Review: What’s Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang

Title:  What’s Left of Me
Author:  Kat Zhang
Series:  The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Publisher:  HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date:  September 18, 2012
Pages:  343 (ARC)
Format/Source:  ARC/A friend got it for me from BEA (Thanks, Kim!)
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction, Dystopian

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. (Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads)

Tons of Hype From Everyone (Including Me!)…

When I first heard about What’s Left of Me, I knew I HAD to read it.  Then I saw that freaking awesome cover and completely knew that this book and I were a perfect pair.  So I put it on all my Top Ten lists and on a WoW post and just couldn’t wait for it to come out.  Then I found out that Kat Zhang was going to be at BEA this year and I begged my friend Kim from On the Wings of Books to get me a copy if she could.  But I knew that it might not be possible for her to snag one, since BEA is so huge and there are only so many copies of each book, etc.  But she was able to get one for me!  Thanks so much again, Kim!  I still owe you one!  Anyway, I got the book in my hot little hands and then had to wait to read it, but finally I was able to crack it open this weekend.  And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.

Sci-Fi Freak…

So, in case you didn’t know, I am a Sci-Fi freak.  I love anything Sci-Fi. Shows like Doctor Who and books like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams are right up my alley.  (Apparently if it’s British, I’ll probably like it, too!)  And YA Sci-Fi (or SF as I think they call it now) has got to be my absolute favorite genre.  Sure I like YA Fantasy and I’m growing to love YA Contemporary a lot more too, but give me some YA SF and I’m a happy camper.  And, just so you know, I consider Dystopian to be a sub-genre of SF, so yes, a lot of what I love is Dystopian, or Post-Apocalyptic (another SF sub-genre) or both.  (Check out my post on genres if you want to know more about how I categorize them.)

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.  As I was saying, I LOVE YA SF.  So you tell me that a YA book is about a society where everyone is born with two souls, I’m going to freak out and do a little happy dance and say “Where can I get it???”  Hence, what I did to poor Kim when she went to BEA.  So yes, I LOVED the plot of What’s Left of Me.  Not only do these two souls share one body, they’re like rogue souls because one of them was supposed to go away years ago.  And that screams dystopian to me, because of course they’re going to be a part of some kind of revolution of their society.  Excuse me while I drool at the plot line.

And I really enjoyed the characters as well.  I thought it was really great that Addie and Eva weren’t flawless, and I think that the two souls aspect really added something to the complexity of all the characters, not just the main characters.  

Such a Complex Tale…

And I do think that Kat Zhang delivered.  But there were a few hiccups for me (like one reveal didn’t seem as grand as it should have been, and there were a few instances where I said to myself, “I really hope she’s commenting on the negative sides of this society and not really saying that, because that could be considered offensive,”–and I do think she was just trying to depict this negative society, but it was hard to tell at times) and I wish there were a few more twists and turns and surprises, because I love it when I totally don’t see something coming, and this would have been the perfect book for that.  

But it had to be hard to continually write the way Zhang did, where instead of saying “I made my way back to the bus” or “Addie made her way back to the bus,” she had to say “Addie made our way back to the bus.”  And Zhang may be at her best when it comes to creepiness.  Seriously, the first time someone “shifts” from one soul to the other was totally creepy and I could see it in my mind!  And this story really reminded me in a lot of ways of my own work-in-progress, but they’re definitely still very different stories.

Great Quotes…

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from What’s Left of Me:*

“There, it was peaceful for now, though I could feel the start of Addie’s irritation like a dark splash in the corner.”

“Summer hadn’t even started its true battle against spring, but boys were already complaining about their mandatory long pants while girls’ skirt hems climbed along with the thermostat.”

“I put words on our tongue when she was too flustered to speak.”

My rating for What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang:

Actually 4.5 stars.  I really really loved it, but there just seemed to be something missing.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series, though, because I think maybe I’ll find that missing piece.

You may also enjoy:  UgliesThe Host The Golden Compass

Disclaimer:  I practically begged a friend to get this for me from BEA, and she got it there free of charge.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

*All quotes are from the ARC.  They may be different in the finalized version.

And be sure to check out my His Dark Materials Readalong + Giveaway I’m doing with Jessie from The Daily Bookmark, going on now!  We’d love for you to join us–it’s not too late!


  1. roro

    September 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

    gr8 review. sad that it had something missing.

  2. Becky

    September 19, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Pitty to see that there aren't many twists but I still have my eye on this one. Thanks for the review.

    Becky @ A Reader’s Devotion

  3. Jessie Marie

    September 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Sorry to hear for the missing bits. My finished copy came in last night (along with about five other new releases….. "bad Jessie!") and I just hugged it. I mean, full on hug that probably would have made my boyfriend jealous had he been there. Ha!

    I'm glad for the complexities and I loved the quotes you put there. Yay for SF Freaks! : )

    Lovely review, as always.

  4. Bittner

    September 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I'm so glad that you loved this one as much as you did! It sounds like you put a lot of work into getting a copy as soon as possible so it's great that it didn't disappoint you!

  5. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    September 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I'm sorry that a few things were not up to par for you but I am SO GLAD that it did not disappoint, cause that would have made me sad.

    I kind of want to read this one now, you are starting to dig into my dislike of sci-fi a bit ;)

  6. Kate@Midnight Book Girl

    September 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    This does sound like a good book, the only frame of reference I have to this is The Host, but I liked it. I usually prefer the fantasy side to sci-fi, but I'm totally going to give this a chance!

  7. Camilla P

    September 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I'd love to read this book! I'm a little bit SF-freak, too (God, I LOVE "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"!) and this caught my attention as soon as I read the plot. I'm glad to see you liked it! :D

  8. fakesteph

    September 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I have this one and am DYING to read it. Just need to get ahead on homework.

  9. pagesunbound

    September 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I have a copy of this, but I just haven't been excited about it at all–which stands in complete contrast to all the hype you've mentioned. But I am more optimistic about it now that I've seen your review. I might have time to pick it up in December….

  10. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    September 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, so glad to read the POV os someone who is!
    Thanks for a great review!

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