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.
©2012 Kat Zhang (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
The publisher summary does not do this book justice and makes it seem frivolous. I wish it would be re-written somehow.
This book is really well done. I am not a young adult. But am a huge sci-fi fan so will read anything good in that genre. This book transcends its teen classification I think, and I suspect people of many age groups can enjoy it.
It is incredibly well written with characters you will come to care about and identify with, even though they live in a world that is completely different from the reality we know... or is it?
Substitute the world "hybrid" for any kind of "different" or any kind of out of favor or hunted/ discriminated against group in our world (unattractive, gay, disabled, of a particular religion, or no religion at all, a minority race, etc - any arbitrary thing a society may refuse to accept as part of human nature and choose to define as "other" or evil). Then imagine your very best friend or your brother or sister or daughter or son or mother, father, etc, in that role of the different, and shunned by the world, expected not to exist - and then imagine you are intrinsically linked to that person, physically in the same body, as close as any 2 people can be, and you are that person's only hope, only chance, but it comes at your own incredible peril...
Now, imagine being the unwanted being in that scenario, totally powerless, with only your one soul mate who you love sharing your body to defend you, to help you. You are powerless and must be hidden as a your existence is a crime, but you have all the needs and hopes and wishes of any being.
Ok, so the premise is very interesting - but many books have interesting premises and fall short. This one does not. It is well written, the story is intelligently developed, the characters are interesting and compelling the plot and theme very well paced.
The reader does a great job too.
Unfortunately, it falls prey to what many of these teen sci-fi stories do, and kind of has a bit of a non-ending, and a set up for a sequel. It is so common, such an ubiquitous book sales trick in this genre that I hate to even single it out for criticism, as I know that is the norm - I just wish the authors could make the first book feel a bit more complete, while still leaving room for a sequel - some do that very well and I think the author of this had that ability. Unfortunately, it sort of just stops with hints of what will come next in an unfinished feeling way - but as I said, so many do that, so I hate to single this out.
However, aside from that one criticism, it isn't a silly romance like so many are, though has the beginnings of some solid relationships that are well fleshed out, but the main thrust of the story is the plight of these persecuted beings, and their struggle. It is suspenseful, well-paced and really compelling at times. Well worth a listen.
The narrator did a decent job, but I just couldn't accept the story. Too many questions about this world...my suspension of disbelief would not allow me to stop questioning. Is this an alternate universe/reality? The future? How is it that people are born with two souls? Has it always been that way or did something happen that caused it? Why are the alphabetically first the most likely to be a dominant soul? Why are hybrids a threat? Who cares?
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