One of the many reasons why I love reading YA lit so very much is that I believe it has to capacity to help teens (and possibly adults) through potentially damaging situations. Basically, there is nothing that I can tell one of my students that he or she won't hear better from a book that they read. Teens are peer-centric, and if their peers are not giving good advice, then why not a YA character?
Swati Avasthi's Split is one such book. I don't know how Avasthi did it, but she wrote one of the most realistic and moving books about a teen boy that I've ever read. This is not an easy read by any means, and I often had nightmares after reading it. But, it is more real and true and authentic than most teen books that deal with this particular subject matter.
And, the subject matter. Domestic abuse. A wife and her children beaten by the man of the house. Control and dictatorial behavior from a father and husband. Rape by a spouse. The continuation of the cycle of domestic violence from father to son. A teen girl excusing her boyfriend's behavior. One son breaking the cycle, but the other repeating it. A broken mother who cannot leave her husband, who fears for her life and can't change her pattern.
Honestly, I can't write a more specific review than this. If you're at all looking for a well-crafted, engaging read about the impact of domestic violence on a teen boy, then this is a great read and resource for you. I am going to put this title on my free reading shelves at school in the hopes that it will find an audience who needs it. Maybe a current or future student will recognize their own story in this one and be moved to make changes in their life or to talk to someone. That's what I hope.
Here is a link to a domestic violence hotline if you or someone you know is in need immediate help.
Here is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic which details the signs and descriptors of an unhealthy/ abusive relationship.