Reviews for What's Left of Me

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
Eva and Addie were born as two individual souls in a single body. Though one soul, Eva, was supposed to fade away--or settle--she remained alongside Addie, defying convention and government law. Now 15 and publicly known only as Addie, Eva lacks corporeal abilities but still has a voice, and the girls communicate and coexist internally. But concealing being a hybrid is getting harder, especially after Eva learns that classmate Hally/Lissa and her brother, Devon/Ryan, are hidden hybrids, too. Then their secret is discovered, and Eva/Addie are taken to Nornand Clinic for treatment, and survival--for both souls--means a dangerous escape. The Hybrid Chronicles series opener touches on provocative concepts and themes, such as the impact of bigotry and bias on lives. Eva's internal first-person narrative intricately, if densely, details her--and sometimes Addie's--thoughts, feelings, and events. Despite some predictable story elements and the occasionally confusing use of collective and individual pronouns, this debut offers an intriguing depiction of sibling relationships and the challenges of learning to live as distinct, though not physically separate, individuals. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
In this first book of an anticipated series, humans are born with two souls (one dominant, one recessive) that are presumed to naturally merge in childhood. Eva and Addie, taken for experimentation and forced melding, get a glimpse into the motivations and dark secrets behind the souls each body contains. Awkward dialogue and underdeveloped world-building are balanced with sharp characters and a clever premise.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
An unsettling dystopian adventure of two souls trapped in a single body. Like all children, Addie and Eva were born as two souls in the same body. As young children, the two personalities were both loved and indulged by their parents, but, unlike all the other children, Addie and Eva didn't "settle." In settling, the dominant soul takes over the single body and the recessive soul fades away. Children who don't settle are labeled hybrids and institutionalized. At age 6, Addie and Eva started seeing specialists to hasten the settling process, but the years of treatments have been unsuccessful. To hide their shame, Addie takes the dominant role and Eva becomes invisible to the outside world, thereby convincing society that they are not a hybrid. However, when an experiment with their classmates goes wrong, Addie/Eva find themselves institutionalized and wrestling with what it means to have a voice. Brackets within the text differentiate Addie's external communication and Eva's internal dialogue with Addie, helping to clarify who is speaking when. Worldbuilding is a little on the thin side, but Addie and Eva's emotions are more than enough to carry readers along. A thought-provoking first installment in a series that unflinchingly takes on ethically challenging topics. (Dystopia. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #1

First in the Hybrid Chronicles, Zhang's debut novel, set in a xenophobic alternate America, is narrated by 15-year-old Eva, who shares a body with her "sister," Addie. The girls are a "hybrid," with Addie controlling motor function and acting as their public persona. They live in a society in which hybrids have been forbidden for decades. "Settling"--allowing the dominant soul to assert itself-- is mandatory, so Eva's existence must remain secret, even from their family. Soon after Addie and Eva meet two other hybrids, they are all in danger of being discovered and taken away for treatment. Addressing issues of identity, ethics, and choice, Zhang's concept is original and provocative; the deep bond between Eva and Addie (the shifts between I, we, and she in Eva's narration are especially haunting) and the mystery about why their society is so desperate to "fix" hybrids are riveting. An abundance of questions remain, even after Zhang's well-orchestrated nail-biter of an ending. Zhang's singular premise all but guarantees that readers will be eagerly awaiting those answers in the next installment. Ages 13-up. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen, Stonesong. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September

Gr 8 Up--Everyone is born with a twin: two souls-one body. Only, in America, it's illegal to remain that way-to be a hybrid. The dominant soul is supposed to take over, and the recessive, or weaker one is supposed to disappear, usually by the time the child is six. But even though Addie was the stronger soul, Eva held on. Despite the fact that she could no longer move or speak to anyone but Addie, she didn't go away. Now that they are teens, Addie and Eva have adopted rules of behavior in order to survive: don't stand out, don't be exceptional, blend in at all costs. But then the girls become friends with Hally and her brother, Devon, and the siblings show the sisters that there's another way to live-Eva can reemerge. But Eva's freedom comes at high price: imprisonment in a hospital that wants to "cure" kids of being hybrids and where patients who "go home" are never heard from again. This uniquely imagined novel doesn't fall short in the execution. Zhang's prose is lovely, and the plot is compelling to the last page. If there's one complaint to be made it's that the differences in characterization of the hybrid siblings are very subtle, and it's occasionally difficult to immediately see the change when different personalities take over. It will be easy to categorize this book as yet another dystopian novel, but it is remarkable and will stand out from the rest.--Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

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