Jennifer at BookShelfery's Reviews > What's Left of Me

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
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's review
Sep 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, science-fiction, dystopian, for-review
Read from August 26 to September 03, 2012

Amazing concept, story-telling and a killer plot, Kat Zhang has created quite the page turner. What’s left of me after I’ve turned the last page? I’m still not sure.

In Zhang’s dystopian world of the Americas, people are hybrids; two souls – I hesitate to call them twin souls, since each soul is very different – exist in every physical body. It’s still the ultimate twin, though. The souls know each other intimately, they can speak to each other with just a thought, and both have the same definitive motor skills over the body they share.

But what if the government decided that hybrids were not a viable way to live? What if the government forced one soul to disappear – forever? That’s how the Americas deal with hybrids in What’s Left of Me. Soul-mates are ripped apart through forced vaccinations. And those who don’t respond to the vaccinations? Well…I’ll just let you read it for yourself.

Zhang has concocted a world is incredibly unique to both the dystopian and young adult genres. I, personally, haven’t read another book quite like this one that was so gripping and enthralling. She brings to light government corruption in a very controlled society who, for the most part, generally accepts that things are the way they are and it’s for their own good (rebels aside, of course. Can’t have a dystopian without rebels!). Her society questions no one. That’s what makes it so scary. And she wrote it splendidly.

Her writing is beautiful. Her main character is a recessive soul, one who should have faded away with vaccinations, one who slipped under the radar with the help of her sister soul, Addie. When Zhang writes the story of these sister souls in one body, and the world around them, you pay attention. You listen to them. You listen to the recessive soul and what it’s like to be forgotten. Because she has been forgotten by everyone: her parents, doctors, teachers, brothers…everyone but Addie. To write from that perspective takes an enormous amount of talent and I enjoyed reading it just for that fact alone.

Her characters are alive and real. Zhang takes time to differentiate between each soul and how complex and different they are. Scenes play out where one soul wants one thing (or sometimes, someone) and another soul doesn’t. How do you reconcile that between souls? She manages to somehow create the harmony and conflict between them and it’s beautiful.

This isn’t to say that What’s Left of Me isn’t without its faults. While I enjoyed reading it immensely, I had a hard time reconciling myself with the fact that Addie’s parents willingly gave her over to a man they had never before laid eyes on, based on his words and a few papers alone saying that he wanted to take Addie to a remote hospital for hybrid treatment. It felt like a very convenient plot-device so Zhang could take the story from point A to point B. I can’t see any parent willingly giving their children up, especially when it seems they love them so much.

I did like that the romance took a backseat in this story for 90% of it. Sometimes I get romancified out and I just need a break from all the bleeding hearts and cream puffs. Zhang nailed it perfectly with this one.

But minor quibble aside, I really did enjoy reading What’s Left of Me! It’s a very fresh twist on the dystopian genre and I think readers who enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s The Host will enjoy What’s Left of Me, for the sheer fascination of souls in bodies and the interplay between them.

Well done, Ms. Zhang, I can’t wait for the next book.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Sarah (saz101) DAJFHDLJFHADLJ. I AM JEALOUS. You've read this already? *cries*


Sarah (saz101) !!!!!!!!! DAJKFK:AFG. I WANT TO. SO BAD.
But it's not out in AU till Octooooober :(

Jennifer at BookShelfery Damn, really???? That's terrible! Silly publishing quirks!

Sarah (saz101) Riiiiight? And Spark doesn't come out till October first, either. Le'sigh :(
You know we got the first Mara Dyer book something like 3 or 4 months after you? O_o

Jennifer at BookShelfery Damn, I didn't think you were so far behind the US. I still haven't read the Elemental series....but it's now on the list. WANT.

Sarah (saz101) Well, some things we're not. We got Insurgent the same time as you, and most Aussie bloggers got ARCs. It's the same as we have the first four Violet Eden books and you're only up to #2 :)

Jennifer at BookShelfery Brag brag brag :D

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