What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Release: September 18, 2012
Source: e-ARC from HarperCollins via Edelwiess
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.
In the beginning, there's Addie and Eva. Eva and Addie. Two souls intertwined within one body-- sharing, living, and breathing in the world around them. In their world, every person is born with two souls. And in their world, one soul eventually vanishes. That soul is forgotten, while the other resumes control of the body they once shared.
Addie and Eva are different.
Eva fought to remain. She didn't want "settle". People whispered. Doctors were consulted. Until, by some miracle, Addie is declared "healthy". Eva is gone and Addie remains.
Except this isn't the case. Eva continues to reside within Addie's mind, unable to control the world around her. An observer, and nothing more. But people like Addie and Eva are dangerous to society. Hybrids, always in conflict with oneself.
And thus begins the story of two souls, told from the perspective of the recessive soul. The soul fighting to exist.
Kat Zhang's debut novel, What's Left of Me, is undoubtedly unique. In the hands of an unskilled writer, this book could have easily gone awry. Writing about two souls in one body can be tricky, but Zhang makes it work. And most importantly, she makes it believable.
My favorite aspect of What's Left of Me is the connection Addie and Eva share. It's so complicated and raw. They each have distinct personalities, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. I related to both souls, unable to decide who deserved to live or how they could live as they were. Love, jealousy, and pity saturate Addie and Eva's relatoinship. Again, I found it raw and surprisingly believable. Their close connection, however, comes at a price. They are constantly in each other's head, unable to live apart. Privacy is out of the question.
Now, I won't spoil the plot, but I will say this: What's Left of Me is a YA novel with little romance. In fact, the romance doesn't develop until the last 15-30 pages. Zhang chose to focus this book on Addie and Eva, so go ahead and let out a sigh of relief. Or not. Honestly, I kind of wanted a little more romance, and I think its exclusion will be a turn-off for some readers. Kudos to Zhang, though, for not drowning the book romance! It would have cheapened the book. Now, I am looking forward to how Zhang portrays this romance in the sequel.
My major complaint is the drawn out and anticlimactic ending. I wanted a little more promise of what to expect in the sequel, but I never really got that. Of course, I still have unanswered questions and a vested interest in the story and the characters. I suppose I just wanted the ending to have more "bang" and never got it.
So if you're looking for a "fun" read, this might not be your cup of tea. There is some suspense, some action, but this book is more about Addie and Eva and the society they live in. It's the kind of book that fascinates me and makes me think. I like that, but there will be others who are bound to find this book uninteresting and slow. And that's okay. As for me? I am eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Thank you, Harper Collins, for the e-ARC.
RATING: 4 SLICES