantastically beautiful and complicated world in What’s Left of Me.
This book made me think and made me feel. What would it be like to have someone ALWAYS there sharing your mind? My reflex is to say it’d be terrible, but Addie and Eva make me stop and rethink. It’s hard sometimes, of course, but in the end they love each other and are always conscious of one another’s feelings.
I loved viewing the story from Eva’s point of view. The reader gets to feel the pain and loneliness of being pushed aside and forgotten. Of never being spoken of or spoken to. Of having no one and nothing in the world but your other half. Of you’re very existence being against everything you’ve been told your whole life.
But the reader also gets to feel the joy of a journey towards being remembered,.
The Nutshell: I could never hope to express the awesome beauty that is What’s Left of Me in one small review, but hopefully I’ve at least gotten you interested. If you’re looking for something with emotion, beauty, secrets, and an original story then go read this book NOW.
I enjoyed getting to know Eva and Addie, their similarities and differences. They were more different than I would have expected since I was picturing identical twins in the same body.
It was neat though how they communicated and how they had distinct personalities as well as approaches to the challenges they were faced with.
There was lots of character development along with a plot that kept me turning the pages and anxious to know what would happen next and how they would possibly get themselves our out the next pickle.
The secondary characters were also well done. I loved the suspense of Lissa and Devon and what their motivations were and watching their relationship with Addie and Eva grow.
There was always something going on, with surprising twists and characters that I didn't expect what they did as well as help from unexpected places. I was always looking for a few extra minutes to read and always wanting just a few more pages.
I will definitely continue this series and recommend it for fans of dystopia and science fiction.
Bottom line: Great plot, characters that I felt for and amazing premise.
"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.
- page 8, What's Left of Me
Keeping in mind that all those "our"s and "we"s are talking about two individuals sharing the same body. Sometimes Addie acts independently of Eva, sometimes they act together. Sometimes people are addressing both of them, sometimes just one. You'd think it would be really confusing, but it's not once you get used to it. I do, however, feel sorry for Kat's editor. Grammarcheck would have had a hard time with this one.
I really liked that this story was told from the perspective of Eva, the recessive soul. It was fascinating watching Eva and Addie's sibling dynamic, when one of them had only a voice and no body. They could communicate with each other, but Eva couldn't speak with their voice to anyone else. So lots of times, Eva sat helplessly inside their body, urging Addie toward a course of action, only to have to suffer the consequences when Addie made a different choice.
Although it wasn't a major plot point of the book, I was completely fascinated by the family dynamics in the book. Eva and Addie's parents both, at some point during their lives, tell them that they love both of them. But at the same time, they urge Eva to fade away, and for Addie to assert her dominance. It's such a weird and challenging concept -- how should a parent's love be affected by having two children inhabiting the same body? And should they mourn the "death" of one for the good of the other, or should they simply accept it as the way life works? Eva, obviously, feels hurt by the withdrawal of her parents' affection -- from her, not Addie -- even as she tries to tell herself it's normal for them to stop talking to her. Again, this isn't actually a huge part of the story, but it was such an interesting question to me.
And the question necessarily expands to intertwine with the main narrative. Should one soul be forced to fade away, or do both have a right to share the body? And if both souls have equal rights to the body, who gets to choose what they do? If one soul is romantically attracted to someone and the other is not, which gets to follow their heart?
As Eva and Addie struggle with these philosophical questions, they have to deal with the physical problem of being taken and incarcerated if their hybrid nature is discovered. And so in addition to the internal struggle, there is a lot of external action, adventure, and peril. Even a touch of romance, although that too becomes a delicate and challenging situation. It's a great mix, and I was completely sucked in.
Eva's narration is sparse but effective, and the storytelling flowed nicely. There's still some huge questions at the end of the book, but it's not a cliffhanger. Truthfully, I don't know if it's possible to fully and neatly answer all of the questions raised by this book, so in that way, it would actually work as a standalone (even though it's the first of a trilogy). Oh, and although it's being touted as a dystopian, it's really not. Nor is it really sci-fi. More of an alternate reality. It's one of those books that's kind of hard to define, which I think actually broadens its appeal.
Although I actually have no tangible complaints with this book, I'm not giving it an A rating. This seems weird, but basically, I felt like there was room for something more, either more connection with the characters or more insight into this strange world. It's not that I think the book did anything wrong, it's that I feel there's potential for better. Because I thought this book was really good, but it didn't completely knock me off my feet. I feel like it could, and I'm almost expecting that from the sequel. But while this one was highly enjoyable, it didn't quite crack that amorphous bubble that houses my all-time favorites. That said, I still highly recommend it.
It wasn't for me because it was just a bit too confusing. All the different names of people and all the back and forth random changing... 0_0 That's how I felt most of the time trying to decipher who was who and when they were them lol
Furthermre, i was confused as to why the hybrids posed that much of a threat. Like what makes them so scary because there's two different people inside them? They were trying to sell the fact that there was two different people inside them and that would make them crazy, but I don't think that. It would make things alot easier though. lol Two minds are always better than one in my opinion.
But although this is not one of my favorites, I did enjoy reading it. It was interesting to see the whole new exciting premise played out in my imagination and it was interesting to meet all the different characters.
What’s Left of Me was amazing, and I absolutely loved it, but still, I’m torn on whether to give it five stars, or four stars. I want to give it five stars because the pace was crisp; the plot is brilliant and original beyond belief, and the concept that the story is told from the recessive soul, Eva, was a great twist on the common narrator. Everything was refreshing, fun, and there was never a dull or boring moment when reading What’s Left of Me, but it just missed… something.
In What’s Left of Me, we’re told right off the bat that Hybrids are dangerous, and if you have suspicions that someone might be a Hybrid, report them immediately, for they are a threat to everyone. But, we’re never actually given a reason as to why Hybrids are so dangerous, and whenever the book said how dangerous Hybrids were, I just thought, “Why?” I suppose maybe they aren’t dangerous and it’s all a prejudice thing, and that's why there never was an explanation? Again, I’m not too sure, but I hope everything is cleared up in book two. As well as that little world-building flaw, there was a flaw in the writing for me that, while little at first, grew to be an annoyance the more I read the book.
Zhang’s prose is beautiful, and, like the plot, the writing is crisp and it makes for fast reading (although it took me a staggering eight days to finish this), but, unfortunately, Zhang uses an overwhelming amount of repetition when writing. At first, this was something I was able to look over easily, but, like I said, as I read more and more, and the use of repetition became more and more frequent, I became annoyed, but not overly so that I was unable to enjoy the book. And lastly in the things that make me conflicted on whether I should be giving What’s Left of Me four or five stars was that the ending felt too anticlimactic given all the buildup for it throughout the novel, and it was a bit too neat for my likings.
Now onto less ranty things about What’s Left of Me’s rare flaws, and much more praising on everything else that’s in What’s Left of Me, because everything else was amazing.
Right from the start (actually, right when I finished the prologue), I knew that I was going to cry at least once when reading this book (I cried three times). Eva’s voice and experiences (or lack of) were heartbreaking, as was reading about her longing to talk, to move her fingers even—all of the things we normally take for granted—but she was physically unable to do. And, although for most of the book she couldn’t even move her fingers, she was still stronger than half of the heroines in YA literature, and that’s saying something.
Another thing to absolutely love about What’s Left of Me is that all of the characters are flawed and believable, as are all of their relationships, especially the sisterly relationship between Eva and Addie, which was portrayed expertly. And, while there is some romance in What’s Left of Me, it takes up a very minor part in the actual story, and you might even forget there was a romance to begin with (like me).
Overall, despite the problems I had when reading What’s Left of Me (and, when next to the things I didn’t have a problem with, they seem very minor) I absolutely loved this book, and recommend it to anyone looking for an original and refreshing new YA novel.
Author Lauren DeStefano is blurbed on the back of my ARC as saying, "A shockingly unique story that redefines what it means to be human." Usually, I ignore blurbs, because they often say so little, and they're often meaningless. This one I agree with wholeheartedly. That sentence captures the essence of What's Left of Me. This dystopia takes on philosophical questions and is one of the most thought-provoking books I've read this year.
In this world, a sort of alternate universe, two souls are born into every body. At the start of life, there are two people in each human frame. As time passes and the body grows, one of the personalities takes over, asserts dominance, and the other one dissipates, gone as though never there. By the age of ten, there should be just one soul where two used to reside; they should settle. Up until that point, the two souls trade off, so that body is sometimes the one and sometimes the other.
Some souls, though, do not settle. Neither soul goes away entirely. These people are called hybrids, and they are unacceptable. Hybrids are dangerous, unstable within themselves, thus unstable in society. The United States does not stand for this, because they are sick of the wars that hybridity brings, as evidenced by the war-torn, hybrid-filled, foreign nations.
Eva and Addie never settled. Eventually, Eva faded into the background and they pretended to be an I instead of a we, an us instead of a me. Eva can do nothing but watch and listen as her sister controls their body, can converse with no one but Addie, in their mental language. What does it mean to be a soul? To be a person? Is it Addie/Eva that's broken or society?
Told from Eva's perspective, What's Left of Me is daring in its storytelling. Never have I read a book written quite this way, just as I've never considered how different life would be with two people inhabiting the one body. Most of the story is told in first person plural, even though we're in Eva's 'mind' so to speak. This writing style never ceased being odd to me, but it always made sense.
Unlike a lot of dystopias, What's Left of Me does not have a ton of action, though there is some. The joy of this novel is philosophical and psychological. There isn't much romance at all, though there are some hints. Of course, how can you have a healthy relationship when your body doesn't belong just to you? Seriously, how crazy to think about is this?
Aside from Eva, and perhaps Ryan, I didn't get a great feel for most of the characters. Eva, our narrator, is so deep within her own thoughts that she doesn't necessarily have a great feel for anyone. I really didn't get a reading on Addie, except to wonder how she became the dominant personality. I suspect Eva probably should have been and may have faded back to save her Addie's soul, but that's all speculation.
For those of you that enjoy cerebral reads, What's Left of Me is not to be missed. I am truly in awe of Zhang's mind for coming up with such a creative, astounding idea.