October 15, 2012 by Reader's Connection
My 2012 holiday gift list should include at least one teen title, and I’m delighted to feature Kat Zhang’s
What’s Left of Me. Delighted because the novel is narrated by Eva, the recessive soul that is still hiding within the girl called Addie.
All children are born with two souls inside them. But at an early age, the recessive soul is supposed to go away. The process is called settling. Addie-Eva hadn’t settled when they reached the first grade, and a guidance counselor told them, “You know, dearies, settling isn’t scary . . . The recessive soul, whichever one of you it is, will simply . . . go to sleep.”
Eva loses motor control after a while, but she’s still in there; and at a certain point, to avoid institutionalization and the other horrors that await “hybrid” children, she and Addie just begin pretending that they’ve settled. So the novel is written in the first person, except that the first person here isn’t the first person: Addie crossed the room, our nightgown gleaming white under the moon, our bare feet whispering against the ground. Just wait until one soul wants to kiss a guy and the other soul doesn’t.
What’s Left of Me is the initial installment of a series called “The Hybrid Chronicles,” and it’s perfect for anyone on your gift list who hasn’t quite settled. I haven’t, myself, and I’m older than dirt.