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Magan: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

book cover for WhatWhat’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang 
Publication Date
: September 18, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 356
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: hybrid souls, destructive government, sci-fi
Format read: ARC received from HarperCollins at TLA.

Summary: Addie and Eva are two souls occupying one body, one of which should have gone dormant, but never did; Eva wants the opportunity to fight back so she doesn’t disappear completely.

 

What’s Left of Me is a very unique and compelling idea: two souls born into one body. Before puberty, one of the souls is supposed to subside and fade away, leaving the other to dominate the body. This process never completely happened for Eva and Addie. Though Eva is definitely the weaker of the two, she’s still very much alive and with Addie. The complication is that the government cannot know. Hybrids are not allowed to exist. When Addie is approached by a girl in her class to help Eva regain her functions, Addie is hesitant. Eva is hungry for the opportunity to learn how to make their body speak and move again.

Did you notice my use of “their body” above? One of the most difficult things for me to grasp while reading What’s Left of Me was the plurality. I was trying to comprehend how the two souls were within one body. Eva (the main protagonist) always referred to things as “our body” or “our hand.” I wasn’t entirely sure what Eva could or could not do within the body. The girls could have discussions with each other (without being heard verbally). If Addie and Eva didn’t have to hide Eva’s existence, each girl would be able to “control” the body and her mannerisms or personality would take over.

That’s exactly what Eva is hoping for. She wants to regain control of her life again, while Addie is nervous hers will be destroyed. These two girls felt such conflicting emotions, and at times, couldn’t get along because they were experiencing such polar opposite emotions. While the story is told from submissive Eva’s point of view, I often found myself sympathizing more with Addie. Addie who was afraid to lose everything – who was the glue that held everything together. Eva could be perceived as whiny and selfish, and I struggled with her lack of foresight and concern about what would happen. Maybe that was a result of Addie always being in control? I almost felt as if Addie was the mature older sister and Eva was the bothersome younger sibling, despite that they were born into the body at the same time.

With the new world, it took me a little longer than usual to get into the story. I like a clear understanding of where a book is going and what I should be hoping for. Zhang definitely kept me guessing with unexpected plot twists and turns, which I loved, but I did hope to grasp the setting a bit more. Why were hybrids so bad (according to the government)? What happened in the war that made hybrids unwanted? Why were they being killed off? Some of these things were addressed throughout the book, but I would have found them helpful to know upfront.

Regardless of my drawbacks, I did find What’s Left of Me to be entertaining. I remember feeling similar emotions regarding the world and how the souls occupied the bodies when I read The Host by Stephanie Meyer; it took me nearly 150 pages to fully accept the world. While The Host a standalone book and over 600 pages, I suppose it is understandable for me to feel like I’m still seeking answers since What’s Left of Me is part of a series. I’m looking forward to seeing where The Hybrid Chronicles takes me next.

Goodreads | Amazon

September 8, 2012 - 9:38 pm

[Dystopian/YA Review] What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang | The Bawdy Book Blog - […] Publisher: HarperCollins Publish Date: September 2012 Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1 ISBN13: 9780062114877 Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian/Science-fiction Ages: 14 and up Other Reviews: The Book Smugglers | Rather Be Reading […]

September 8, 2012 - 9:02 am

September 2012 Young Adult Book Releases - […] Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang Amazon | Magan’s Review […]

September 5, 2012 - 12:39 pm

Estelle: Shelve It from Rather Be Reading Blog (9/2/2012) - […] by Elaine Wolf — bullies, camp, difficult mothers OH MY. One body, two souls — What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang Susan Wigg’s Return to Willow Lake packs reality shows, politics, romance, and family […]

August 30, 2012 - 4:32 pm

StephTheBookworm - WOW, this sounds really cool! I love the idea of the two souls. Will be getting this one from the library for sure.

P.S. this is my first time to your blog and it’s adorable. I love that two friends are running it together. 🙂 How fun!

August 30, 2012 - 10:55 am

Magan - Lisa, so glad I’m not alone in the needing Big Questions answered early on. I like to understand things & maybe that is a bit of me being a control freak & not liking to be unprepared, but HEY — it is what it is. Enjoy! Can’t wait to read your review!

August 30, 2012 - 10:53 am

Magan - BarefootMedStudent — nope, it’s different. I mean, yes, two souls are in the same body, but it’s not like in TH where they were reincarnated on different planets as different things. Different premise, but similar(ish) things with the souls in one body.

August 30, 2012 - 10:39 am

Magan - Anna! Thank you, ma’am! I just wanted this one to be a home run and it wasn’t for me. There were some things lacking & I wish I had more explanations & clear goals of what the point was. I am so looking forward to reading your review.

August 30, 2012 - 10:37 am

Magan - Alexa — looking forward to hearing what you think! 🙂

August 30, 2012 - 10:36 am

Magan - Jen! YES — zing needs to happen right away for me or else it will take me forever to read a book. My feelings have to be engaged pretty quickly and I have to get my bearings on a setting. Sadly that did take me a while with WLoM, but maybe other people won’t feel concerned with that.

August 30, 2012 - 10:35 am

Magan - April, I liked The Host a lot, too. I really, really want you to read this. It’s so weird having conflicting feelings over the book & not knowing if I’m alone in that.

August 30, 2012 - 10:34 am

Magan - KRISTEN — YES! That cover – very clever, right?! Definitely give it a shot! I hope you enjoy it!

August 30, 2012 - 10:34 am

Magan - Thanks, Mandee! I did feel very conflicted over what I thought should happen with the girls. Can’t wait to see what you think when you read it!

August 30, 2012 - 10:30 am

Magan - Lori, part of me wonders if she would have seemed so whiny/selfish if we had experienced both souls perspectives instead of just hers. Or maybe they BOTH would have come across that way. I’m not sure. Definitely give it a shot!

August 30, 2012 - 6:44 am

Lori - I’ve been curious about this book, but it’s also the type I’m a little wary of. I have very little patience for whiny and selfish characters. I’ll still give it a shot, but I’m not going to run out and get it. Fabulous review!

August 30, 2012 - 6:32 am

VeganYANerds - Great review, Magan! I’ve been wondering about this book, the two souls in one body sounds interesting and I think it would take me some time to understand it as well! I already feel for both of them, but mostly Addie

August 30, 2012 - 1:48 am

Kristen - So I just stared at the cover for a good 5 minutes. So trippy.

Going just by the summary of this one, it could go either way for me, but I’ll probably give it a shot when it comes out. Thanks for the review! 🙂

August 29, 2012 - 3:22 pm

April Books & Wine - The comparison to The Host intrigues me, because I liked The Host. I think I’d like What’s Left Of Me. Great review 🙂

August 29, 2012 - 1:15 pm

Jen - Aw man, I was really looking forward to this one, too. But I agree. There has to be that ZING! in the beginning (or at least a hint of zing) in order to keep me interested. Otherwise, I’ll just get frustrated and put that shiz down. Still, if it appears in the library, I just may have to get it and check it out. You know, if there’s nothing else to read (hahahahhaah.)

August 29, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - I am SO looking forward to reading this. It’s one of the books that I’ve been eyeing for a while, and I can’t wait to see what I think of it!

August 29, 2012 - 12:43 pm

Anna - Can I just tell you how much I love your “READ IT NOW” etc. icons at the end of your posts? Disappointed to see “request from library” on this one, of course, but I’ll still give it a go! 🙂

August 29, 2012 - 11:10 am

BarefootMedStudent - The premise of the book sounds awesome, but it sounds disturbingly similar to The Host… please tell me it’s not the case?

August 29, 2012 - 9:44 am

Lisa - Here’s the truth – I am all about the massive world building and the Big Questions…but like you, I need to get pieces of it early on or it starts to drag a bit for me.

This premise sounds unique and creative and a cool blend of sci-fi and dystopian.

In short, I’m down with this.

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