Publisher: Knopf Books
Date Published: March 9, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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. Award-winning 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.
I purchased this book at the same time I purchased Breathing Underwater, which I chose to read first. See my review of that book here. My first reaction when after I began reading Split? This is how Breathing Underwater should have been! This is not a book to just gloss over. It is deeper than that. This book is a fresh take on the sadly all too familiar abused teen runs away from damaged home. After suffering years of trauma, Jace Witherspoon flees home with the weight of the world on his shoulders. After getting angry and punching his girlfriend, fighting with his abusive father, and failing to convince his mom to leave with him, Jace seeks out the only person he has left, his brother, Christian. Jace and Christian have a tense and strained relationship. Christian can’t look at Jace without seeing their father. Jace can’t forget the fact that Christian abandoned him and his mom. Jace finds himself constantly angry and spoiling for a fight with Christian, but his brother never takes the bait. How can Christian control his emotions, especially holding his anger in check whenever Jace is exploding with rage!? Heck, even when Christian’s girlfriend, Mirriam, breaks up with him, Christian doesn’t react with anger, as Jace does. Jace is desperate to believe that he can change, that he isn’t the monster his father is. But every time he thinks of moving on with his life, he remembers his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s throat, squeezing. This book does a really good job of making the reader experience on some level, the same emotions as the characters. At one point in the book, Jace goes to his ex’s house. They’ve broken up and gotten back together before in the past. Jace truly does care for this girl and she is ready and willing to take him back. Even as a reader, I was sort of cheering for their reunion. The relief Jace feels when Lauren, his ex, embraces him, is tangible. I think the author does an excellent job of showing just how hard it can be to break free from the cycle of abuse, for both the abuser and the abused. My respect for Jace grew as my heart broke for both him and Lauren. The author never excuses abusive behavior. Instead, she shows the reader that no matter who is doing the yelling, screaming, hitting or who is being yelled at, hit, or who is watching, everyone is a victim. Domestic violence inflicts its wounds on all parties involved. Everyone must learn to heal for the cycle to end.
Book trailer I liked on you tube for Split: