Saturday, October 30, 2010

Split by Swati Avasthi

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 9th 2010 
Source: Teen {Book} Scene
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.
"My face will tell half the story. For the other, I'll keep my mouth shut and lie by omission. Someday I'll fess up, tell him the whole deal, and then he can perform a lobotomy or whatever it takes. But right now, I just need Christian to open his door, nudge it wider and let me stay." -page 2 of Split

Just by reading the first two pages, I knew instinctively that Avasthi's debut was going to be something wonderful. My instinct proved to be correct: Split was a fantastic novel from start to finish that I could not put down until I reached its hopeful and ultimately satisfying conclusion. There were so many aspects and details to this story that Avasthi got right and I was extremely impressed with her talent for executing everything so fluently.

Jace was such a compelling narrator. Despite his young age, he is extremely intelligent, perceptive and okay, a bit of a smart ass at times (I can't say I didn't enjoy his witty remarks though). His vulnerability would sometimes peek at the surface and break through his pleasant facade that he was very good at maintaining---but during these particular moments is where I truly marveled at Avasthi's writing ability. Jace's memories of abuse and conflicted feelings towards both his parents, including his own brother, never felt contrived at any point in the story: it was totally authenic, one hundred percent of the time.

Christian, Jace's brother, is another character worthy of mention: older and enigmatic, he suffered under the same abuser that Jace did but his emotional journey was altogether different from his brother's. Their relationship served as a cataylst for both brothers and as the story progessed, their clashing together and then gradual reconciliation was extremely fascinating to read and ultimately moving.

Unrelenting in its honesty and quiet strength, Split is a literary gem for various reasons. Swati Avasthi has written a beautiful novel that deserves all the accolades it's received; Jace's story truly resonated with me and I know it'll have the same impact with others who decide to give it a try. The title for Jace's story is aptly given--Split is essentially about Jace being split over his identity--will he be a product of his past or let the future reshape him into something that he hadn't imagined for himself until he finally left home?

Rating: 4.5


  1. Wow, just wow! Terrific review girl. I'm really wanting to read this one and it sounds like such a powerful and gripping read.


  2. Agreed. Terrific read.

    Can't wait for Swati's next one!

  3. i know i am going to love this one. i already read the first chapter and it was awesome. hanging out for the paperback release.

    loved your review!

  4. Gorgeous review.
    My favorite line of it: "Unrelenting in its honesty and quiet strength, Split is a literary gem for various reasons."

  5. Split is such a beautiful story. It's a tough read but also one filled with hope and humor. Great review!

  6. Amazing review! I have to agree, Jace was such a compelling narrator. Everything felt so real with this book.

  7. Great review. I am bummed that I missed the tour completely but I still want to read the book and will promote it in my library.