Review: Once We Were-Kat Zhang


cooltext1889161239 copy“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.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars


  • Eva and Addie’s relationship intensifies as complications arise in their love lives. Eva’s personality dominates and as she fights hard for control, Addie’s submissive side comes out. Eva and Addie learn about each other and themselves as their need for space increases. They quickly discover that just because they share the same body doesn’t mean they can’t have secrets and that their opinions are constantly voiced. The drama escalates as each sister pulls away. Though they inhabit one body, their friendship is on the rocks. Serious development in each of their characters is accompanied by a rapid need to mature. Eva is slapped in the face by her own pride, her selfishness, and Addie learns the hard way that she needs to speak up and not let others walk all over her. 
  • Romance is on the horizon. As Addie and Eva realize they both need privacy to figure out their emotions, they become individuals instead of their usual package deal. Eva is able to test boundaries and explore her budding attraction to Ryan. Though hesitant, it’s playful and sweet. They fit. Addie is a surprise. The subtle hints that Eva dismissed were big to the reader. 
  • The climax and the ending. The build up was intense. Action-packed with enough hysteria and danger to drive the plot forward. The possibilities of death and destruction are endless. The fear and uncertainty plague both Addie and Eva as lies come out. They feel betrayed and hurt beyond measure. The emotions are potent and cloying. The ending was edge-of-your-seat anxiety. 


  • Pacing is slow. Several segments where not much happens and it’s easy to lose interest. 
  • Secondary characters lurch in and out of the plot. Even those characters with prominent personalities fade into the background. Familiar, important faces from What’s Left of Me were lost in this void of inactivity and there wasn’t enough reiteration of their background stories. I found myself struggling to remember who some characters were and their relationship to Eva/Addie.
  • Peter and Jackson, who had critical roles in the first book, lost their place as central figures and in many cases were an afterthought. Their scenes were brief and forgettable. 

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