What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang Review

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Title: What's Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Publish Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 343
Source: Publisher

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 a world where children are born with two souls, Addie and Eva somehow still stand out. One is dominant, and one is recessive, but for most children, one eventually settles while the other thrives. But in their case, for some reason, Eva hasn't settled. She's still there...living, existing, but not really thriving as Addie, the dominant soul continues to breathe and live for the both of them. Eva's existence has to remain a secret because Hybrids are dangerous, feared and threaten the balance of society. Nevertheless, Eva wants to live, and Addie will do just about anything to help her move and exist on her own.

The young adult market is overrun with dystopian novels these days - books that broach the topic of science fiction a lot - but never actually delve into the depths of it. What's Left of Me, however, is not one of those novels. Pure, raw sci-fi, this novel is a new spin on dystopia with a searing plot full of loss,  companionship and the struggle to survive. Kat Zhang has a melodic writing voice, weaving a soulful story in a heartfelt and believable way for a host of incredibly deep characters. The prose is simple and beautiful, albeit a bit repetitive at times, but altogether meaningful and creates an intense, emotional and incredible journey within the pages of What's Left of Me.

I have to say that the true beauty of What's Left of Me lies within the depth of the characters. I'm usually not too much of a fan of prologues because I feel like there is too much foreshadowing, but I actually liked this one. Eva's voice is so tragic, but rather than being cloying or overwhelming, I was actually heartbroken for her. She desperately wanted to live. She wanted to speak, and to feel, and to be able to simply do the little things that we, ourselves take for granted. But, despite her grave situation, she never wallowed. I pitied her, but not because she was pathetic. I pitied her because she had such an immense strength that emanated from her being, and I wanted to see that thrive. Likewise, Addie was such a beautiful character. Flawed but powerful and strong in her convictions, I felt like I knew her throughout, and as the story progressed, I became more and more invested in their journey together. I have to say, on the downside, I was a bit frustrated with not truly understanding why Hybrids were considered dangerous, and I think that would have heightened the intensity of the drama. Finally the ending was a bit of a letdown for me, considering the whole story had me reeling, and I guess I'd expected a more poignant conclusion to What's Left of Me.

Overall, however, I really enjoyed reading What's Left of Me. I thought it was refreshing, thorough and beautifully-done, and it was definitely a book I'll recommend to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy science fiction and dystopian novels. I give it a very solid 4 out of 5.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Seems like lots of strong emotions in this one and a dystopian book definitely needs something like that to make it stand out among the crowd these days! I've been wanting to read this one for awhile. Glad to hear you liked it.

  2. I held off for so long because I was sure it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but it was really, really good!

  3. YAY! So glad you enjoyed this book. I thought it was wonderful

  4. I enjoyed this book too! I loved how the plot seemed really unique to me, and I truly think that Kat Zhang was on to something in writing this book. The sequel (Once We Were) is out this year, I believe, and I can't wait for more of Eva and Addie!

  5. I have this book and still have not read it yet. :( I really need to. Great review!

  6. I put it off forever, in large part, because I was terrified it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but I really enjoyed it!


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