Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Split - Swati Avasthi - Blog Tour Review

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.
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Split
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
Source: ARC given to me by Kari. Thanks Kari! This review is part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour.
My rating: 5/5

Split follows the story of two brothers after they have broken away from their abusive home. Christian escaped several years earlier, and now Jace is landing on his doorstep, having just left as well. Jace has finally had enough, and is hoping that he will be welcomed in by his brother, knowing that they both have survived a tumultuous and horrific upbringing. 
Jace is a character that I immediately felt sympathy for. He is a three dimensional character, well rounded, yet broken. He gets good grades, is an excellent soccer player, but he's had a hard life, and is hoping to break the cycle of abuse. He's had his fair share of regrets, but is hoping to learn how to live without fear, pain, or knowing that he could be more like his father than he would like. 
Christian was an intense character as well. It is so hard to define him as he left relatively early on in Jace's life. He is, again, another broken character, picking up the pieces trying to learn how to live a "normal" life, when everything is so far from normal. He does gather favour in my book, when he takes Jace in and tries to establish a home life for Jace. 
Avasthi writes a mesmerizing tale of destructive tendencies, and how one person's actions can and will reverberate through those around them. Split takes a raw, no holds barred approach to domestic violence, and allows us a glimpse into a world that unfortunately is all too real. The view she gives to us, of Jace, Christian, and their parents, is a haunting and gripping one. We see that things are not necessarily black or white, and it truly is an eye opening experience to realize that for those stuck in the cycle, the unknown could be worse than the reality. 
All in all, a disturbing, but eloquent look at the severity, and secrecy of domestic violence in a person's home. You truly do not know the circumstances of those around you, and to escape from that cycle, and to have to learn to adapt and break the cycle is truly amazing. Statistics dictate that most cannot break the cycle, but it is heartening to realize that above all, people have choices. You define who and what you are, or will become. No one else can take that from you. With that said, everyone should read Split.

Swati Avasthi's Before the Split Charity Auction

To honor National Domestic Violence Awareness month, author Swati Avasthi has combined a blog tour for her debut novel, Split, with a charity auction. Over 40 authors, agents and editors have donated manuscript critiques, personalized books, and more to an online auction that anyone –reader, writer, booklover -- can bid on and buy. All proceeds go to the Family Violence Prevention Fund. In addition to the auction, Avasthi is donating $1/comment on her 26-stop, month-long blog tour, coordinated by Kari Olson at Teen Book Scene. If she reaches her goal and cap of $250, she will double the donation. Follow the tour, get stuff you want, and make a difference.
Blog TourAuction

Two auction items that I would like to draw your attention to today have been donated by Betty Tisel and Alison McGhee.

You can bid to win a personalized, signed copy of Bink & Gollie by Alison McGhee and Kate DiCamillo donated by Alison McGhee.

A brief description of the phantom entry:
Tired of getting certificates from silent or online auctions for great causes and never using the certificates? This item is for you! Bid on this Phantom Item and you get nothing if you win except the satisfaction of supporting a great cause.

Phantom donated by Betty Tisel.

If you are looking to purchase Split, you can do so at these locations.


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Oh, I love your review of this! This book sounds incredible :)

Karen said...

I loved this book! Ir ead it earlier this year and it's still one of my favorites of the year!
Great review...I reposted mine today as well http://www.fwiwreviews.net/2010/04/review-split-by-swati-avasthi.html

I hope more people read it as a result of the tour.

Amy said...

Great review! I really liked the book as well. I'm not a part of the tour, but might have to post my review this month anyway just to generate some more buzz for the tour :) I love it!

Anonymous said...

Hope this comment counts toward the donation goal! :-)

Anonymous said...

I have the book in my school library, I just need to read it!