4 stars: A Great Read
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Hardback: 343 Pages
Publication: September 18, 2012 by Harper Teen
I should not exist. But I do.
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.
I don't want to imagine what it'd be like to be in Eva's position, watching the world pretend to forget about you when before they would call you along with the other soul inhabiting your body. Before, it was Addie and Eva, Eva and Addie, but now it's just Addie. To watch your parents sob with relief when they think you've disappeared. Eva hasn't heard anyone call out her name in years. Because of this, I don't know if I can fault her for jeopardizing her and Addie's safety for the chance to speak again and walk, just to feel herself in control of their body again.
Eva is compassionate. She doesn't fault Addie for being hesitant to relinquish control of their body or even for being the one to dominate all of their parents' love, for living the life she could have had. She's the more self-assured of the two for all that Addie has the outside friends; she knows that Addie couldn't live without her and keeps an eye out for her other self. Eva is the one willing to take risks whereas Addie is the meeker of the two and tends to follow the rules. Addie is forgetful, hesitant at crucial times, and dependent on Eva to make the hard choices. She can come off as self-centered, but she's a sweet girl. As much trouble as she gives Eva, she truly does care about her and does the best she can in her own way to protect the two of them.
The strength of the novel lies in the power of Eva's voice. In the way she oftentimes talks about her and Addie's shared body as "our body," their hand as "our hand," because it belongs to both of them. They're like twins, only closer. They share a life. The only difference is that Addie is the one in control most of the time, and Eva can only assist her as she takes them through their daily life. Out of all the characters, the two of them are the most developed, though their daily conversations with each other. I do wish that we got to see more of the other characters, especially Hally and Lissa, Devon and Ryan. However, it doesn't mean that they're any less dynamic than Eva and Addie. It only feels as though we see less of them because Eva and Addie interact with each other so much; and also because they are so heavily supervised at the Ward.
Most of the world-building takes place within Eva and Addie's head. We know that the Americas claim to have severed all trade and connection with the rest of the outside world, that hybrids are considered a threat to society, and that those who fail to separate are sent to institutions. Why so, we have yet to find out. However, it's all right for this book because Eva and Addie are still trying to figure out what the truth is; they're still fighting to stay alive. Mostly, What's Left of Me is a setup for the greater plot, and it looks like there's a lot more action to come.
I can't wait to read the second book in the Hybrid Chronicles. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the hybrids and learning more about the dystopic world they live in.
Come back Wednesday for an interview with author Kat Zhang!
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An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes