SPLIT by Swati Avasthi


Age Range: 14 & up
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This portrait of a family shaped and scarred by abuse asks how both victims and perpetrators can move forward. After a 19-hour drive from Chicago to Albuquerque following a beating at the hands of the father he both loves and fears, Jace Witherspoon shows up at the door of his estranged brother, Christian. Reluctantly, Christian invites Jace to stay in his tiny apartment, and, as Jace builds a life in a new town, each brother is forced to confront his own history. Evocatively specific sensory detail and spare, revealing dialogue bring Jace, Christian, their parents and Christian’s perceptive girlfriend, Mirriam, to life with a sometimes warm, sometimes painful realism. When it is revealed that Jace himself beat and began to strangle his girlfriend the night he left Chicago, the narrative neither forgives Jace’s violence nor brands him as irredeemable. Readers seeking sensational violence should look elsewhere; this taut, complex family drama depicts abuse unflinchingly but focuses on healing, growth and learning to take responsibility for one’s own anger. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-86340-0
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2010


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