Saturday, October 30, 2010

Split (Novel)

Split (Novel) Release date: 2010. Author: Stefan Petrucha. Publisher: Walker Publishing Company. ISBN: 9780802793720.

Plot summary: Wade Jackson’s story is an unusual one. After his mother’s death, Wade faces a tough decision about his life: should he stay in high school and be an upstanding citizen, or should he leave it all behind to pursue his love for music? In Split, Wade doesn’t have the make the choice: somehow his life gets divided in two. In one world, Wade is a straight-A student, in love with his girlfriend, Denby, trying to save the world from the dangers he discovers in the Prometheus particle accelerator, the main employer for his small town. In the other, Wade is a charismatic, indifferent musician. The Prometheus particle accelerator has been long shut down, turning his town into a shabby wasteland. In this world, Wade lives in the Rat, a coffee house where his sometimes girlfriend Denby tries her best to get him to commit. Each Wade has a vague idea that the other exists, mistaking their two lives for dreams. As things in each world get more difficult, however, it is clear that the only person who can help save Wade is himself, the other version of himself, that is.

Critical evaluation: Split is a very unique and unusual story. While there is a plot for each version of Wade’s life, the character of Wade himself is what the novel is truly about. It takes the reader several chapters to understand the “split” in the story. Each chapter is told by a different version of Wade, alternating between the clean-cut and musician personas. Some characters overlap between the two worlds: Wade’s girlfriend Denby and his friend Anthony play large roles in both, but Wade’s father in the clean-cut world is replaced by bar owner, Po, in the musician world. This “split” is the focus of the story, but it is this aspect that will be difficult for some teens to grasp. The reason behind the split is not explained, and when the two versions of Wade begin to interact with one another as separate people, the concept gets to be more confusing. Teens that enjoy cerebral stories will be able to invest enough in the story to reach the ultimately satisfying conclusion, but even science-fiction fans may lose interest. Petrucha has created an original novel, but, while the main character is a teen, Split is most likely better suited for adults who are willing to muscle through the initial confusion.
About the author: Born in the Bronx, New York in 1959, Stefan Petrucha has written a large variety of works for both teens and adults. A fan of horror, science-fiction and comic books, Petrucha began writing his own stories at age ten. Although he has always preferred creating fiction, Petrucha has also worked as a technical writer, an educational writer, public relations writer, and editor for trade journals. His first novel, Making God was published in 1997 for adults. Since then, Petrucha has written several more novels for both adults as teens, and has also written many graphic novels in the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective and X-Files series. Petrucha lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children. (from

Genre: Science-fiction

Curriculum ties:
Particle acceleration

Booktalking ideas:
Identities and personas
Life decisions

Reading level/Interest Age:
14 and up

Challenge issues:
Rebelling against authority
Challenge counterpoints:Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Recommend parent read book before child.
Recommend parent discuss book with child.
Recommend parent discuss running away, and what it means in the real world.

Reasons for inclusion:
Positive review from Booklist.

Reader's annotation: After his mother’s death, Wade Jackson’s identity split: in one world, he is a straight-edged computer geek, in the other, a footloose and fancy-free musician. As Wade’s lives get more and more complicated, his two personas will start to grow closer together.    

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