I read a lot of children's/teen literature for my job as a reference librarian on the youth services team. A booktalk is an effort to get a young reader to pick up the book and read it. It's not a book review - it's more like a brief sales pitch. My goal is to write the booktalks (as soon as I've read the books) and to make them accessible to my colleagues, parents, and other readers.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Fight Back: H.S. Booktalk 1
When we're first introduced to Jace, a sixteen-year-old boy, he's split in two ways, just like the title of this novel, Split. First of all, Jace is split physically: his dad has physically assaulted him badly, just as his dad been doing to his mother for years now. Secondly, Jace has split from home, and he's looking for his older brother, Christian, who has made himself really, really hard to find. Christian left home years ago, because he was getting assaulted and could not stand the fact that their mother would not seek help: wouldn't tell the authorities, and wouldn't leave. Both Jace and Christian know that it's a matter of time before their mother gets killed by their father, who is actually a judge. A smart, respected judge - cunning enough to have been getting away with this for years. Jace plans to bust his mother out of her private hell, hopefully with Christian's help. But unfortunately, and complicatedly, Jace has a fight on two fronts. The other fight is with himself. He's got his own inner demons, which is why he lost the love of his girlfriend, Lauren, and why he's afraid to get involved with a new girl with whom he works. There are clues that Jace will have to fight hard to avoid becoming like his worst enemy: his father. On a personal note, although this sounds like a grim book, it's an amazing read. I could not put it down, and I highly recommend it: Split by Swati Avasthi.
Split by Swati Avasthi. Grades 9 up. 288 p. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010.