Thursday, September 27, 2012

REVIEW: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Title: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Pages: 576
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication Date: 27th September, 2012
Format: Bound manuscript, ARC
Source: Publisher (for review)

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.

 --Goodreads summary

I've been so, so excited about this book ever since I heard about it. The concept sounded so unique, and something I would really enjoy. Then  there was the cover. I saw the US cover first, and I have to admit, that is the prettier one. There's just something so beautiful about the colouring on her face and the title in white. I think on the UK cover, the pink font looks a bit harsh against the light tone of the rest of the cover.

The relationship between Addie and Eva was what really took the centre stage, for me. The two girls share the same body, but they are so very different, making it more difficult for them to show everybody that they're 'normal'. What Eva wanted to try with Hallie and her brother, Addie knew was dangerous. Really, really dangerous. Eva knew it too, but it's not the same when you're the one fighting for a voice. Addie knew how much it meant to her sister to do this and her decision to let Eva have her way, even though it was such a massive risk, just about ripped my heart out. Their sisterly bond is something else entirely. Seeing them both struggling to be the dominate soul...gah, so many feels.

Eva's desire to be herself, to speak her own words and not to just be an observer trapped in her own body was so chilling, yet so powerful. I liked how the story made you think. A lot. The world isn't hugely different to our own, and it got me thinking about how life would be if everybody was born with two souls. If one of them just...faded away by the age of 10/11. There seemed to be a kind of urgency to the novel as well--the way Eva described how Not Good it was to be a hybrid. The way their society recoils at just hearing the word 'hybrid'. Utterly fascinating and sickening at the same time. 

No cliffhanger-y ending here (yesss), but I still had some questions that were left unanswered, and I'm annoyed by that, but also even more excited for book two, now. At times, I did feel like Eva and Addie were a lot younger than fifteen. I'm fifteen, and Eva came across as being so naive and generally unlike a fifteen-year-old. Oh gosh, that makes me sound as if I think I know everything, doesn't it? *sighs* There was times where I thought "this is not going to work," but I'm not going to lie it DID. Every single time. Everything about this book WORKS. The subtly of the romance, included. I mean, what's a YA dystopian without ROMANCE, right?! I liked how it didn't have a huge presence in the book. It made what we saw of it feel more special and I dunno, just nice, y'know? The relationship between Ryan and Eva made me feel warm inside. Like, there was hope for them or something like that, y'know? 

Kat Are you REALLY a debut author? This is probably one of the most original books I've read, like, ever. Everything about it screamed freshness and intrigue and I can honestly say I loved every minute I spent reading it. The development of the novel was done with such skill, and Zhang's writing made this interesting premise into a masterpiece; I don't think I can applaud her enough for that. WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is a captivating debut dystopian and pretty high up there where my favourite reads of the year are concerned. Recommended, y'all.

I was caged in our body and caged in his arms and, somehow, the former was the real prison.



  1. This one sounds really good! I must get to it soon! :)

  2. I loved this book so much. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it didn't leave me disappointed because of that. So glad you loved it, too, even if Eva didn't really feel like a 15 year old at times. :)

    ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

  3. Ooo is it that well written?? I'm very curious now! Maybe it didn't seem like they were 15 before of their nativity? But thanks for your review, I must add to TBR!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  4. I just finished reading this and really agree with your review being trapped in your own body is such a scary idea and it definitely went a lot deeper than some dystopians and makes you think, so much love for this book and your review!


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