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I finished reading a great book this evening! Split Screen is the second sequel to Brent Hartinger’s The Geography Club. Split Screen is two stories presented in a flip book. Attack of the Soul-Sucking Zombies and Bride of the Soul-Sucking Zombies both follow Russell, Min, Gunnar and Em as they become extras in a zombie movie that is shooting in their town.

The zombie movie though is just the backdrop for the stories. Attack is Russell’s story as he deals with three large issues: whether or not he can maintain an relationship with Otto (his boyfriend that he met in The Order of the Poison Oak) since he lives 800 miles away; what to do about Kevin, who has decided that he will come out in order to win Russell back; and how to handle is parents who have just found out that he’s gay and they are not taking it well.

Meanwhile, on the flip side, Bride follows Min through the movie shoot as she begins to fall in love with Leah, a girl from another high school in their area. Leah presents Min with several problems because Leah is not out and her friends are exactly the kind of people that Min can’t really stand. Can she keep the girl and bend her principals at the same time?

Hartinger’s approach to these stories is excellent. Min sets up things in both stories, “We all might be doing the same thing, being zombie extras on this movie set. But we wouldn’t ever really know what the others are thinking or feeling. It’d be a completely different experience for each of us.” And that’s completely true. Plot points that are left incomplete in one side of the story, become clear in the other, and it’s pulled together in absolute perfection.

I started the book by reading the Attack side and I can’t help but wonder what the experience would have been if I’d started with Bride That’s one thing that will remain a mystery. According to Hartinger’s website, he recommends starting with Attack, so I guess I picked right. Either way you choose to read it, I highly recommend Split Screen. And I was psyched to read recently that the adventures of The Geography Club characters will continue in 2008!

I’d also like to take a moment to recommend Hartinger’s books that aren’t part of The Geography Club series because they are great too: Grand & Humble and The Last Chance Texaco. You can also learn more about his work on his website: Brent’s Brain.