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I Belong


Review: Once We Were by Kat Zhang

Once We WereTitle: Once We Were

Author: Kat Zhang

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Series: The Hybrid Chronicles (Book #2)

Publication Date: September 17, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062114905 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062114907 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

“I’m lucky just to be alive.”

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Quick & Dirty: Action packed sequel that progressed perfectly. With the unique idea, cute romance, and adventure, this is sure to be a hit with all young adult sci-fi fans!

Opening Sentence: We share a heart, Addie and I.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Surviving Nornand Clinic was just the beginning for hybrids Eva and Addie. They live in a world where everyone is born with two souls in one body. Eventually as you grow older the recessive soul will eventually disappear, but if it doesn’t you are known as a hybrid. Living in America being a hybrid is illegal and if the government finds out they take you away to a facility that tries to cure you. But most of the time the children are never heard from again. Eva and Addie were able to hide that they were hybrids for a long time but eventually they were caught and sent to Nornand. But before they could be cured they were able to escape and now they are fugitives.

They were rescued by a small group that is fighting to free all hybrids. For the first time they are surrounded by others just like them and they have started to learn things about themselves they never knew was possible, like how to temporarily disappear so they can give each other a little privacy. It is a whole new world to them that is both exciting and scary at the same time. There is also an underground resistance that is trying to gain hybrids more freedom and the girls are eager to help in whatever way they can. But soon the violence starts to escalate and the girls are torn on what they should do. All the stress and uncertainty has put a strain on their relationship as well. How high of a price are they willing to pay for freedom?

I loved watching Eva develop and learn how to control her own life. She was the recessive soul so for most of her life she has just lived inside of Addie’s mind, but with the new things the girls have learned it has allowed Eva to finally have a life of her own. Eva is actually very spirited and has a strong personality. Out of the two, I am surprised that she is considered the recessive soul because she is actually very brave and outgoing. She is also a very passionate person with a big heart. She loves Addie but the two of them have very different opinions on a lot of things. There are times when Eva can be extremely selfish but she never does it on purpose. Overall, I thought that Eva was a great character that had believable flaws and great qualities that made her very easy to love.

I was surprised to see a very different side to Addie. She is very shy at times and actually a lot more reserved then I originally thought. Out of the two girls she is a lot more observant and cautious.  She has a big heart and is willing to give up a lot to make Eva and others she cares about happy. Whenever Eva would start to get a little out of control, Addie was always the voice of reason that brought her back to herself. I sometimes wish that there were times when I could be inside Addie’s head just so I could understand her better, but overall I really liked her character.

Once We Were was an action packed sequel with romance and suspense. The character development was done perfectly and I loved meeting all the new characters. The pacing was good but there were a few times where it dragged a little, but those moments didn’t last long. The transition between the two books was well done and I loved watching the story unfold. You get to learn so much more about the world and the plot really thickened. There was a great setup for the next book and now I can’t wait to finish out this wonderful series. Lucky for me the final book releases next month! I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun, action packed YA sci-fi story.

Notable Scene:

<Are you sure?>

Addie pushed our pillow against the headboard and leaned against it. Our damp hair clung to our neck. A breath shuddered through our lungs.

 <I’m sure.> But her voice was quiet, hesitant.

Frightened, I realized, and I almost said: No, no, don’t do it, Addie. Don’t do it if you’re frightened. The last thing I wanted was for Addie to be frightened. Our teeth rasped against our bottom lip. When she spoke again, her words were stronger. <Do you remember how you did it? When we were thirteen?>

When we were thirteen? I’d been so angry then—I hadn’t even known what I was doing. I’d just wanted to be anywhere but where I was. Lyle’s sickness had started that year. Addie and I had fought, and in that moment, everything had been too much to bear. I’d willed myself to feel nothing at all, to disconnect from the world and dissolve like morning mist in sunlight.

Addie let me take control of our body as I tried my best to explain. Our chest quivered with my attempt at steady breathing.

 It probably won’t even happen, I thought, trying to calm myself.

Which was fine. Addie had agreed to try, and that was the important thing. We wouldn’t achieve anything this go-around, but Addie had agreed to try, so there would be other chances, and sooner or later, she’d—

There was a feeling like a balloon popping inside us.

Then Addie was gone.

The Hybrid Chronicles:

1. What’s Left of Me

2. Once We Were

3. Echoes of Us (September 16, 2014)

FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Once We Were.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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