Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 17, 2016
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
As soon as I started reading, I knew that THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was a special book. Emily Henry’s writing immediately hooked me and I was instantly transported into Natalie’s world, fully involved in her story. Even after thirty pages, I knew that I would fall in love with this book. With moments that reminded me of childhood favorite WALK TWO MOONS, I was immediately invested (in so many ways, really) and this turned out to be a very special read for me.
At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD. From the synopsis, it sounded like a book about alternate universes but I couldn’t tell if it was going to be more contemporary, more science-fiction, or none of the above. I ended up with a lot of contemporary romance feelings as I read about the epic romance between Natalie and Beau and I easily got swept up in their whirlwind romance. I absolutely loved that there was a sense that these two simply belonged together. There are books that proclaim destiny and connections but Emily Henry’s writing truly convinced me that these two souls were irrevocably connected, which left me feeling quite impressed! The way the story was written and how everything fell into place really had me feeling that connection instead of just being told it was there. I become utterly involved in Natalie and Beau’s story and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page!
The characters were wonderfully developed! Each character had many layers and each of their relationships did as well. Of course I can sing praises of the romance but really one of my favorite relationships in the book was Natalie’s friendship with Megan. Their friendship really reminded me of my own with my best friends and it just felt so genuine and true. It was an easy friendship and the two girls also had an incredibly strong bond, able to talk about anything and everything, including some humor that you only experience with a best friend. I instantly connected with their friendship and it really developed their characters even more!
I was also pleased to see the relationship that Natalie had with her family. Being adopted, she does struggle at times to feel like she fits in, especially when her siblings are actually biological children, but they do have a special familial bond that also just felt so genuine. I could really feel the hesitation as Natalie tries to find out if and where she fits in but she still has a strong love for every person in her family.
Natalie’s self-discovery was also incredibly so well-done. Having her hallucinations/visions sets her apart even more, on top of the fact that she’s adopted and looks nothing like her family (Natalie being of Native American heritage and her family having pale skin and red hair). She struggles to find out where exactly she belongs and as high school ends, the crisis escalates even further. It was wonderfully subtle and obvious all at the same time and I really felt for Natalie as she tried to figure out exactly who she was and where she fit in. I think we’ve all been through a similar phase but Natalie faces much bigger questions, especially as her life comes to a major crossroads with her latest “visitation” from a wise figure that she calls Grandmother.
As much as the book was partially a love story, it was also quite magical. I loved the Native American traditions and folklore that really set the tone of the novel and tied into Natalie’s current timeline. It was just wonderful to read each story and connect it to a specific moment, even if I couldn’t make that connection until later on in the book. Natalie learns and and repeats creation myths, tradition origins, and life lessons through each story and I really loved experiencing and learning about each one as I read. I also felt like it offered a little explanation and left clues for what was happening to Natalie and why.
I do want to touch on large concept of the book involving the concept of parallel universes and the sci-fi/magical aspect but I don’t want to give anything away so all I will really say about that is how much I loved it and how well everything connected. Natalie, Beau, and the readers are really trying to figure out throughout the book why their surroundings keep changing, why their friends are acting differently, and what the deal is with what is happening to them. It was an incredible journey and discovery to witness so I’ll leave all of the details inside the pages of the book but I was so impressed with the way it was done, including all of the reveals. The tension and suspense really picks up towards the end and I had a few rushes of emotion as things finally took shape and started to reveal themselves. It felt like a wonderful take on a commonly used concept and I just really loved how original it all felt!
Oh wow, clearly I can gush for days on end about this book but when it comes down to it, I can sum it up by repeating how special this book really was. I had feelings on top of feelings with a dash of amazement and a thirst for knowledge. THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was so incredibly well-written and I think it’ll appeal to such a wide audience, spanning genres and age ranges alike. Don’t miss this book, friends! It’s a keeper.
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Natalie // Character Obsessions: A mission, fitting in, friendship, Beau, Brown.
I just adored Natalie. She was a wonderful mix of so many things and just felt so real. I also really adored her sense of humor. It was a humor that I feel like I use a lot but doesn’t come across well in books but this just made her even more genuine for me. She was such a wonderful character and really a delight to get to know.
Beau // Character Obsessions: Friendship, football, crossing, Natalie.
Beau = Tim Riggins. It took me a while to realize this but once I did I was like, “Ohhhh” and then fell even more in love. (He’s not really Tim Riggins but totally reminded me of him.) I just loved how he and Natalie came together and give me that dark, brooding type in a book any day!
Kept Me Hooked On: Contemporary/Sci-fi mix. I think the last book that really did this for me was TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone. The romance and connection between the two characters was so important that there was a lot of love story and a lot of feelings combined with a sci-fi concept.
Left Me Wanting More: Ending. This wasn’t really an open ending but I was just enjoying the book so much that I wanted it to keep going! I could have used a couple more paragraphs or even a couple more sentences but I understood the ending just the same.
Oh, friends. This book was so special for me. I think so many readers will love it no matter their go-to genre or age range. It’s so easy to relate on a personal level with Natalie and the “other world” concept was done so well.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)