What’s Left of Me
By Kat Zhang
Publication date: Sept. 18, 2012
Harper, 358 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
I just adored What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang. You guys, this one’s a thinker!
First of all, the concept is creepy as hell. Let’s just address that straight up. In this society, everyone is born with two souls who share a single body. In time, one becomes dominate and the other one just fades away. Only, Eva never faded. AHHH CREEPY. CREEPY CREEPY CREEPY. But, like, also brilliant.
Because what Kat Zhang is able to do with this concept is to invite us into Eva’s sheltered, lonely world. As a reader, you feel how trapped she is, day in and day out. It’s quite heartbreaking. But it’s so inspiring to also feel her resilience to be heard and to see how Addie sacrifices everything, as difficult as it is, to give her other half a chance at life.
I’m not sure where this series will go from here — the ending is uplifting but so uncertain. I can’t wait to see what Zhang has in store for Eva and Addie next.
PS: To those who have read this book: Did it make you want to watch “Abby and Brittany” to see how the conjoined twins might be dealing with similar issues? I haven’t seen it yet, but it definitely made me wonder.