My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kat Zhang has built a world here much like our own but with one very key difference, one that has changed history as we know it — all human beings are born with two souls in their body. In the United States adults, however, are expected to have only one soul. So what happens in between? It’s called settling. One soul, the more dominant one, is supposed to take over, and the recessive soul simply fade away. But in the case of Addie and Eva, that never happened. Addie/Eva is what is called a hybrid, and the government hunts and extinguishes hybrids, lest the chaos of the rest of the world where hybrids rule be allowed to happen here. And so Eva, who is our narrator, remains hidden deep inside of Addie’s mind, just a passenger in her own body.
Until the day when Addie/Eva meets Hally and her brother Devon, who, it turns out, are actually Hally/Lissa and Devon/Ryan, two more hybrids in hiding. Hally/Lissa and Devon/Ryan help Eva to begin to relearn how to control her body, how to speak, how to interact with the world. But when the three of them get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, everything begins to slide quickly out of control.
In addition to the very clever main plot point, this book has many elements of a successful YA dystopia — a super controlling government using fear and lies to control the populace, a conflicted main character who has to learn to turn what she has always been told is a weakness in herself into a strength, and even a little love triangle (or should we call it a quadrangle, since there are two souls in each of their bodies?). Although it started a little slowly, the action picked up after the first few chapters and sucked me in for the rest of the book. It wasn’t my favorite by a long shot, and there were moments when the writing lagged or was unclear despite the clever plotting, but I would definitely read the sequel, and I think my middle school kids will love it.