Split Second

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Split Second Book Poster Image
Strong sequel encourages teens to think about tech's impact.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Encourages teen readers to think about technology and privacy:  What does your government have the right to know about you -- and how much say should it have in where you live or where you travel? Would you be suspicious of a government-assigned computer program to enhance your brain? 

Positive Messages

Teens here must work together and use their unique powers to stay out of trouble with the controlling government. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Addie generally plays by the rules and even when she doesn't -- like when she tells Trevor about who she really is, when she has promised her government something else -- she's listening to her conscience. Laila is more of a bad girl, but she loves Addie and works hard to be a good friend to her. Addie's parents -- while no long together -- both are involved in her life and work hard to protect her.

Violence

Laila has a face-to-face meeting with the serial killer who tried to kill her in the last book. A boy punches another boy in the face. A girl slaps Addie. There's talk of using mind powers to torture people, plus there is the general creepiness of the government erasing memories, which adds a dark tone. Football players use their powers to injure other boys. Laila hurts herself twice, and needs the healing powers of a boy she likes. 

Sex

Some passionate kissing and sexy talk. The girls find out that their powers are enhanced when they have intense feelings, which occur when the boys they like are around. 

Language

About a dozen uses of "crap," plus "jerk" is often used in name-calling.

Consumerism

Coke is mentioned once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Laila's father uses supression drugs to keep his ability under control. He acts like an addict, tearing through Laila's room and stealing her money so he can buy more. Laila also goes to a party where kids are using illegal programs to alter their minds. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kasie West's Split Second, sequel to Pivot Point, also takes place in a future society where all the citizens have mind powers. Split Second will encourage teen readers to think about technology and privacy: What does your government have the right to know about you -- and how much say should it have in where you live or where you travel? Would you be suspicious of a government-assigned computer program to enhance your brain? There's not too much content to worry about: Laila has a face-to-face meeting with the serial killer who tried to kill her in the last book, and there's talk of using mind powers to torture people. Plus, there's the general creepiness of the government erasing memories, which adds a dark tone. There's some passionate kissing and sexy talk, and the female protagonists find out that their powers are enhanced when they have intense feelings, which occur when the boys they like are around. Laila's father uses suppression drugs to keep his ability under control. He acts like an addict, tearing through Laila's room and stealing her money so he can buy more. Laila also goes to a party where kids are using illegal programs to alter their minds. There are about a dozen uses of the word "crap," and "jerk" is often used in name calling.

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What's the story?

When Addie goes to spend six weeks with her father outside of the secret Compound where she lives with her mom -- and a whole society of people with special mind powers -- she doesn't really know much about Trevor. (Addie's own power is that she is Divergent -- she can see two different futures from any decision point. In Pivot Point, the first book in the series, she met Trevor in one of those possible futures, but had to decide on the other future in order to protect her best friend Laila from a serial killer.) But when Laila, a Memory Eraser, restores Addie's memory, Addie has to deal with another impossible situation: She has memories of Trevor and feels like she loves him -- but he barely knows her. On top of everything, she's being watched by Containment Committee, a secret police force that monitors Compound citizens when they're in normal society, who think she might have gotten special powers from the serial killer who attacked her and Laila. What will they do if they find out that she's told Trevor the truth about who she is and where she comes from?

Is it any good?

The plot in Kasie West's sequel, SPLIT SECOND, is stronger than the one in Book 1, Pivot Point. The story here is told in alternating chapters between Addie and Laila, and it includes more intrigue about the controlling Containment Committee, a mystery about Addie's grandfather, whom she thought died 10 years ago -- and a group of talented teens having to figure out how to use all their special powers to work together to stay out of trouble.

Also, the plot is easier to follow this time around, since Pivot Point had readers paging through two possible futures simultaneously, whereas this is just one story told by two different heroes, all leading up to an exciting inevitable face-off against the creepy Containment Committee. Will Addie be able to save her man from a total memory wipe? While this would be a confusing place for teens new to West's world to start, fans of the first book just might stay up all night to find out how the story in this suspenseful sequel ends. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reading a book sequel or series. What are the characteristics of a good one?

  • Would you be able to understand this book if you hadn't read Pivot Point? Should you be able to read each volume of a series independently? 

  •  

  • What do you think of the future society described here? Would you want to live in the Compound? 

Book details

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