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Once We Were: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 2 Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Once We Were: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 2 + What's Left of Me: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book One + Echoes of Us: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book 3
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Product Details

  • Series: Hybrid Chronicles (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062114905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062114907
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Because sisters Addie and Eva grew up hiding their hybrid nature, they're now learning-along with readers-some of the nuances of what it means for two souls to share one body. Is romance possible with someone always looking over your shoulder? Can a hybrid ever have privacy? What occurs if the two souls disagree? Now that Eva is fully capable of controlling the girls' body, she's unwilling to sit idly by and allow the torture (in the name of science) that happened upon them at the Nornand Clinic happen to other children. As they meet more hybrids, they hear more and more horrific stories of abuse, and they learn of a small faction that wants to take immediate action to stop further mistreatment of hybrid children. Eva is eager to help with this plan, but Addie is unsure as to whether or not what they're planning is ethical. The deeper involved in this small revolution they become, the further apart the siblings begin to grow. Until now, they've never argued about anything this significant, and it's not clear which of the two souls will win control. Zhang has a unique challenge: she must give each character two distinct personalities, which she skillfully manages. While this book lacks some of the freshness of What's Left of Me (HarperCollins, 2012), simply by virtue of being a sequel, the lovely, atmospheric storytelling is still very much present. Zhang has envisioned a complex, unique world and deftly brings it to life.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, COα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The second Hybrid Chronicles book finds sisters Eva and Addie and other hybrids—those born with two souls sharing one body—hiding in an antihybrid society. When the government announces a new “cure” initiative, which will likely kill one sibling, a hybrid faction recruits the sisters to help sabotage it. But as the plan unfolds, difficult discoveries and choices emerge, as well as possibly devastating consequences for Eva, Addie, and others. The minutely detailed account occasionally lags, but the siblings’ desire for autonomy is intriguing, as is the exploration of the politics of enacting change—leaving plenty open-ended for the follow-up. Grades 8-11. --Shelle Rosenfeld

More About the Author

Kat Zhang is an avid traveler, and after a childhood spent living in one book after another, she now builds stories for other people to visit. An English major at Vanderbilt University, she spends her free time performing Spoken Word poetry, raiding local bookstores, and plotting where to travel next. She is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong. You can read about her travels, literary and otherwise, on her website or check her out on Twitter.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 47 customer reviews
This works into the plot very well, of course, but still.
Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook
The hardest part is I can't really put my finger on why I don't like Addie so much . . . it's just that she's a hard character to swallow, you know?
Step Into Fiction
And then everything happens so quickly at the end that you just want to keep reading!
C. Sun

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Dennard on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love Kat Zhang's prose--LOVE it. She uses words like a poet, yet she also manages to write high-tension tales and heart-wrenching characters. WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, the first book in the Hybrid Chronicles, blew me away with its 3D heroines, creative world-building, and its alien yet familiar story of finding one's place in the world. ONCE WE WERE did that again and more. If you enjoyed the first book, I truly think you'll love the sequel. Now if only I didn't have to wait another year for the third book...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ashleigh VINE VOICE on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via Edelweiss.

It's easy to look at dystopian novels nowadays, roll your eyes, and keep going. Many of them sound the same and it's easy to pick out which books use the dystopia as an obstacle for the romance or the drama, which ones have premises so laughably weak you can write a paper on why it will never happen based on just the jacket copy, and which wants are actually trying to say something about society. Zhang's masterful Hybrid Chronicles is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, YA dystopian series on the market right now and there's nothing about it I don't love at this point.

Now that Addie and Eva have semi-equal control of their body, they deal with a whole new set of issues, what with Eva liking Ryan and Addie liking a boy who is not Ryan or Devon. Oh, and not telling Eva that for a while. Their struggle with compromise-because they don't always want the same thing;Eva agrees to foreboding plans Addie strongly disagrees with and both girls start keeping things to themselves when it's something both girls need to know-is one of the conflicts at the forefront of the novel.

The other major conflict? Oh, some of the hybrids wanting to delve into terrorism in order to show the single-souled populace they refuse to be incarcerated and lobotomized any longer.

Eva/Addie act as more of vehicles through which we get the story instead of an actual character taking part in the action on occasion, but such moments aren't enough to dampen my enthusiasm for this novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Sun on October 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Actual rating: 4.5/5

Sequels are usually never as great as the first book. But Once We Were is one of those exceptions. Of course it wasn't perfect (nothing is), but I enjoyed it much more than What's Left of Me.

Again, the thing Kat does best is the actual writing and prose. Just as in What's Left of Me, it's so elegant and pretty and just really well done. I love reading her words, and everything just flows so well. There's a beauty to the words and sentences she writes and forms.

But anyway. I think that the plot moves much faster in Once We Were, although it's mostly towards the end (again). But what made this different was that I found the beginning/middle-ish to be more character based, allowing us to learn more about the new characters and gaining a deeper understanding of the characters in What's Left of Me. Yeah, it might feel slow, but at the same time, it's enough that you're not bored. And then everything happens so quickly at the end that you just want to keep reading! I also found the ending to OWW much more satisfying in that it was more cliffhanger-y than the first (in the best way possible).

Going back to the character-driven plot idea...I loved seeing Ryan/Devon and Eva/Addie struggling with differences between themselves (I suppose...I mean, they're sharing the same body). It shows how complex the situation with hybrids are. And I think it helped us to learn a lot more about their personalities. I'm still a bit iffy on Addie, but I understand her a lot better. I did find the amount of Devon to be lacking, but I suppose that part of it is also that it's told from Eva's perspective.

One of the few things I didn't like so much was the introduction of so many characters in such a short period of time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you have NOT read What's Left of Me please read with caution. There are some spoilers that were unavoidable. Proceed with caution . . .

I really enjoyed the first book, What's Left of Me and I couldn't wait to read more about this unique series, especially Eva and Ryan. The concept of these books still blows my mind; two souls sharing the same body. Things will get complicated when both souls fall in love with different guys, which we start to see in this second book. You're sharing the same body with different guys, it's just weird and awkward and probably everything you imagined it would be. I do have to say, while I enjoyed this book, the first half was a bit lackluster for me.

That being said, it's alright because the second half of the book totally made up for it. Sometimes slow isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's just a lot of information. I just don't like slow because I like breezing through books. We get to see what life is like outside of the institutes boring white walls. Eva and Addie are surrounded by people who are just like them and they're teaching them all sorts of things like how to have the one soul disappear so Eva or Addie can actually get some alone time which will come in handy for when Ryan and Eva want to lip lock (which should be all the time, in my opinion). But you also get to see them interact with more hybrids around their own age.

I want to start off with talking about Addie. I'm not sure how I feel about her; I wasn't crazy about her in the first book and I'm liking her less during the second book. She started coming around toward the end but I just . . . there's something about her that just doesn't sit well with me. Where I really, REALLY like Eva and I think she's pretty awesome I get the opposite feeling with Addie.
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