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.
To be completely honest, this book took me by surprise. The concept of having two souls in one body reminded me a lot of multiple personality disorder, and in fact, for some time I thought that maybe the whole “hybrid” thing was a metaphor for that. However, once you get into the story, you realize that this book is actually set in an alternate world where every one is born with two souls: a dominant soul and a recessive soul. Imagine living with another soul for the first years of your life; having a constant companion by your side, and always having someone to talk to and who could understand you. But then imagine that other soul fading away, until they weren’t there anymore.
This book is about how in Eva and Addie’s case, Eva (the recessive soul) never went away. I think it was a great decision on the author’s part to write the book from Eva’s point of view, because through her we get to experience what it’s actually like to feel as repressed and alone as Eva does. She has to do what Addie wants to, all the time. Eva has no independent will, no independent thought. Addie and Eva are literally the same person, except that Addie is the one that controls the body. The relationship between them was so distinctly unique, because I would’ve expected there to be some wicked jealousy coming from Eva, but there was nothing but. Eva is kind and selfless, and just wants to experience life like we all do. She doesn’t blame Addie, because how can she?
“I was terrified. I was eleven years old, and though I'd been told my entire life that it was entirely natural for the recessive soul to fade away, I didn't want to go. I wanted twenty thousand more sunrises, three thousand more hot summer days at the pool. I wanted to know what it was like to have a first kiss. The other recessives were lucky to have disappeared at four or five. They knew less.”
This book takes some time to get to the “good part” because the beginning is us getting used to Eva and Addie’s relationship, learning more about why there was only supposed to be one soul, and just getting the overall feel of how society reacts to people who are hybrids. However, once we get past that, the book quickly delves more into the sci-fi aspect of it all, including conspiracies, medical testings, secrets, plot twists, and heaps of action. I needed to know MORE.
The audiobook narrator is really good. She knew how to give a different voice for Eva, and Addie, and she would always change her voice when a hybrid was speaking. In this way, it was easy to detect when a hybrid person would change souls, so I never felt lost. Her narration is also really emotional, and I found myself more than once with a really strong emotional reaction to everything that was going on. Kim Mai Guest really made me connect to the story much more than if I had read the physical book.
The romance here is very very slight. It’s almost not there. However that really didn’t stop me from smiling and giggling over the brief moments our protagonists did have. I’m glad that there wasn’t such a big emphasis on the romance, because it gave way to developing the story better, and highlighting the awkwardness of Eva and Addie’s situation (because would you be totally okay with the other person in your head wanting to kiss someone you didn’t want to?).
Overall, while the pace is slow, the book definitely picks up and gives way to a really captivating story. The last part of the book is just rich with plot twists, action, and stakes so high that you couldn’t predict what would happen next. If you pick up the audio, Kim Mai Guest does a really good job with her portrayal, giving the book another emotional dimension.