What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Holy crap, this book was fantastic.
I went into What's Left of Me thinking it would be the stereotypical YA novel with poorly-constructed plot and characters, but Kat Zhang and her fully dysfunctional America proved me wrong.
What's Left of Me is set in a not-too-distant future version of America in which each person is born with two souls, and about halfway through childhood, the souls settle into dominant and recessive roles. The trouble with Eva Tamsyn, though, is that she--being the recessive soul of her body--never settled, haunting the life of Addie, the dominant soul, without being an enemy of sorts to her "soul-sister," yet being her own personal roadblock. But before you go off comparing it to The Host, by Stephenie Meyer, let me just tell you that this book is 10x better than that POS, and it is everything The Host should have been, and more.
First off, What's Left of Me spends 97% of its length never once touching on romance, and the romance that is touched upon is only lingered over a little bit in the end of the book. There are no theatrical firework shows when the heroine brushes the fingernail of her love interest, and that's where this book is set apart from its other YA counterparts. Eva, instead, provides the reader with a heartbreaking, yet quite fascinating, look at what life as the recessive soul is like, and Zhang is able to sneak in bits of world-building along the way. Eva and Addie were so distinctly-developed, and the other characters were fantastic as well. I ended up loving characters I never thought I would love, and I had moments where I talked to myself as a form of reaction to certain scenes, which is something I rarely do when it comes to YA fiction anymore, so I loved how attached I got to the characters and the situations they were in.
I tip my hat to Kat Zhang, for her writing style was so beautiful and new and intricate and, simply put, great. I was just hooked on every word, and I never found myself wanting to skim certain parts of the book, because I didn't want to miss the way Zhang described certain feelings, settings, or plot points. It's so great to see such delicate, yet forceful, writing in the world of YA fiction.
What's Left of Me is a fast-paced, heavy-loaded phenomenon of a story that will draw readers in and make them ask questions they can't ask with any other book. Truly an original masterpiece.
View all my reviews