Actual rating: 2.5.This review does contain heavy spoilers for the book.What’s Left of Me was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year. I absolutely loved the premise, even if I was a bit wary of the science behind it, and I couldn’t wait to read it.And now here we are and sadly, I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped I would. It started out great. I was immediately sympathetic to Addie and Eva and their situation, though I do wish as the novel had gone on that the complexity of their relationship and dynamic had been better explored. We get bits and pieces of it here and there and while those pieces are good, I wanted a lot more. Still, what we had was sweet and heartbreaking, and there are always more chances for it to be explored in later books. I was enjoying the book up until Hally and Devon, two other hybrids who offer to teach Eva how to regain control of her body, give Addie some tea that’s laced with a drug that’ll put her to sleep without her permission. They drug her without her consent, two people who are offering to help her and who are supposed to be her friends. Given that Addie agreed to come to them and learn how to let Eva take control, why couldn’t they have asked her to just take the tea, tell her what it would have done and prepared her for it? Forcibly drugging her only broke her already shaky trust in them. This scene bothered me intensely when I read it, and the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Why do this? Was it to make Eva’s eventual success at saying something more dramatic? To make the writing easier? It wouldn’t teach Addie how to let go and let Eva have control, seeing as how Addie’s asleep during this entire thing. Eva would be learning how to control her body, but Addie wouldn’t be learning how to let her when she’s awake. And while there is a mention of how this effects Addie, there’s little to no fallout from it. Addie continues to see Hally and Devon for Eva’s sake, and Eva’s so overjoyed at having talked that she doesn’t really seem to contemplate how terrifying the ordeal must have been for Addie. And given that the fact that Hally stole the drug they used from her mother’s hospital was later used as evidence against Addie and Eva to take them away, it felt like an overly convenient plot device that wasn’t entirely successful. Still, I kept reading because I was still interested in Addie and Eva’s plight. I wanted to see how things unraveled. The novel is very engrossing and addicting and the prose is readable, making a hundred pages fly by easily. It definitely kept me reading even when I was irritated with it. The science at times was a little shaky--the drug used to suppress the dominant soul so the recessive could take over doesn’t really hold up to deep thought. If it affects the brain, then it should also keep the recessive soul asleep as well. Eva doesn’t have her own separate brain that wouldn’t be unaffected by the drugs. The clinic they’re both eventually sent to also has some technology that can somehow tell if a person is a hybrid, and it’s not really explained how. It just is. The same problem exists for the hatred against the hybrids; we’re told they’re dangerous but we’re not really told why, and everyone goes along with it. While there were some good points to this, like the government making up stories of the powers hybrids have to turn other people against them, it was a weak point. Another weak point was, at times, it seemed like everyone had a little too much freedom. The book is listed as a dystopia and it does have strong elements of that, but Addie and her friends are able to talk about their hybridness out in public, in the complete open, and nothing comes from that. While they’re very short conversations, I couldn’t help but feel that if the dystopia was as strong as it should have been, they wouldn’t have risked talking about it in public or in the open at all. And then we get to the big reveal of what the government does to people to kill the recessive soul, and the worst point of the book for me. Addie and Eva find out that the government kills the recessive soul by using the drug Hally used to put Addie to sleep, by putting it into vaccinations that everyone receives. This is, of course, done without the knowledge of the general public and they’re told it’s natural for the recessive soul to simply die off. This is actually a very clever and good idea, and I would have gladly gone along with it. Except. Except we’re currently living in a country that’s got a very strong anti-vaccination backlash going on. I’m not going to comment or say what the author believes in, as it’s not my place and I don’t know her personal views. However, I strongly question the wisdom in including this sort of plot device in a book aimed at young teens that seems to uphold the anti-vaccination view, which is that getting vaccinations will do more harm to children than good. The last thing that opinion needs is more encouragement, especially as we’re already facing some of the affects of it: Parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, causing them to get sick, causing other children to get sick, and causing older people who the vaccinations have weakened on to get sick as well. It makes sense, in the world of the story. But I found it an intensely uncomfortable plot device to use and message to send. It seriously hurt my opinion of the story, which I had still been enjoying up until that point. Especially where this is concerned, I think you need to be intensely aware of the message you’re sending out to your readers. I didn’t entirely hate What’s Left of Me, but there were several issues that kept me from truly loving it like I had hoped. I may still read the rest of the series, because I’m still interested in seeing how Addie and Eva’s story unfolds. But I’m going to be very, very wary of doing so in the future.