Saturday, March 03, 2007

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

In alternating chapters, written from the perspective of Cal (Hepler) and Eliot (Barkley), we get a story of two teens meeting in a sleepy southern town. They come from different backgrounds: Cal is the daughter of a restless jeweler who follows the Ren Faire circuit, while Eliot has been relocated from California by his God-huckstering father. Their relationship develops and is threatened by Cal's mother's decision to move on.

Joint-authored novels (especially boy-girl projects) tend to suffer from a tension of styles. Usually, the two authors start off pretty compatible, but by the end of the project, the authors are visibly fighting each other over the plot line. This is a classic example of the problem. To their credit, Barkley and Hepler try very hard to avoid messing up each other's stories, but they are diverging so far by the end, taht it is like reading two separate novels (but with the same characters). Ideas developed by one author are frequently ignored by the other. The result is distracting. I think both authors could have written a decent story (although I found Barkley's writing to be stronger), but together it is a mess.

No comments: