Kat Zhang is a student at Vanderbilt University majoring in Creative Writing. The first book in the Hybrid Chronicles, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, was her debut novel. You can visit her online at katacomb.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter: @KatZhang.
Gr 8 Up-Everyone is born with a twin: two souls-one body. Only, in America, it's illegal to remain that way-to be a hybrid. The dominant soul is supposed to take over, and the recessive, or weaker one is supposed to disappear, usually by the time the child is six. But even though Addie was the stronger soul, Eva held on. Despite the fact that she could no longer move or speak to anyone but Addie, she didn't go away. Now that they are teens, Addie and Eva have adopted rules of behavior in order to survive: don't stand out, don't be exceptional, blend in at all costs. But then the girls become friends with Hally and her brother, Devon, and the siblings show the sisters that there's another way to live-Eva can reemerge. But Eva's freedom comes at high price: imprisonment in a hospital that wants to "cure" kids of being hybrids and where patients who "go home" are never heard from again. This uniquely imagined novel doesn't fall short in the execution. Zhang's prose is lovely, and the plot is compelling to the last page. If there's one complaint to be made it's that the differences in characterization of the hybrid siblings are very subtle, and it's occasionally difficult to immediately see the change when different personalities take over. It will be easy to categorize this book as yet another dystopian novel, but it is remarkable and will stand out from the rest.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
First in the Hybrid Chronicles, Zhang's debut novel, set in a xenophobic alternate America, is narrated by 15-year-old Eva, who shares a body with her "sister," Addie. The girls are a "hybrid," with Addie controlling motor function and acting as their public persona. They live in a society in which hybrids have been forbidden for decades. "Settling"-allowing the dominant soul to assert itself- is mandatory, so Eva's existence must remain secret, even from their family. Soon after Addie and Eva meet two other hybrids, they are all in danger of being discovered and taken away for treatment. Addressing issues of identity, ethics, and choice, Zhang's concept is original and provocative; the deep bond between Eva and Addie (the shifts between I, we, and she in Eva's narration are especially haunting) and the mystery about why their society is so desperate to "fix" hybrids are riveting. An abundance of questions remain, even after Zhang's well-orchestrated nail-biter of an ending. Zhang's singular premise all but guarantees that readers will be eagerly awaiting those answers in the next installment. Ages 13-up. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen, Stonesong. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An intriguing depiction of sibling relationships and the challenges of learning to live as distinct, though not physically separate, individuals."--Booklist
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