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.
Genre(s): YA, Sci-fi
Series: Hybrid Chronicles #1 – 3
Published by HarperCollins
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Representation: (click to show)
biracial major characters (including a love interest), central African minor character
Content warnings – What’s Left of Me: (click to show)
past genocide, xenophobia, death of children, medical testing on kids, government conspiracy, gaslighting
Content warnings – Echoes Of Us: (click to show)
consent issues [due to sharing a body], on page riot, on page car collision, on page explosion, past genocide, past death of children, mentions of torture, blood, non-graphic violence
Content warnings – Once We Were: (click to show)
major character death(s), panic attacks, trauma, past bullying, on-page car accident, xenophopbia & racism, mass shooting
What’s Left of Me Mini-Review [spoiler-free]
While I’m always apprehensive about picking up a series I got into in my early teens, I’m really glad I circled back to this one. Not to put down YA Sci-fi/Dystopia as a genre, but this one honestly feels different. It has a fascinating, unique-as-far-as-I-know premise and avoids a lot of the tired tropes that exasperate me.
The characters and relationships really shine, which makes sense given their importance to the premise. The understandings between Eva and Addie (as well as other hybrids), as well as their individual personalities, are definitely a huge part of what made this book memorable for me. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s just a hint of romance towards the end.
Zhang has clearly given a lot of thought to the implications of the whole born hybrid but the recessive soul goes away setup, including socio- and geopolitical relations. Many smart questions are raised in this book; I look forward to seeing how they’re developed and answered as the series continues.
Echoes of Us Mini-Review [spoiler-free]
Considering this is a middle book in a trilogy and those are always hit-or-miss for me, I was pleasantly surprised. The emphasis seems to be on characterization and internal/interpersonal conflict, which was unexpected but I’m into it.
I’m also into the way the characters actually talk things through instead of getting mad when others can’t read their minds or naively hoping things will fix themselves — there’s still quite a bit of the lack-of-communication issues that a lot of teenagers (both fictional and real) exhibit, but it’s not all wrapped up in angst and unresolved grievances. Which, again, I appreciate.
Romance is still less of a focus than in a lot of YA books, but Zhang addresses a lot of the conundrums that come up when you and your partner each share a body with someone else: consent, privacy, et cetera. But overall I find the relationships almost clinical, because while I enjoy the intellectual exploration of these topics, I just don’t feel any sparks or tension between the actual pairings. I’m still rooting for them, though!
Once We Were Mini-Review [spoiler-free]
In terms of plot/pacing and characterization, this is consistent with the rest of the series — which is nice because you know what you’re getting into, but it can edge into monotonous: it’s a series of similar developments that repeat themselves, a lot of waiting for something big to happen.
So this is a pleasant enough read but not a very exciting one. The trilogy does bring something new to the table [setting aside the fact that it’s backlist], so I would still recommend it to anyone intrigued by the premise.
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