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.
Swati Avasthi first novel, Split, is a beautifully written story about a boy trying to deal with his past. Jace leaves his home in Chicago after his extremely abusive father beats him up and kicks him out of the house. Jace travels to New Mexico to live with his older brother, Christian. Christian is 22 years old and left home when he was 17 and Jace was 11. Jace had not seen him since then.
I've read a lot of books that have abuse as a common theme, but this one was different in a wonderful way. Some of the story is told in flashbacks but the majority of it is Jace trying to figure out a life without abuse, and also worrying if he will end up just like his father.
I borrowed this book from the library, finished it within a few hours, then bought a copy for myself at Amazon. Split is a very emotional and raw read. The author does a wonderful job with Jace's narrative and as a reader, I felt everything Jace felt. She even did a great job developing Christian's character who is also dealing with the abuse. Their father was a sick, disgusting man and the brothers, along with Christian's girlfriend, who knew nothing about the abuse until Jace came along, help each other to deal and move on.
This touching novel stays with you weeks after you finished reading it.