Split by Swati Avasthi, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010, 288 pp, ISBN: 0375863400
Jace knows all the rules of Fightology. Rules like, "#5: Anger comes in all forms... You think you've forgiven, and you've doused it with trust, but give it a sudden burst of oxygen and - backdraft."
Growing up with a father who beat his mother, and then his brother, and then him after his brother escaped, Jace has faced more than his fair share of backdrafts. But even once Jace finds a way to escape, he quickly learns that the fire from a fight can be almost impossible to put out - especially when it's inside you.
You need to read this book! I'm having a hard time remembering the last book that had me so completely engrossed from the very first page. Swati Avasthi's debut novel, Split, is a grippingly real story of domestic violence, and the extreme lengths people will go to in order to protect their families. Prior to writing Split, Avasthi spent time working in a domestic violence legal clinic. The experiences and insights she gained there clearly played a large role in the creation of this novel.
Each character was multi-faceted and distinct. Jace, the primary voice in this story, fights every day to beat down the many similarities he shares with his father. From their physical appearance to their violent tempers, Jace is his father's son whether he likes it or not. His older brother Christian has spent years building a new, completely separate life. When Jace shows up on his doorstep, at an address he thought no one knew, Christian can't help but be scared of his past catching up with him.
Split is a story about being rescued - two boys trying to rescue their abused mother, trying to rescue each other, trying to rescue themselves. The ending proves that real life is never the same as it is in fairy tales; not everyone can have a happy ending. In the end, all we can do is forgive ourselves and love the people around us just as much as they'll allow.
I am recommending Split to everyone, starting in 8th grade and up. This book has something for every reader: drama and realism, regrets and heartache, romance and redemption. I just can't say enough good things about it!