From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—As a young teen, Wade sometimes talked to himself after his mother died. Fast forward three years as Split
begins: with two Chapter Ones, two Chapter Twos—and two Wades. They both live in present-day Rivendale with alcoholic fathers (one currently drinking, one not), girlfriends named Denby, and friends named Ant. One Wade is a high school senior and a computer genius, writing code on his rig and living a straight-arrow life. The other Wade is a musician, in debt to violent loan sharks, who doesn't think much of "scien-ticks" and "flashy drives." There is a sinister company (Prometheus) that may or may not be running experiments that could destroy the world. Petrucha's "all or nothing" style ("How can you not take it too seriously if you're the only one who can prove the world might end?") demands a suspension of disbelief, but many readers will eagerly go along to see what happens when the two Wades not only meet, but also switch places. It's frustrating that Petrucha never explains the dual universe, how the split happened, and how the personalities exchanged, but it's clear that Prometheus is the bad guy and that Wade saves the world, so that may be enough. Most of the character development is sacrificed in pursuit of action, but for many readers, a book that reads like it might be made into a movie at any moment is just fine. For a more authentic computer adventure, suggest Cory Doctorow's Little Brother
(Tor, 2008).—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
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At 15, the death of Wade’s mother paralyzes him with indecision about how he wants to live his life: keep to the straight and narrow, or drop out to play music. Three years later, he has done both. Alternating narratives—both by Wade—describe his life after pursuing each of these paths. Neither is depicted as being the “right” one, and each Wade has his own problems. Straitlaced Wade writes a computer program proving that the town’s particle accelerator could end the world, putting him at risk when the company discovers that he is likely correct. Dropout Wade gets in deep with a loan shark and deals with a higher level of criminal. The two Wades begin dreaming of one another and, at their lowest points, meet in the flesh to change places and fix what the other was unable to handle. The shifting action keeps the fast-paced dual plots moving, and teens will be entertained by the two Wades’ embodiment of the tension between being success oriented and following your whims. Grades 7-10. --Heather Booth