What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Author: Kat Zhang. Website|Twitter
Published: 27 September 2012 (HarperCollins Children's Books)
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Own (received as present)
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Imagine that you have two minds, sharing one body. You and your other self are closer than twins, better than friends. You have known each other forever.
Then imagine that people like you are hated and feared. That the government want to hunt you down and tear out your second soul, separating you from the person you love most in the world.
Now meet Eva and Addie.
They don’t have to imagine.
When I first heard about this book last year I knew it was one I needed to read! The concept sounded so interesting to me. What's Left of Me tells the story of Eva and Addie, two souls who share the same body. Only one of them shouldn't be there.
The whole idea of two souls sharing one body is something that really grabbed me, and when I started reading the book I was completely blown away by how the author has made it work. Addie is the dominant soul, in that she has control of everything the body does. Eva is the recessive soul, the soul that should have died away in a world where one soul is expected to outlive the other leaving only one behind. What's even more brilliant is that the book is narrated from Eva's point of view. Eva can talk to Addie (their conversations are put in brackets and italics so as to stand out which I thought was really clever) and suggest what they do but has no control over their body. It's fascinating seeing the world from her perspective.
The book is set in a distorted version of America. The country has isolated itself from other nations and set about to rid itself of "Hybrids" i.e people with more that one soul. That makes Eva and Addie's situation one they have to hide. I really loved the dystopian feel of the book and the themes and issues it tackles. It feels like there's a lot of ethical dilemmas in the book, from medical ethics to immigration. You really end up rooting for Eva and Addie as the world they live in is so controlled. You get that brilliant sense of unease as well.
It becomes clear that there's a lot more to Eva and Addie's situation and that there's a bigger story going on here, and as the plot unravelled I found myself unable to put the book down! I loved how Eva's narration really proves powerful and you see her character in particular go through so much and develop along the way. The other characters throughout the story are just as fascinating. I thought it would be confusing having characters with two souls and two personalities but not once did that fact get in the way of my reading of the story. It was so carefully crafted.
Reading this book just gave me that sensation that this was something special. I was blown away by everything, from the writing style to the plot itself. It's just such a wonderful book with so much action and suspense thrown in to keep you hooked! This is the first book in the Hybrid Chronicles series and I can't wait to read more. The climax of this book left me desperate to read the next installment as there's so much potential for this world. An absolute must read!
What to read next: Once We Were by Kat Zhang, the unreleased 2nd book in the Hybrid Chronicles
Books like this: Delirium by Lauren Oliver