I should not exist. But I do.
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .
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.
What’s Left of Me was the type of book that leaves you speechless—it certainly wasn’t what I expected.
First of all, the premise of the book is very unique. It’s not the usual overused, clichéd plot that you see in many YA novels today. (Even the best books fall victim to this!) The idea of a hybrid—two souls entwined in a single human body was extremely and deeply interesting. Kat Zhang could go many ways with this plot and if written beautifully, she could astound readers with the depth of the novel and the rawness of her characters in this new, alternate universe.
There were a lot of things I liked about this novel.
Eva was literally, an inner voice in Addie’s body. She was the recessive soul which was the soul which was supposed to ‘fade away’ over time. However, she held on to whatever remnants of control she had left and managed to stay in Addie’s body—able to think and mind-speak, but unable to walk or control their body in any way. To be honest, at the start of the novel, I couldn’t sympathize with Eva. For some reason, I preferred Addie’s voice over hers. But as the story progressed, I started seeing things in her POV, and how frustrating it was to have a body, but not having any control over it.
I especially liked how Kat described the relationship between Eva and Addie. It was realistic—they got into fights, like normal siblings, and they carried a burden together—the secret they had to keep in order to stay normal, to keep both of them alive. The two sisters experienced everything together, but the emotions each of them felt—jealousy, happiness, anger, and sadness, were truly and uniquely their own. Kat managed to make both of them connected, but separated at the same time.
I have two contradicting comments about the plot and world-building, though.
Though I liked Kat’s writing style and how she kept the book going at a slow pace, it was also tiring at the same time, because sometimes it seemed like nothing was moving on. The events sometimes seemed stuck in between chapters. However, this proved to be good in one thing—the relationship between Ryan and Eva. It was slow-paced, unlike the relationships in many YA novels nowadays. One pet peeve of mine is an ‘I love you’ after a few chapters, though if written correctly, could be bonus points for the writer.
The world-building was also quite good, though everything still seems somewhat confusing. The mysteries of the setting, I think, is still yet to be revealed in the next book, so I will be waiting patiently for that.
Hopefully, in the next installment of the Hybrid Chronicles, it will be a little more fast-paced and action-packed, but still retaining the beauty and intricacy of Kat Zhang’s writing.
What’s Left of Me was a refreshing and unique story, with raw, new characters—nothing in the novel was clichéd or overused, and the whole plot was carefully formed with the detailed and precise writing of an extremely talented debut author, Kat Zhang.