(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins publishers, and Edelweiss.)
15-year-old Addie lives in a world where every baby is born with two souls; two different consciousness' living in the same body and mind. Between the ages of 5 and 10, every child loses their second soul, in a process known as `settling'. The dominant soul fully takes control of the body, and the recessive soul simply fades away.
Addie is unusual in that she didn't settle until she was 12. A fact that nearly cost her her life, but what nobody knows is that while Addie has full control of her body, her sister Eva still lives on within her mind. Addie/Eva are what is known as a hybrid, and in the USA this is basically illegal, if they are caught they will be experimented on or killed, so Addie says nothing, and Eva remains trapped in her own body.
When a girl at school Hally reveals herself to Addie as a hybrid too and tries to get Addie to admit that Eva never disappeared, Addie wonders if it is a trick, but Eva is desperate to find out if she could get her control back and no longer have to live imprisoned in her body.
Unfortunately though, Hally manages to get herself sent to an institution for hybrids, and tells the people there Addie's secret, meaning that Addie is taken too, and must now find a way out, before the people there try to take Eva away from her forever.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the relationship between Addie and Eva, and felt sorry for poor Eva being totally unable to exert control over her own body. Eva was such a strong character, stronger even than Addie who was supposedly the `dominant' soul. She hung on in there, desperate to hang onto life, not wanting to fade away, always wanting to experience more, even when everybody told her that she should be gone already.
I felt sorry for Eva in the way that she was treated, even by Addie, who at one point blames their hybrid status on Eva, because if Eva had just let herself fade away like she should have, Addie would be normal.
I also felt sorry for the other children at the institute who were being experimented on. It was so terrible how their other halves were being ripped away from them, and how they were told that they were sick and wrong because they were hybrids.
I really don't understand how people could possibly live with this kind of torture! Having a child who has two separate personalities inside, naming them different names, and then having to live with the knowledge that at some point one of them will basically cease to exist! I also find it very difficult to imagine living with someone else in your head, and having to share a body, but also, if you had had someone else in your head since birth, how would it be to have them disappear and be no longer there! The grief that the children felt about the loss of their twin was just so poignant, and sad.
I did find it quite strange initially that the story was told from Eva's point of view, but this wasn't an issue once I got into the story, and it was interesting to see things from Eva's point of view. I did find it a bit confusing at times though when Eva referred to things as `ours' - our arm, our sock etc. I also cringed every time Addie accidentally said `us' instead of I; convinced that they were going to give themselves away!
The whole idea of two souls in one body, and the way one was dominant did massively remind me of `The Host' by Stephenie Meyer, even though the story itself wasn't similar. The way that the two different people communicated and had different ideas and desires, was very similar though - not that this was a bad thing.
The story was well paced, and the finale was so tense! My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I was silently begging `They've got to make it, they've got to make it!'
There was a little touch of romance, but nothing too much, I'm guessing that this might be explored more in future books.
Overall; I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next books in the series! If you love dystopian YA, you'll love this!
8.75 out of 10.