Author: Swati Avasthi
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Format/Page Count: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Purchased: From Amazon, after reading a review. I missed this title on its release year. I was so glad to have found a review by teacher/blogger Sarah Anderson, who I follow on Twitter. Again...another title discovered through Twitter. It now creates my TBR list. Thank you, Sarah at YA LOVE BLOG!
Synopsis: (From Goodreads) 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.
Expectation: High. I liked the YA Love Blog review so much, I Kindled Split the second I finished reading the review. I was extremely interested to see how this novel about physical abuse in the home played out.
Market/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
"Fightology Lesson #8: Relax when the hits are coming because it hurts less."
This book is nothing short of phenomenal! As we are introduced to our narrator, Jace Witherspoon, he is travelling from Chicago to Albuquerque---in search of shelter and sanity. Jace is one of the strongest characters I have come across in quite a long time. I don't say this because he only makes great choices and he's a natural hero. I say this because he is breathtakingly honest when it comes to his flaws. His brokenness and his vulnerabilities make him a hero to readers.
Jace comes to Albuquergue to find his older brother, who fled their abusive home years before him. But Christian has made a new reality for himself. He put himself through university, has a new life and a girlfriend, and he's changed his last name to erase the past he fled. He is less than welcoming when Jace shows up at his doorstep with his face smashed in and no place to go.
Christian's girlfriend, Merriam, who is also a teacher, was a wonderful calming character in the midst of the chaos. After getting over the initial shock of Jace's presence, Merriam was the mediator between Christian and Jace. Though Jace took quite a while to warm up her, he eventually liked her 'meddling' and concern.
I could not believe the raw honesty of this book. I was compelled to read on and on...like one is compelled to rubberneck as they drive by the scene of an accident. Jace's honesty is so brutal; not only when he's talking to others, but also when he is internally ruminating. It's fascinating to see him come to terms with the physical abuse he fled and the heavy secrets he carried away with him. He is determined to become a new person--one who looks and acts nothing like his father--yet feels somehow stuck in the role in which he senses he belongs. This is the reason he can't quite allow himself to get close to Dakota, the girl who helps him get a new job in a bookstore in Albuquerque.
With Merriam's gentle persuasions, the brothers begin to form a new kind of reality. Christian, though, is unwilling to talk about the beatings he took from his father. Christian has truly put the past behind him. In his new life, the old life just did not happen. The wall he built for himself begins to crumble, though, with Jace's arrival into his carefully crafted life.
Avasthi has woven a remarkable story of physical abuse in a family setting. Not only that, she has perfected the relationship of brothers flung into this terrible reality. The guilt, the silence, the covering up and the taking on abuse for others. Everything is just so real that it splits you down the middle. It was such an emotional rollercoaster of a read. I couldn't read it fast enough. There was so much riding in the balance. The highest stakes, for this reader, was the relationship between the brothers. Such an important relationship, that of siblings. I had to find out if Christian and Jace would make it. I needed to know.
I really don't want to give too much away. Buckle up, because this is a ride you have to take. It's a serious and believable ride. One that will let you see exactly what goes on behind the closed doors of a house ruled by the iron fist of an abusive parent/spouse. You have to read Split.
This book exceeded my expectations. The honesty of the story--the realistic portrayal--blew me away. I'd say it is a MUST read.