AUTHOR Kat Zhang
PUBLICATION September 18th 2012 by Harper
READ September 5 - 6, 2012
What's Left of Me tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl fighting for her right to survive in a world where two souls are born into each body and one is doomed to disappear. Pitched as The Golden Compass meets Girl, Interrupted.From the first moment I saw the stunning cover for What's Left of Me my cover lust was peaked. It is so gorgeous, and the dual faces provide the perfect level of symbolism for what is to come within the novel. Kat Zhang presents us with a world in which all humans are born with two souls. People are raised with two names and are expected to settle at the age of 10. To settle, is to have the recessive soul go away and the dominant soul be the sole inhabitant of the body. Now, a story where everything goes according to plan would not be a very good story! So we have people who don't settle when they are supposed to and they go on living with both souls still intact, these people are referred to as hybrids.
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.
This is where the novel was a little lacking for me, so I guess I will start there. Hybrids are feared in this world, there are advertisements on TV that warn of them and state that anyone who sees a hybrid should report them immediately "Just one call, for the safety of your children, your family, your country." I'll admit, I scratched my head a lot during this novel because hybrids come across as something to be feared, a threat to society. But there was never any evidence, or examples of how this is true. I don't recall reading anything about how they could hurt people and deserve to be abandoned by their families as if they never mattered. I think that because of this, some of the desperation I was supposed to feel as the story wore on was lost on me. I was just wondering... why?
That being said there were a lot of parts of this novel that fascinated me. The idea of that little voice inside your head being a person unto its own is mind blowing! I have so many questions about how all of this works. Do the hybrids have two separate jobs? Love lives? Friendships? There are so many directions that Zhang can take this series and I can say that I have a longing to leave America and find out exactly how the hybrids live. But alas, we don't get that in the first installment in this series. We get to follow Addie/Eva and her hybrid friends as they are taken to the Nornand Clinic to be "fixed". Addie/Eva was a character that really appealed to me, her inner dialogue of course gave a whole new meaning to inner dialogue! We are treated to them conversing with each other inside their head about what was going on. They don't go to Nornand alone they go with their friends Hally/Lissa and Devon/Ryan who are brother and sister. The desperation felt between these two siblings to keep them safe definitely added a layer to the story that I could connect with.
While I did leave this novel with way too many questions, I did really enjoy it. I can't say that I felt like the world was perfectly developed because a lot of the motivations for people's actions made no sense to me and I wanted to know a lot more about the "why" of it all. This being a series though there is definitely more time to get those answers out there, and I guess the author wanted to be sure that we came back for more.