Dystopian Teen Lit: Increasingly my favourite genre fiction

What’s Left Of Me by Kat Zhang

This is a story that takes place in a vague future in which America has made a huge number of bad decisions and is incredibly repressive of the people. But luckily one girl will stand against them, expose their treachery and fight back!

Said the blurb on the back of every piece of science fiction for teenaged girls published in the last little while.

So there’s like six  hundred and ninety thousands books with the same basic plot. That doesn’t mean some of them can’t be pretty wonderful. What’s Left of Me is an example of that.

In this America every body is born with two souls inhabiting it and the expectation that by the time the body is about five years old one of the souls will have just sort of quietly died, disappeared or faded out of existence. For Eva and Addie though that didn’t happen. Now a teenager, Addie has tricked most of the world into thinking Eva’s gone. But she’s not. She’s alive, and narrates this story.

It starts with Addie and Eva pretending they are normal because they’ve been brought up to believe that being a hybrid is dangerous, not just to them but to society as a whole. But everything changes after they’re befriended by a girl who not only knows about Eva but can help the repressed soul relearn how to control the body.

And I totally enjoyed every page. It was an easy read but still challenging in the sense that it posed some hardish questions about people, parenting, some hard core concern about medical procedures and the way we identify “sick” people, particularly when there isn’t a physical ailment. Addie and Eva are contrasted with their little brother Lyle who only has one soul and therefore is “normal” but requires dialysis on a weekly bases. Addie and Eva have a healthy body and are completely functional but because of Eva existing at they are viewed as sick. I don’t know, there’s definitely some subtle, and not so subtle, mental health issues in there somewhere, I’m pretty sure.

One part that I sort of struggled with was the way parents handled the situation. Much like the criticism of the Hunger Games regarding how passively the people react to their children being taken away from them, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something kind of fundamentally wrong with parents just allowing one of their kids to die, particularly as the book goes on and its revealed that people love, miss, value and cooperate with their other souls, and other people’s other souls.

Check out that last sentence. Sensible? I think not.

But as usual my favourite part – the relationships between the main characters. In this case, Addie and Eva who share a body, fight like mad, say terrible things to each other and at the end of the day absolutely do what they have to to protect the other. As they’re dynamic gets more intense, the book gets better and better.

For the record, I kind of liked the love… square… I guess… in this book.

And that’s pretty unusual for me.

Last movie I watched: Les Mis. Anne Hathaway…. you are …. spectacular

Last TV episode I watched: Raising Hope. Hilarious. And kind of makes me want my own tiny person.

But if I can’t afford a cat right now, I think an extra human is right out.

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2 thoughts on “Dystopian Teen Lit: Increasingly my favourite genre fiction

  1. Joachim Boaz says:

    It’s not distopian it’s dystopian…. just so you know.

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