Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

Title: Split
Author: Swati Avasthi
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 9th 2010
Pages: 280
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

 My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wow. I just finished Split, and I'm having the hardest time organizing my thoughts. I am completely overwhelmed and in awe of this book. It's too amazing to put in words.

Honestly, I didn't love Split from the start. I can't even remember why, but I wasn't immediately sucked in by the story - maybe it's just because I've been super busy with school and it took me a while to read the novel. But, in a way, I like that I took my time with Split - it grew on me, and it made me fall in love with the story slowly - even while I wasn't reading, I found myself thinking about it constantly.

The idea for Split is great. I've read a few books dealing with domestic violence and abusive relationships, but Split is different, since it's about what happens after you make the choice to leave. I really liked that this book offers a new perspective, as it shows how deep the issue really is - even though Jace got out, he is still very much shaped by his father's abuse. I don't want to tell you too much about Jace's secret because of spoilers, but it's heartbreaking to see how hard his life is because of his dad, how it influences every relationship he'll ever have.

For the most part, the plot is fast-paced and thrilling. Split is a real page-turner - especially in the second half, I didn't want to put the book down; I needed to know what happens to these characters.

The writing is incredibly vivid - I felt like I was right there alongside Jace throughout the story, and I could imagine every situation perfectly. It makes the story even more real, raw, and heartbreaking.

Jace is an amazing character. I didn't always like him, but that's kind of the point - he's not supposed to be perfect; he's supposed to be real. And he is definitely real. There were times when I wanted to shake him, but really, I couldn't blame him for the way he acts. His thoughts are so complex and offer a whole new perspective on abuse, the long-term effects I'd never even thought about. Jace's voice is so real, I feel like I've known him forever.

Christian is a fascinating character, too. The relationship between him and Jace is one of the things I liked best about Split - the ups and downs are perfectly done. I would love to see what it's been like for him - his decision to leave the family, how he dealt with knowing Jace and their mom were left behind, how he built a life for himself, and what it's like for him when, years later, his younger brother shows up at his door. I would love to read another version of Split, written from his point of view.

I also loved Mirriam. She added a unique way of seeing things, and I love how she kept trying to get Jace and Christian to open up. Reading the story from her perspective would be interesting, too. Really, if it were up to me, Swati Avasthi would spend the rest of her life writing new versions of Split, from each character's point of view, and I would read every version.

The ending is perfect. Somehow, it broke my heart and put it back together again, at the same time. I wanted the happily-ever-after for each character, but it's just not realistic, so I'm glad the author went with this ending - the perfect tie between heartbreaking and hopeful.

There are so many more amazing things about Split that I can't even put in words. It's dark, raw, powerful and disturbing, in a good way, and it offers unique insight into the lives of abuse victims. Read it - you won't be disappointed.

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. I loved this book as well! I'm so glad you liked it :) It's definitely a page turner and it stays with you for a while. I kept thinking about it for days after I finished it! Great review :) 

  2. I read Split in January & loved it.  It deals with a difficult situation and it is heartbreaking at times but it is also touching, hopeful, & real.  So far it's my best read this year.  It's on my wish list for books I want to own. 

  3. Oh my word! This sound really awesome and RIGHT u my alley. Why haven't I heard of this before!? I'm definitely getting this one!!

  4. Patricia's ParticularityApril 1, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I absolutely love the feeling of being overwhelmed and in awe after putting a book down.  It is one of the best feelings in the world.  I am in desperation to read this book now!   It sounds like the character development has been done perfectly and I a huge fan of character development. 

    The only other book I can think of that I have read that dealt with the 'after' affect was Sara Zarr's SWEETHEART and I LOVED LOVED that book.  I can't wait to be haunted by this book.  Thank you so much for sharing this one!!!


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