Split by Swati Avasthi
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 9, 2010
Source: Publisher/Author for Blog Tour
Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.
He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.
At least so far.
Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.
Split was an emotional and heart wrenching debut novel. I've never read a book that focused on the victims of domestic abuse before and Split truly took me by surprise. I started it during a slow period at work and got so engrossed I didn't notice a line of customers coming in. It was an engrossing and empowering read that I will be recommending again and again.
To begin with, I was immediately drawn into Jace's story. It horrified and captivated me at the same time. To think that a father, the person you are supposed to love and trust more than anyone, would actually harm their child is terrifying. Although the novel starts after Jace has escaped home, you still get to see flashbacks and feel Jace's pain. Jace was a strong character and my heart went out to him. He didn't deserve any of the torment he experienced. The flashbacks were horrifying to experience. At first I couldn't understand why his mother didn't leave her husband right away. But as the novel progressed I realized there was much more going on and that Jace's father would stop at nothing if he realized his wife was going to escape. And on top of that he was a judge... how could Jace and his mother ever win a case against a judge? And after being in an abusive relationship for so long, it must be nearly impossibly to try and stand on your own feet. Jace was lucky he didn't lose his confidence and break like his mother. During Jace's memories, I just wanted to reach into that house and save Mrs. Witherspoon and her sons...
Split moves at a fast pace and I finished it in a couple of hours, but it still haunts me now. The characters were all well developed and defined and I know I'll remember them for a long time. Jace was a great main character and I especially liked reading the scenes that involved his brother, Christian and Christian's girlfriend. They were both terrific characters and were so good to Jace.
This novel is very hard to review... it was wonderfully written with a great main character, and at times it brought tears to my eyes. I can't recommend it enough! I am so honored to have had the chance to read this novel and I applaud Swati for writing it.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars