ARC REVIEW #166: Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2) by Kat Zhang

Title: Once We Were
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #2
Author: Kat Zhang
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Pages: 352, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained from BEA

"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.

"We experienced that day as we'd experienced the past fifteen years of our lives. As Addie and Eva, Eva and Addie. Two souls sharing one body. Hybrid. But the thing is, sharing hands doesn't mean sharing goals. Sharing eyes doesn't mean sharing visions. And sharing a heart doesn't mean sharing the things we love."
This quote really embodies what this book is all about. More than anything else, Once We Were is a book about what it means to be hybrid, like really means. Now that Eva has more control over her body, she's becoming her own person. And Addie has to meet her half way. And after the events that transpired in What's Left of Me, Addie and Eva are looking at an entirely different future for themselves. For both of them, this is a time filled with so much uncertainty. They are hopeful but doubtful, excited but scared. They are testing their limits, defining new boundaries.And it was completely absorbing.

I really appreciated how this book further defined the idea of being hybrid, and developed Addie and Eva as characters. I was a bit frustrated after reading What's Left of Me because I thought it was too idealistic. Addie and Eva got along great. They agreed on pretty much everything. Really, there was very little to argue over (i.e. no love interests to really complicate things, etc). So the concept of hybridity wasn't tested fully. But in the second book, Kat Zhang doesn't shy away from challenges, imperfections, or disagreements. Boys were finally in the picture. Addie and Eva had differences of opinion. They had a lot to learn about being their own person while sharing a body. This was more or less new territory that they hadn't yet figured out how to navigate . And while they still haven't gotten it completely sorted out, they have come so far from where they started.

In addition to the character development, Kat Zhang explored a bit of the underground hybrid circuit. We meet more people like Addie and Eva and find out about the movement that is ongoing to change the current attitude about hybrids. There is a bit of adventure and excitement as Addie and Eva get pulled into the action. And we see a bit of conflicting opinions on what needs to be done. I enjoyed this part of the story, but not a whole lot happens in terms of progress. I'm curious to see where Kat Zhang will take things next.

After reading Once We Were, I feel like I am a third soul that shares a body with Eva and Addie. This book brought me closer to them both, shared the essence of being hybrid, made me feel what they were feeling. And that is a gift. This story really is unique, and while it hasn't completely blown me away, it has definitely kept me tuned in.



  1. I really liked the first book and the unique concept, so I'm happy to hear that it's more explored in this part :) It's a shame that there isn't much progress, but I want to read it anyway. Thanks for the review!


    1. I was happy with this book as a sequel! I enjoyed reading it and I think you will too!

  2. Good review. I didn't really fall in love with the first book and hadn't even finished reading it but i think i'll give it a second chance.

    1. The concept is what really pulled me in to these books. I think the connection with Addie and Eva is stronger than any action that takes place.

  3. I really enjoyed What's Left of Me and I'll definitely be reading this book. It seems like a lot of second books suffer from the the no progress problem, but I'm glad you still liked the book. ~Pam

    1. Yes I definitely still enjoyed it. Again, these books haven't completely blown me away but I am still really into the story and I will be reading the third book!

  4. I'm so glad to hear that Once We Were explores the hybrids more. I was wondering what would happen if they disagreed on something or what would happen if the both wanted to be with different people. I'm really looking forward to reading about that. It sucks that there isn't a lot of progress, but getting to learn more about the hybrids is making me definitely want to read this.
    Great review! :)

    1. Yeah Kat Zhang does a good job this time around addressing all of those issues. I am happy with the turnout


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