Lynley's Reviews > Split

Split by Swati Avasthi
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's review
Feb 02, 2012

it was ok

** spoiler alert ** I was expecting to enjoy this story very much, mainly because of all the awards it has won. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

While the plot was strong (with a few unbelievable details, granted), there were a few things about this book which put me off. The first is that Jace doesn't come across as a young man to me; he comes across as a 30 year old woman:

'I look into Christian's blue eyes. He's leaning forward, his hands together, watching me.' (These guys are brothers, not lovers ffs.)

'I look at the bare yellow walls; they are nothing but potential.' (He says, with a penchant for home decorating)

He drinks coffee like a thirty year old executive. Where I come from, sixteen year old boys are drinking coke, not coffee. Maybe it's an American thing.

Also, what sort of judge calls his kid 'Jace'? Where I come from, judges call their kids 'Victor' or 'Hugo' or 'Charles'. I could almost believe the mother chose it, since she was reportedly from a lower class background, but I can't believe that woman got any say in anything.

Plus I didn't even like Jace. I can't warm to thieves. I can sympathise to a point with a kid who has anger management issues and bashes his girlfriend, but I can't empathise with a thief when he's had no modelling for that.

I'm reading a lot of reviews which praise the writing, but I'm not a fan. First, I think you have to have a very strong voice to pull off first person present narration, otherwise that choice can make it seem like you're making up for lack of original voice in your own right, almost like forcing immediacy on the reader.

Also, after a while the descriptions of body language in between the dialogue really began to irritate me. I just wanted conversations to be conversations, without that writerly way of breaking up chunks of dialogue with beats:

(from p134)

...interior monologue...

He picks up a piece of gravel and throws it. He collects a handful of pebbles and starts tossing them over the edge one by one.

talk talk...

His mouth turns down.

talk talk...

He looks down at the rock floor and then tosses another pebble over.

talk talk...

He stands up, and this time looks after the pebble as he drops it.

talk talk

He snorts. I collect my own handful of gravel, scooping out the broken bits from a divot in the rock floor. I stand up next to him and watch the balloons.

talk talk...

I talk a breath and then go ahead and...

(You get the picture.)

Also, you can only get away with 'He glances at me aslant' once per novel.

This is the second YA novel I've read recently in which 16 year olds come across as 23 year old men. The other was The Secret Year, in which the sixteen year old narrator has been having sex with girls for years, not months:

"Did I tell you about the game?" I'm suddenly a tongue-tied geeky thirteen-year-old who is asking a girl out for the first time.

Hell, has Jace been honing his wayz-wid-da-wimmen since he was 13? Really?

I feel so old. And inexperienced.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Shirley (new) - added it

Shirley Marr Hi Lynley, I had the exact same feelings about Jace as a believable narrator - I'm glad it's not just me!

Lynley Shirley wrote: "Hi Lynley, I had the exact same feelings about Jace as a believable narrator - I'm glad it's not just me!"

Oh good, it's always good to know you're not a lone freak! Thanks.

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