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What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Kat Zhang

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4306724,529 (3.71)10
Title:What's Left of Me
Authors:Kat Zhang
Info:HarperCollins Children's Books (2012), Paperback
Collections:Your library, 2012 Honorable Mention
Tags:fiction, dystopia, identity, teen

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What's left of me by Kat Zhang (2012)



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English (65)  Italian (2)  All languages (67)
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What’s Left of Me is a YA alternate history dystopia. In the world of the book, everyone is born with twin souls – one body contains two people. As time goes on, you are expected to “settle,” to have one soul become dominant and the other fade away. But Eva, a non-dominant soul, refuses to give up her grasp on life. Her sister Addie lies and says that Eva has gone, but in reality Eva is still trapped within. Eva and Addie are a hybrid, in a society that views them as unstable and dangerous. If they are found out, they will be institutionalized. Then Eva is given the chance to potentially learn how to move their body, and she would do anything to experience freedom.

“We’d been born with our souls’ fingers interlocked. What if we’d never let go?”

There were some interesting ideas going on in What’s Left of Me, but I don’t feel like they were ever fully developed. For one, there’s a lot of vagaries when it comes to the world building, such as why exactly the government hates hybrids and how the government came to be. Possibly the government focuses on hybrids because they want to give the populace an outside threat? But what are they distracting the rest of society from?

Addie and Eva live in an alternate history of North America. The rest of the world (besides possibly South America?) is almost entirely hybrid, which ties into the society’s fear of foreigners and very limited immigration. Two supporting characters are mixed race and hybrids. They have it a lot worse than Addie and Eva due to the intersection. Those two characters make me wonder if the “two souls” could be a metaphor for the immigrant experience, but I think there’s a lot of things you could argue the premise of the book is metaphorical for.

The most important relationship in the book is the one between Eva and Addie. This is how it should be given that the sisters share a body and are constantly with each other. The two do fight at times but neither can imagine living without the other. Although the relationship between the sisters got the most focus, there was a little bit of romance, which feels obligatory for a YA novel these days.

Besides the vagaries in the world building, the biggest problem with What’s Left of Me is that the plot just isn’t very climatic or exciting. It leaves me with no intentions of ever reading the next book in the series.

If you’re looking for a YA dystopia, you could do worse than What’s Left of Me. While the execution leaves something to be desired, at least there’s an interesting idea at the heart of it.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Nov 19, 2015 |
Such a bright idea for a new book. I feel like Kat Zhang could have squeezed this idea a hell of a lot more! I was expecting way more from this. It was okay to read, but sometimes it got a bit boring. ( )
  jayelaglez | Jul 31, 2015 |
It was good, but it was a little confusing. I still had a lot of questions at the end of the book. ( )
  PrescottKris | Jan 26, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this, and am looking forward to reading the next in the series. A thought-provoking concept (an alternate reality where two souls are born into each body). The book had a meditative, thoughtful quality, but never felt too slow paced to me. There was plenty of tension to keep me reading quickly! And I found the characters compelling -- I especially loved the rich and complicated relationship between Addie and Eva, and their interactions with Devon/Ryan. While the focus of this book seemed to be more intimate, on Addie and Eva, the larger-scale world was very intriguing and I look forward to learning more about it.

Also, very cool cover!
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Brilliant novel about two souls residing in one body and the danger these "hybrids" seem to represent to the government. Glad to have this recommended to me and I can't wait to read the next one! ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
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For my mother and father, in thanks for everything they have taught me about life
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Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls' ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our first breath.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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" -- from publisher's web site.… (more)

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