Limonessa's Reviews > Split

Split by Swati Avasthi
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Feb 15, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, ya-lit
Read from December 29, 2011 to January 02, 2012

EDIT: On February 15th, 2012 make sure you stop by The Nocturnal Library for an interview with author Swati Avasthi. We're also giving away two copies of this book, one personalized from Swati (US residents only) and one from us (international)!

"Sometimes I wonder why words can't actually make us bleed."

Those (few) of you who regularly read my reviews and generally put up with me on a daily basis already know I'm kind of a logic and control freak. I'm not of the tear-shedding, heart-warming or hair-pulling kind.
However, occasionally, I do find books that really touch me on a deeper level, that really make me feel inside the story and the characters' heads, up until the point when it really becomes empathy.
I ascribe this empathy completely to the writer's writing skills, to his or her capacity to capture the essence of, say, frustration, or happiness, or grief and translate it so well into words and situations and stories that I get "contaminated" by them. If that happens, the communicative purpose is accomplished.

Split is one of those books. It got to a point, about 60% in, that I decided to go to bed, but then turned and tossed and turned and tossed until I had to get up and go finish the bloody book. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

The story is fairly simple: Jace has an abusive father. After the umpteenth beating he takes to protect his mother, he gets kicked out of the house, for good. He goes looking for his older brother, Christian, who vanished from their lives five years earlier to escape the same beatings, hoping to get their mother out of that same situation and to build a new life for himself.

Jace's voice is one of the most vibrant I have ever encountered in YA literature. He's one of those characters I seem to love so much, the ones I recognize as grey. He's not a bad guy, but he's certainly not a good guy either. In his words, he pledges to be " a bastard-no-longer". Somehow, this kind of character is the one that I find most believable and interesting, because it's a little more complex than most.

Jace has come to a very important point in his life, a crossroad which will determine his future and the person he'll be as an adult. It's up to him to decide whether he'll be like his father or if he'll become his own person and this internal struggle not to let the violence that he's witnessed all his life define him is the focal point around which the whole story revolves. In describing this, Swati Avasthi really excels, in my opinion: his ambivalence, his being split is so well portrayed, I felt it so much, that I couldn't help but feel ambivalent and split too toward a situation I would otherwise have condemned right from the beginning. She really puts you in a place where it's difficult to judge, to make a clear cut division between bad and good, because the line gets blurry in the middle.
This kind of blurriness seems to extend to all other characters too. From the selfish, loving though broken brother who might or not help Jace out, to the prying but caring girlfriend, to the helpless mother who's digging her own grave, every character lets us see different facets of the truth and lets us decide whether their choices are all condemnable or not.

I don't think that with these few, disconnected sentences I have even barely managed to do justice to such an intense and poignant story but I hope your interest will be piqued at least enough to make you want to pick it up and see for yourself. Maybe it will not touch you in the same way that it touched me, but I am fairly sure indifference will not be one the feelings you'll be left with.
A really great start to my new reading year, I will read anything this author publishes.

For this review and more follow The Nocturnal Library.
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Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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message 2: by Shirley (new) - added it

Shirley Marr I second that Maja. I can't wait for this!

Limonessa Seriously, I loved it. It's a painful book but excellently written, in my opinion. AND one more female author who manages to write a great male POV.

message 4: by Reynje (new) - added it

Reynje I'm waiting for this one to arrive.. now I'm even more excited :)

Lucy I loved this book so fucking much. Again, it was one of only five books I gave five stars last year.

message 6: by Shirley (new) - added it

Shirley Marr I just ordered it. That's what your 5+ means to me Miss O. Thanks Lucy as well for the props:)

Limonessa oh gee, the presshhhurrr... hope you'll love it as much as I do :D

Nomes oh, this book is so brilliant ~ so pleased all you guys have ordered it :)

message 9: by Donna (new)

Donna Just added it to my to-read, can't wait to hear your thoughts about it.

Ariana Wonderful review! It reminds me of why I loved this book as much as I did. Such a powerful story!...

Limonessa Thanks Ari, you're right. This book is nothing if not powerful.

message 12: by Nalnac (new) - added it

Nalnac Oh Lisa, my interest is definitely piqued! Mi sembra che Nomes lo aveva letto qualche tempo fa e già sta nella mia TR list. Mi dici solo se è triste. su una scala da 1 a 10?

Limonessa E' triste/frustrante più che triste, triste. Non è da fiumi di lacrime per intenderci. E' più da cazzotto nel muro :D Te lo consiglio vivamente.

Emily May Excellent review. I've had this on my TBR for a while now, I obviously need to hurry up and get round to it :)

message 15: by Reynje (new) - added it

Reynje Beautiful review Lisa.

Wendy Darling I've had this book forever, Lisa, and I've heard nothing but rave reviews. I'm glad it was such a moving experience for you.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) What is this? My favorite people are starting 2012 with amazing reviews! Ohhh, the pressure.

I LOVE that you loved this. I LOVE that it made you feel all these things. I love that you know I'm too much of a coward to read it right now and still love me. :D

message 18: by Surin (new) - added it

Surin Lovely review, I love a female author who can successfully tackle a male POV convincingly.

Limonessa Me too SL!

Limonessa @Maja: once you get rid of that horde you got in the house, you gotta pick up this book.

@Sam: I had never heard of it either Sam. I saw it on Nomes' Faves of 2011 post, it was one of her favorites of the year. I have to agree with her.

message 21: by Lucy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lucy I feel like re-reading it now so I can properly review it. I had a hard time reviewing it at the time because I loved it so much. You did a great job, Lisa. I was all 'words, they cannot express, gah. *buys copy for friend*'

Limonessa Thanks Lucy, I think this book will end up on my need to re-read shelf too.

Aly (Fantasy4eva) I've read such gushing reviews on this book. It looks really promising! Fab review.

Laura Hey Lisa! Wonderful review! I can tell this book really moved you. Nice start to the year! You definitely piqued my interest. Thank you. :)

message 25: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin This book is slowly but surely making its way toward the front of my to-read list. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Limonessa Girls, time to read it. It's worth it.

message 27: by Amber J. (new) - added it

Amber J. I just bought this book because of you (I explained why on Amazon), so thanks lol :)

Limonessa Awesome, hope you love it, it's such a good book...

Basuhi Amazing review !!!
I'm so going to buy this one.
These days getting a good contemporary is like finding a pot of gold.

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