By: Swati Avasthi
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.
summary from book
My Rating: 5/5
I loved this book so very very much. Everything about it from the characters to the pacing of the plot and everything in between was just perfect. Books like Split are my absolute favourite to read because they really grab a hold of the reader and shake them. They open your eyes, they educate. They are so much more than just a form of entertainment and speak to the reader in a way that next to nothing else can offering an outside looking in perspective.
I have read novels where abuse is prominent (particularly verbal and physical abuse) yet I'd never read anything where the character has escaped the abuse and is trying to get their life back in fluid working order. Split follows Jace, the protagonist of the novel who has in the opening chapter recently fled home due to his father's abuse. He ends up at his somewhat estranged older brother's house as a result and so begins the start of Jace's new life. I really appreciated how nothing was sugarcoated in this novel. Many of the flashback scenes that Jace recounts from memory dealing with his abusive past and father were quite jarring and difficult to get through. We all know what physical abuse is and what it entails yet to have it showcased as it is in Split really makes a difference especially when you are so emotionally connected to these characters and want the best for them.
Another aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed was the reality of it all. Everything was very well handled and realistic. I was very happy with the ending for it offered just enough closure without making it a perfect little ending. With such a serious subject matter being addressed it would have been impossible not to mention unrealistic had everything suddenly been resolved and perfected. I don't want to give too much away but Split is authentic in its ability to remain raw and pragmatic.
I am a huge fan of well developed and credible characters which Split definitely has. I have to say that Jace is one of the best main characters that I have come across in a long time. What made me really like him is just how far from perfect he is. It takes guts as a writer to give a character negative qualities and traits and to highlight them multiple times throughout the novel because you want the reader not only to like your protagonist but to sympathize with them as well. Giving them negative traits and characteristics can sometimes backfire but for me it always makes me like a character all the more which was the case with Jace. Again, I don't want to give too much away but he was an admirable character who didn't always do the right thing but wanted better and was committed to trying.
Aside from the Jace, Christian and Merriam were two of my favourite supporting characters in Split. They were two very different individuals each adding something important to the novel. I liked how with Christian, the way he acts and goes about things especially his reluctance to talk and share was later explained and showcased. Merriam was great because she was the opposite, a talker who thought that things needed to be discussed in order to heal and move forward. I felt as if each character and each scene in this book all served an equal purpose in the overall story. Nothing was filler or unnecessary. Everything in this novel only adds to the overall result.
Overall: I think everyone should read this book. Not only is Split a well written novel with great characters and a well executed plot but its subject matter is one that is very important and I feel we should not shy or hide from.