Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

 Goodreads Summary:

What's Left of Me tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl fighting for her right to survive in a world where two souls are born into each body and one is doomed to disappear. Pitched as The Golden Compass meets Girl, Interrupted.

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

 Publication Date: September 18, 2012 

What’s Left of Me is one of those stories that will definitely stay with me for a long time. Although it fell short for me in a few areas, it was overall an enjoyable read with probably one of the most unique perspectives I’ve ever read. It reminded me in some ways of The Host by Stephenie Meyer, one of my favorite books of all time.

The narrator of the novel is the “recessive” soul Eva. Each person is born with two souls. By the age of ten, the dominant soul is supposed to take over while the other soul should disappear. However, in some cases, the soul does not disappear and the people become the much maligned hybrids. This happens with Addie and Eva.

It was interesting to be inside Eva’s head. Since Addie was dominant, it became frustrating to Eva that she was not able to control her body’s movements and the words coming out of her mouth. Addie’s frustrations were also clearly felt. Although she loved Eva, Addie only wanted to be “normal.”

Kat Zhang is an obviously talented writer. Her prose is clean and the pacing was crisp. Her characterizations of Eva and Addie were done well along with the secondary characters of Devon/Ryan and Lissa/Hally. As you can imagine, the dual soul thing was confusing at times, but Eva was able to tell the differences quickly. The book never explained how she developed the knack so quickly and I felt like maybe it was done to help move the novel along.

The world building was just okay for me. There were so many things unexplained that I felt it took away from the rest of the plot. It was not detailed how the dual souls came to be and why society was so terrified of them. The government is spending all of this money and resources to eradicate hybrids without a convincing reason.

I was on the edge of my seat for the second half of the novel. The book kept me guessing and I was pleased with the ending. Zhang is definitely a writer to watch and I look forward to subsequent novels.   

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy for review!


  1. I like the idea of two souls in one body. I would love to read What's Left of Me to fully see their struggles.

  2. All I can think is that this just took the concept of teenager to a new, and terrifying level. LOL!

    They're already emotionally conflicted enough... now... let's add 2 teenagers to one body! XD

    It sounds really interesting, actually... and I'm curious how the souls determine who goes and who stays... and why Addie would even want Eva to stick around. Interesting.

  3. The novel is definitely thought provoking. It's kind of crazy to imagine another voice in your head at all times.

  4. This sounds like The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Where the soul was inserted into the host's head and is supposed to squash the host's presence. Sounds like a great story!! :) READ ON!