Monday, July 4, 2011

Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

Split by Swati Avasthi

Pages: 282
Publisher: Knopf
Published: March 9th, 2010
IBSN:  9780375863400

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.

Split is an amazingly real and raw portrayal of domestic abuse and redemption. From the very first page - nay, the synopsis - I was hooked and emotionally invested in the characters' journey.

The characters in Split will grab hold of your heart from the very beginning and won't let go. They're all fleshed out and incredibly easy to sympathise with. My favourite character would have had to be Mirriam: strong, thoughtful, and calm. Really, she was the hero of the story. She wasn't afraid to deal with the things that Jace and Christian would rather forget and ignore.

Jace and Christian's relationship was dynamic and constantly strengthening, weakening, always changing. There's years of absence between them, shared experiences they'd rather forget, and secrets kept that stop them from becoming as close-knit as they were before. But watching their relationship grow from when Jace shows up at Christian's door is heart-warming and so true-to-life.

Avasthi's prose was spare and emotional, completely compelling in itself. The character arcs felt natural and were inspiring to watch. Really, there isn't a negative thing I have to say about Split.

Swati Avasthi has written an insightful and touching debut that anyone interested in darker, character-driven YA should read.

I give Split a 5 out of 5.