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What's Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles) Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Everyone is born with a twin: two souls-one body. Only, in America, it's illegal to remain that way-to be a hybrid. The dominant soul is supposed to take over, and the recessive, or weaker one is supposed to disappear, usually by the time the child is six. But even though Addie was the stronger soul, Eva held on. Despite the fact that she could no longer move or speak to anyone but Addie, she didn't go away. Now that they are teens, Addie and Eva have adopted rules of behavior in order to survive: don't stand out, don't be exceptional, blend in at all costs. But then the girls become friends with Hally and her brother, Devon, and the siblings show the sisters that there's another way to live-Eva can reemerge. But Eva's freedom comes at high price: imprisonment in a hospital that wants to "cure" kids of being hybrids and where patients who "go home" are never heard from again. This uniquely imagined novel doesn't fall short in the execution. Zhang's prose is lovely, and the plot is compelling to the last page. If there's one complaint to be made it's that the differences in characterization of the hybrid siblings are very subtle, and it's occasionally difficult to immediately see the change when different personalities take over. It will be easy to categorize this book as yet another dystopian novel, but it is remarkable and will stand out from the rest.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, COα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"A deeply original tale of longing for identity, so skillfully crafted, the words float above the page." (Lissa Price, international bestselling author of Starters)
"A thought provoking first installment in a series that unflinchingly takes on ethically challenging topics." (Kirkus Review)
"Addressing issues of identity, ethics, and choice, Zhang's concept is original and provocative; the deep bond between Eva and Addie ... and the mystery about why their society is so desperate to "fix" hybrids are riveting." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
“A shockingly unique story that redefines what it means to be human.” (Lauren DeStefano, New York Times bestselling author of Wither)
Zhang’s concept is original and provocative; the deep bond between Eva and Addie (the shifts between I, we, and she in Eva’s narration are especially haunting) and the mystery about why their society is so desperate to “fix” hybrids are riveting. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A deeply original tale of longing for identity; so skillfully crafted, the words float above the page.” (Lissa Price, international bestselling author of STARTERS)
An unsettling dystopian adventure of two souls trapped in a single body. (Kirkus Reviews)
“Uniquely imagined…Zhang’s prose is lovely, and the plot is compelling to the last page” (School Library Journal)
“An intriguing depiction of sibling relationships and the challenges of learning to live as distinct, though not physically separate, individuals.” (Booklist)
Top customer reviews
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What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang is about Hybrids-- specifically Eva and Addie. There is typically a dominant and recessive soul in each body and Eva is the recessive soul. She is supposed to disappear by their 5th birthday, but she hangs on, determined to live. But because of this, they are different from the rest of the population, and hide their secret from even their loved ones. Then they meet Hally, someone just like them-- and their world changes forever.
I can't even imagine the complexity of writing this book. To clarify what I mean is-- you have two souls inhabiting one body. There are references to Addie saying something, but then when she does something, it is talked about in the collective plural "we." The connotation was always clear and I never saw a misstep, but what a difficult way to write-- very impressive. Eva is a terrific character, as is Addie, and Zhang does a wonderful job of keeping a balance between the two. The pace of the novel is lightning quick, and I kept turning the pages faster and faster to see what would happen. I loved how three dimensional all of the characters were-- and what a feat to keep each half so distinct and separate.
I am curious about the world building because it is not clear what happened before-- why there are Hybrids, etc. But the ending of this first entry in what is likely to be a trilogy hints there is much more up Zhang's sleeve.
A terrific first book for Zhang-- and I'm eager to pick up the next book in this series!
I feel like this review might be a bit shorter than others because I don't want to give any of this story away. It was so good for me I feel like you just need to read it to find out about Eva and Addie's story. I found this book while searching on Goodreads one day and I am so glad I did. It's such a beautiful story about two souls just trying to be there own even though they fear losing each other and everything they care about all while trying to help others along the way. At first I thought What's Left of Me was just going to be a book about Eva trying to gain control of her and Addie's body again but it wasn't, thank God! It was so much more! Zhang kept surprising me with crazy, but awesome, twists and turns. I was never bored and literally couldn't put this book down, I had to force myself to go to bed and by then it was already four in the morning! The characters were all really rounded, although we didn't get to know all of them fully I feel like we were given the right amount of information about all of them to want to read the second book and find out more. I love both Eva and Addie, at first I thought Addie was being really selfish but at one point in the book Zhang helps us realize how unfair the situation is for her too. Even though she is the one who is the most dominant soul, she still is never alone just like Eva and she still was willing to risk literally everything so Eva could gain some control back somehow. I think that is very brave of Addie to do and I was so proud to see her grow and mature and be so selfless throughout the book for Eva. I also adore Eva because of how patient she was with Addie, she never intentionally tried to push too much and when she did she always apologized and tried to give Addie her space. I also appreciate how both of the characters weren't perfect all the time, they did fight and disagree about things from time to time. At times I thought that Addie would tell Eva they needed to just go back to how it was before but she still pushed through. I feel like the fact that both of them broke down at times made it feel more real for me, no one is perfect and I honestly don't believe they could have both gone through what they did without feeling some kind of negative emotion. I feel like both of them grew closer than they were before and both matured throughout the story and that's one of my favorite things to do; to be able to watch a character grow into a better person. What's Left of Me was easily one of my top five favorite reads of 2012 and I highly recommend you all read this book! I'm looking forward to more of Kat Zhangs work! (:
P.S. Isn't the cover just stunning? The jacket for my book is beautiful.
"Addie was warm and radiant next to me, making up half of us. But I - I was Eva, Eva, Eva, all the way through." - Eva
Kat Zhang did a great job at crafting Eva and Addie, our main characters. They respect and love each other, but fight with each other sometimes, like all sisters do. And with the situation they're trapped in, I hoped that nothing bad would happen to them. But of course, everything goes down the drain.
The writing style just blew my mind. Zhang gave her characters such a marvelous voice; each character was depth and complex, and gosh, the dialogue and action that was given to them was just fantastic. I loved every inch of this story.
Some more things that I loved about her writing style was the pieces that I found in this book. One piece was sorrow; I felt so sorry for Eva because of what's she going through, and with everything being thrown at her, it made me want to reach out to her even more. And another theme, and the biggest one, I found was hope. Hope is infused so much in this novel; hope for a better future, hope for a chance to live a life again, hope to stay alive. And I just found it amazing how much hope and sorrow was put into this book. Kat Zhang, you are a genius!
The action in WHAT'S LEFT OF ME was non-stop. I will admit that the first few pages were a slow going, but come on, it's the beginning. And when the action started, it never stopped. All havoc broke loose, and Kat didn't ever stop throwing more problems and action scenes at us. Greatness! WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is one of those books that is super hard to put down. I finished it in under 24 hours!
And before I wrap up this review, let me say this: IS THE AUTHOR TRYING TO EMOTIONALLY KILL ME FOR THE WAIT FOR BOOK TWO?! The ending of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is just insane and totally terrific. The ending is where the action sky-rocketed, and I don't think I ever set the book down towards the end. Seriously, read this book!
Overall, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is such a fantastic book! Make sure not to miss this book. WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is going places.
-Review originally posted at bookyareview.blogspot.com-
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