Thursday, May 05, 2011


SplitSplit Swati Avasthi

Jace's driven through the night, across the country, with blood on his face to reach his brother's doorstep, hoping his brother will take him in.

Jace's father is physically abusive. Jace grew up watching his dad beat the hell out of his mom and older brother. Then Christian disappeared and Jace's father started coming for Jace. Now he's kicked Jace out and he's on his way to find the brother who got out and left him there.

While this book explores how one does or does not escape an abusive situation, what it really focuses on is what happens next. How do you deal with the emotional and physical scars? How do you move on with life knowing that people you love are left behind? How can you get them out? Can you?

First off, Jace's dad is a judge. Major props for making this about a rich family. So often books with problems like abuse or drinking feature characters in a lower socio-economic class. Because they're poor people problems. (Ugh.)

This is a brutal book. Avasthi doesn't spare us the details of the beatings and more. Jace and Christian are broken. Their relationship is broken, and there are times when you don't think that they or their relationship can ever heal.

That said, I couldn't put it down. It's powerful and moving, but plot-wise it also moves really well as it shifts between Jace's life with Christian and flashbacks to Jace's life with his parents.

I wasn't sure about reading this one. It got RAVE reviews, yes, but I knew it was going to be a brutal book and a major downer just from the plot descriptions. And, of course, the better written a book is, the more brutal it's going to be, right? Or at least the more it's going to get to you. But, we were discussing Cybil's winners at book club (this won for YA fiction) AND we put it on the teen notable list for the in-system training I'm co-coordinating so I had to read it. I couldn't put it down. It's just that good. The pacing is impeccable and it moves really quickly, even more so when you consider that it's a book driven by character growth, not plot. Amazing, amazing work.

Book Provided by... my local library

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