Swati Avasthi, Author Knopf $16.99 (282p) ISBN 978-0-375-86340-0

Two YA novels with the same title are being published in March, so don’t get ’em twisted.

Split Swati Avasthi Knopf , $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-375-86340-0

This powerful, never maudlin debut paints a visceral portrait of a 16-year-old on the run from an abusive father. After being kicked out of his family’s house in Chicago, Jace flees to his estranged older brother Christian’s apartment in Albuquerque, N.Mex., but starting over isn’t easy. An array of expected emotions surface, from Jace’s hatred toward his father, to hope that his mother will leave her abusive marriage, and resentment over Christian’s having abandoned the family years earlier. But it’s the less anticipated side of Jace—gradually revealed over the course of the novel—that makes this story so gripping and heartbreaking. He still loves his father despite the terrifying abuse his family has suffered and is ashamed of his own violent tendencies; readers learn Jace attacked his girlfriend when he was still in Chicago, and both brothers fear that Jace could follow in his father’s footsteps. When Jace finally turns his back on his past to forge a new future, readers will fully understand the difficulty of the decision. As Avasthi demonstrates, leaving a bad situation and forgiving those responsible is easier said than done. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)