Thursday, June 23, 2011

BR: Split

by Swati Avasthi

Book of the Month for June =)

I read a really fantastic review at Inkcrush which convinced me to pick this one up. I've seen it around but I'm glad I finally got a chance to just sit down and read it.

Summary (goodreads):

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 Expectations: Pretty high, but not too high. I thought it would be good.
Delivery: WOAH. A beautiful, memorable story full of brilliant characters.
Put-down-ability: I stayed up till 3:30AM finishing this, it's so engrossing. 2/10

My Thoughts

There’s usually two reactions I get after finishing a book. One is me racing off to write a review, eager to share my thoughts and put my opinions into words. The other is sitting back and thinking “how am I supposed to review this? How am I supposed to be putting what I’m thinking into words?” Split definitely belonged in the latter category.

Starting with one of the most captivating first chapters I’ve read in a long time, Split is narrated by Jace Witherspoon who has just been kicked out of his abusive home. Driving all the way to New Mexico in hopes of finding safety with his brother he hasn’t seen in years, Jace embarks on a journey of self-discovery, growth and redemption.

Man, I fell in love with the characters in Avasthi’s book. It’s incredible how defined and full they were, they had flaws, quirks, and a whole lot of heart. Jace and his brother Christian have solidified themselves on my “best brothers” list and reminds me why I love books about family so much.

Because Split is ultimately a book about family. It’s about the broken homes and broken hearts that splits young souls and traps old souls, it’s about the families that are there for you and the families that are not. It’s about mothers, fathers, and brothers, and it’s about the complex, imperfect, interwoven relationships between people tied together by blood. And this novel really hit it on the head with rich themes and even richer development. Ace.

The writing style was another huge bonus for me because it took me no time to sink comfortably into Jace’s mind. Told from a refreshingly smooth first person POV, the narration was engaging and authentic. Plus he plays soccer and jogs! Wow, characters who have hobbies surprise me every now and then. I loved this aspect of the book because as an athlete, I’m surprised by the lack of sports in books I read. I thought the romance was weak at first, but when I learned the underlying reasons for his actions, it felt much more real.

The plot itself was good, but ultimately it was the characters that carried the story. Jace’s fear of becoming his father and the strain it put on his actions, along with the burning desire to redeem himself after a disgusting act made him an incredibly sympathetic character. I don’t want to delve too much into domestic abuse despite it playing a huge role in the book—you should just read it for yourself. I thought it was very well done.

I thought the minor things (such as the chess queens, turkey dinner, photography, etc) tied together a story that could have gotten carried away as an ‘issue/abuse’ book. While pacing could have been a bit sharper (for example, sometimes I felt that too much was happening at once while at other times, weeks went by in sentences) but overall, Split was a beautiful book with brilliant characters.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: ALL YA Contemp fans, people who think books about brothers are the best.
Acknowledgements: 3/5

8.9/10 – because it was SO GOOD. I can’t gush enough about the strongly realized characters and the heartwrenching familial relationships. Everything was just a pleasure to read: the writing, the plot, the great development of characters. Highly, highly recommended!!

source: library
author website / blog / twitter

Winner of the 2010 Cybil Awards- YA


  1. Nomes always gives the best recs and now that you have confirmed Split's awesomeness I am even more excited to read this. I can tell it is going to be a book that gets under my skin.

    Wonderful review :)

  2. audey ~ i LOVE this review. and am so glad you loved the book as well. it was very very quality YA lit, IMO.

    (also, you are SUCH a good reviewer. you have the gift with words ;)

  3. YAY for awesome brothers! It's fantastic that the characters carry the story -- with these kind of "issue" books, I think you can't rely on the plot to move you.

  4. I've been meaning to read this FOREVER now, and you've just reminded me why.

    It's also nice to know that the MC has hobbies, like you mentioned. I find when MCs are interested in sports and whatnot, it's because that's what the book is about: said sport.

  5. Nomes is right Audrey. You do have a way with words, it's always been very apparent. No ones reviews flow with me the way yours do. I always have to give a book a go if you gush about it and it seems to have touched you. Lovely review as always dearie :) BTW I am feeling withdrawal symptoms from our lack of chattering on twitter. I miss you, and need to get my butt on here more. Chat soon love.

  6. Okay, so now you have me convinced! To a maddening point!

    Funny, I usually have the same thoughts after I finish a book.

    Here, the character's Avasthi created sound completely fascinating.

    Excellent review. When you talk about something making your Top lists, I'm sold.

  7. Oh, I loved this book. It's just so heartwrenching, and Jace and Christian really ARE awesome brothers.

  8. Ah!! I want to read this one and your review proves to me I really need to get on it fast!

  9. ive heard nothing but good things about Split! Although im not a fan of the cover. anyway. I love contemp! Sounds like this one is right for meeee :D :D

  10. Love YA contemps - check
    Love books with brothers - check

    I like the way you review. It's like if you were talking to "us" and you let your personality come through.

    Yeah, I don't know why I haven't read this one yet. I guess I have to buy it first. I'll keep it in mind!

  11. Nic- hehe she does, doesn't she! I hope you get a chance to read it, thanks :)

    Nomes- Definitely quality YA lit, it's underrated! And thank you <333 I try my best :p

    Yahong- Hehe Brothers are seriously the best! thanks for commenting!

    Michiebee- I know! It feels like they have issues and problems, not small hobbies that just add to them :p

    Aly- thank you so much for saying that, it's seriously one of the nicest compliments ever <33 Thank you!! and yes, we need to chat!

    Missie- You will love it! I'm almost certain ;) haha :p

    Rida- isn't it?? Oh le sigh. <3

    Jillian- I hope you do!! :)

    Justine- there are faces on the cover!! I had no idea for the longest time LOL xD and contemp = <3

    mfay2- hehe Yes! Definitely two huge check marks for me too. And thanks so much for the super nice words, it makes me happy =)


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*