REVIEW: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

whatsleftofmeWhat’s Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles #1)
by Kat Zhang

HarperTeen, 2012
[Goodreads] [Amazon]

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 is one of those books that I felt everyone but me had already read. Not only had they read it, but they’d raved about it so much it made me nervous to actually pick it up. And while I don’t think I ultimately liked it as much as most folks have, once I got past a rather slow start, the book had nice flow, a unique plot, and intriguing characters that I did end up ultimately enjoying.

This book is told from a unique perspective, because for much of the book, Eva – the recessive soul who was meant to die away, but didn’t – isn’t in any kind of actual control of the body she shares with dominant soul, Addie. That set-up made for unique storytelling that was very much focused on Eva’s feelings and Addie’s actions. One thing I wish was explained in more detail is how the world came to be this way. Is this our world that’s been changed in some way? Or is this a made-up world in which the way we live and are never existed in the first place? I didn’t feel that this information was explicitly stated, and made for a lot of questions on my part, and one of the reasons I wasn’t completely sold on the story at the start. There is a lot of talk about the scary dangerous hybrids (which Eva and Addie are, although they live in secret) and the effects they’ve had on the rest of the world, and there’s talk about the Americas (which are North, Central and South America all rolled into one giant super-country), but no actual explanations of how it all came to be. I want explanations! Call it the part of me that loves history, but I just feel like it would have really grounded the story and made it more relatable. But then again, that could just be me.

Around the 20% mark, though, the book picks up in action, because Addie and Eva are shipped off to a rather frightening clinic due to a suspicion that they are indeed hybrid. The rest of the book is spent with them trying to figure out what’s going on at the clinic, and trying to find a way to escape. There’s also some romantic developments between Eva and Ryan, made all the more intriguing because Addie isn’t at all interested in either Ryan OR his other soul, so she’s definitely fighting Eva at every step, even if it’s not intentionally. There’s also the obvious give and take necessary as Eva becomes stronger, which adds tension to the girls’ relationship and makes sharing a body even trickier. The sequel to What’s Left of Me seems to focus even more on the girls’ issues, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the author has taken that concept and expanded on it.

All in all, while I wasn’t completely in love with What’s Left of Me like most people seem to be, I did find the book compelling and unique in equal measures. Eva is a wonderful narrator, and I liked watching her growth and strength. She and Addie are definitely two totally different girls, so the fact that they have to share a body – and only one can be in control at a time – makes for interesting developments that you definitely don’t see every day. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel and seeing how their journey progresses.



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5 Responses to REVIEW: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

  1. Claire (BWB) says:

    I found this book intriguing ages ago but I was hesitant it seemed like too big a stunt for an author to pull off. But your review shed some light on it for me, I think I’ll give it a shot.

  2. Merin, probably one of my favorite parts of your reviews is the fact that you have the “only one that hasn’t read it” feeling and most times I have also not read the book yet either :D It makes me feel less alone… although I suppose when you read it then I REALLY am the only one that hasn’t read it yet :P

    I can’t wait to read this one now. I had such reservations after reading some not so great reviews but I’m certainly going to pick it up now!! Our reading loves/hates are twins :P

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  4. You’re not the only one who hasn’t read this book – I haven’t read it yet. Although I think I’d like to. It is a really intriguing concept and I’m interested to see how Zhang handles it. That lack of detail about the world-building does sound frustrating, however. I also like to have at least a little bit of understanding when I’m reading a work of speculative fiction. The only potentially good thing about it is that this is a series, so Zhang will have other books to better explain her world. Glad you were able to enjoy it despite some qualms here and there!

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