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Title: Split
Author: Swati Avasthi
Number of Pages: 288 pages
Book Number/Goal: 5/50 for 2010
My Rating: 5/5

After Jace fights back against his abusive father and gets kicked out for his trouble, he drives halfway across the country to find his estranged brother. Christian is not exactly happy to see Jace, but grudgingly lets him stay, and Jace tries to make a new life for himself. But it's not easy to make a clean break when he's always worrying about his mom, and worrying that he's turning into his dad.

I really liked this a lot. It's well-written, compelling, and thankfully doesn't suffer from the info-dumpiness that seems to plague most YA books (some authors seem to take first-person narration as permission to give chapter-long rambles about backstory when they should be getting on with the story). I like how we're thrown into the middle of the story and everything is revealed along the way.

I thought it dealt with the subject of abuse well. It wasn't sensational or over the top, but very matter of fact. I liked that Christian and Jace were both fucked up but in different ways. I really liked how it wasn't all wrapped up in an unrealistic happy ending, either.

One thing that bugged me was the female characters. Jace has some pretty big issues with women (not surprising considering his family situation, but still) and since this is all told in his POV, it's really front and centre. Women are bitches, catty, flirts, cheaters, etc. And since we don't see these people outside of his interaction with them, they're often kind of one-note (and not a good note). Both his old girlfriend and a new girl at school are the same sort of popular girl stereotype who is manipulative and catty. Christian's girlfriend Mirriam probably gets the most characterisation and even Jace eventually sees her as more than the meddling bitch girlfriend, but eh.

Jace is pretty unlikable over all (as is Christian and pretty much everyone else in the novel), so if you need to like a character to enjoy the story, you probably won't like this book. He's extremely arrogant, and like I said, has Major Issues with women, and is just generally an asshole overall. Other people in the story apparently find him charming, but they are not subject to his thoughts the way we are. :p


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