book cover for What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Magan: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

book cover for What's Left of Me by Kat ZhangWhat’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.

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22 thoughts on “Magan: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

  1. Lisa says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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!

    • Magan says:

      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.

  2. Anna says:

    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! 🙂

    • Magan says:

      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.

  3. Jen says:

    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.)

    • Magan says:

      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.

    • Magan says:

      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.

  4. Kristen says:

    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! 🙂

  5. VeganYANerds says:

    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

  6. Lori says:

    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!

    • Magan says:

      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!

  7. StephTheBookworm says:

    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!

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