Split

by Swati Avasthi

A powerful novel about the effects of domestic violence opens as teenage Jace arrives... read more

A powerful novel about the effects of domestic violence opens as teenage Jace arrives at the apartment of his older brother, whom he hasn’t seen in five years. Christian fled their abusive home when Jace was eleven. He’d spent years trying to prevent their father from beating and berating their mother, until it was no longer safe for him to stay. Jace took over the role of their mother’s protector, and now their dad has thrown him out. Christian is far from thrilled to see Jace—he has dealt with the past by distancing himself from it both literally and emotionally, and Jace is a reminder he can’t ignore. As the story unfolds, scenes from the past—awful things they both witnessed and endured—play out, as do the effects on their lives. For Jace, one of these is the anger he can sometimes barely control. He hit his girlfriend before he fled home, and he’s terrified of turning into their father. Swati Avasthi’s first novel is a hard but ultimately hopeful story as the brothers struggle to confront the pain of their past. Realizing that they cannot rescue their mother is one of the hardest of many difficult truths they must accept. While a few of the secondary plot details seemed glossed over, the story gets right the dynamics and the consequences of abuse. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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