Friday, July 24, 2009

Read: "Splitscreen" by Brent Hartinger

Read: Splitscreen: attack of the soul-sucking brain zombies/bride of the soul-sucking brain zombies by Brent Hartinger, 2007, 97800060824082.

Third in Hartinger's series about H.S. kid Russel and his pals. Russel, Min, and Gunnar sign up to be move extras on the set of Brain Zombies which is filming at a local high school undergoing renovations. One half of the book is told from Russel's point of view and the other half- told as a separate half and covering the same time period - is told by Min.

This starts out as a great concept: zombies and hot lesbo action - I ignore the gay dude action parts which, I admit, make me cringe. A good job by Hartinger. I think Hartinger really likes foreshadowing.

Russel is "dating" Otto from summer camp. I write "dating" because Otto lives 800 miles away. Russel and pals run into Russel's former closeted boyfriend Kevin on the movie set. Kevin is still hot for Russel and Russel gets confused over whether he should dump Otto for Kevin. Min meets a hot blond chick, Leah, at the movie set and starts to "date" her. I write "date" because Leah is not "out" to her friends at her HS and the very outspoken and politcally correct Min is not sure what to think or do about this. Things happen, advice is given, angst is applied, decisions are made, a heart is broken.

Things to comment on:
1- I wonder how close Hartinger wanted to follow the perceptions of the two main characters? He could have stuck in a couple events that would have been recalled completely differently by each character. He did that a little by giving Min some inside info on a few things but he did not pull the whole he-said she-said experiences, or the differing eyewitness experiences.

2- Russel's lovey-dovey, super emotional personality got on my nerves again. So did Min's uncompromising stance on things. Min at least learns from her mistakes and experiences.

3a- The whole "love" angle anoyed me. I read this from an adult perspective, which is dismissive of the love affairs of teens. Yeah, that's not fair. But, so what? But, I call bullshit about the "Russel and Otto are perfect for each other" stuff. They live 800 miles apart! They see each other once, maybe twice, a year! Min and Leah start telling each other they love one another and do some lip locking (hot lesbo action!) after a few days of knowing one another.

3b) Still, I felt awful for that Kevin guy when he sacrificed his own feelings for Russel to cut Russel loose. That was a harsh scene, I felt for the dude and he was a fairly minor character. We learn about this from Min's story but her version does not dovetail into Russel's; this did not seem like a perspective issue like I mentioned above.

4) Not enough hot lesbo action although there is reference to a red thong.

5) I don't know if Hartinger intended one story to read before the other. I read Attack before Bride and am glad I read in that order.

6) Min's story did not become very interesting to me until about page 100 when Leah's friends really piss Min off with comments about shipping "all the to New what they did to all the criminals in that movie Escape from New York." That really sets Min off about hat she should do and she ends up realizing the sacrifices Leah would have to make by coming out of the closet.

7) Escape from New York is such a damn good movie.

8) I forgot until just flipping through the book: Russel comes out to his parents and lands in a shit storm. He doesn't get kicked out of the house but his parents are shocked and mortified and reject him. His mom is more concerned with her and the family's repuation than her kid. The kid has it tough.

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