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.
-Great characters, excellent pacing
-Avasthi has amazing insights into the teenage boy
-A great 'brothers' book
-This would be the perfect read to get reluctant readers back on the path to reading!
The relationship between Jace and Christian is the absolute best part of the book. I love reading about siblings in books, and these brothers show what it means to be bound by blood and memories. Chrisian has already gotten away from the abusive home and has rebuilt his life. When Jace arrives, everything Christian ran away from comes back to face him. Both characters foil each other perfectly. Christian is the mature older brother who has to be this mentor to a kid he hasn't even talked to for five years. They have to rebuild their relationship.
Jace's journey is a heartfelt one. Something that I feel everyone should read. I can honestly say this is one of my favorites books because it felt so damn real. I gasped, I cried, I even wanted to scream. It's moving and provoking, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read something that is current and emotional.
Avasthi's debut novel, Split, Sixteen-year-old Jace Witherspoon just
wants to be a normal teenager. He dreams of soccer games, girlfriends,
and his love for photography that are not tainted by his past. Growing
up with an abusive father, a passive mother and a brother who abandoned
him when he needed him the most, Jace is afraid for his future.
Finally standing up to his father, he escapes his past that he just can
not leave behind and shows up on the doorstep of his estranged
brother. New friends, a new school and a new job can not hide his
abusive past and the secret he is hoping no one ever finds out. Will
Jace escape his horrid past? Will he move on and find the family he
always dreamed of? Or will he realize his past has become his future?
Read Split by Swati Avasthi to find out for yourself.
me, Split was a story that no one ever wants to tell. The pain, abuse
and heartbreak that Jace experiences pops from the pages of this
truthful read. Written in first person, Jace is able to tell the
readers what he is feeling and how he sees himself. The flashbacks to
what Jace had to endure living in a home constantly at war will make
even the strongest reader's heart break. I felt that Split was as
honest as a work a fiction could be in feeling the pain of an abused
child and now abusing teen. The voice of Jace is real of a teen boy
going through what he went through. Never did I feel that this was
written by an adult woman. It was true to the teenage male heart and
the teenage male mind. Avasthi really got into her character of Jace
and felt his heart and found his voice. If you are a victim of abuse
or someone who has never experienced anything like what Jace went
through in this book, you will relate to Avasthi's characters in some
way and you will feel the need to protect them. Swati Avasthi
completely succeeded with Split and I know she will continue to write
great things in the future.
Review originally printed on my blog Draw A Blank.
Random House Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.