In a world where all humans are born with two souls in every body, hybrids are the citizens who refuse to lose or sacrifice their second souls. Once We Were, the second book in Kat Zhang’s Hybrid Chronicles, takes us deeper into the hidden realm of the hybrids.

In What’s Left of Me, hybrid Addie/Eva struggled to share their body and join the revolution for hybrid freedom. Now, after being rescued from the Nornand Clinic, where doctors attempted to "cure" them of their hybridity, Addie/Eva find protection with an underground hybrid movement run by cautious, scheming Peter. In the safety of their new underground existence, Addie/Eva discover and hone “going under”—voluntarily and temporarily separating their consciousnesses for up to a few hours. This new skill allows them a little precious time “away” from each other, to feel more like actual individuals, and to focus on developing their respective relationships with fellow Nornand escapee(s) Devon/Ryan.

The secret lovers later befriend a smaller, younger faction of the underground movement, and they all quietly become more and more rebellious as they tire of Peter’s endless plans and precautions. But their collective rebel spirit, born of camaraderie and retribution, turns violent, and Addie/Eva are left wondering: Should they stand by and watch as a hateful world has its way with them, or will they be agents of change within it, helping themselves and their fellow hybrids along the way?

Young author Kat Zhang blends elements of fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction to compose a riveting, semi-dystopian narrative, both inside Addie/Eva’s head and beyond. Through a bevy of new hybrid characters, each with two distinct and dynamic personalities, Once We Were expands the imaginative world Zhang first introduced in What’s Left of Me. Zhang has only begun to tap the potential of this alternative world and its history, and with Once We Were, she has once again ensnared the reader’s interest to discover what will happen next to each of these characters.

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