Addie and Eva have shared the same body as hybrid souls since they were born. Hybridity is common, but what is uncommon is the two souls not “settling” (meaning one of them has faded away) by the time the person is about seven or eight. Not only is it unusual for people not to settle, but it’s considered dangerous and a threat to society. Children who haven’t settled are taken to doctors and even institutionalized if their hybridity isn’t resolved. Now teens, Addie and Eva have pretended to settle, with Addie being in control of their body and Eva just being present mentally.
When they meet another girl at school who is generally left alone because of her strangeness, they try to ignore her — being around other people who stick out is not a good idea since Addie and Eva are trying to blend in with everyone else who’s supposedly normal and settled. But Hally insists on spending time with Addie, and it’s not long until they find out that Hally has a lot in common with them (yes, “them.” Throughout the book, whether Addie or Eva is speaking, it’s “our” hands, feet, etc., and it takes a little getting used to).
The sisters end up in a government research facility, and it’s not a happy place: all the children there are being experimented on and treated medically in various ways to try to rid them of their “recessive” souls and reduce them to one soul, one body. Most of the book is bleak, as there seems to be no way to escape.
Of course, the plot thickens, the dangers intensify, and there turns out to be a resistance movement. And, of course, some sequels yet to be published.
The premise of the story is fascinating, that there’s a society with two distinct personalities in every body, but that one of those is expected to simply fade away within a few years of birth. Somehow, there is an alternate history, with hybridity being common throughout the world and wars and threats from hybrids. Very little of this is explained in this first book. I felt that the big “shocker” near the end of this book would have been more powerful if we as readers had had more background information. As it was, the reveal had little meaning to me, compared to how it supposedly affected the characters. Even so, it’s an interesting book and story, and I’ll be interested to see how it plays out in future books.
Rated: Mild, for just a few occasions of mild language and a few uses of the Lord’s name in vain. There is some mild violence and just a general feeling of peril throughout.