Title: The Love That Split the World
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill / Penguin
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
“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.”
Where to even begin with this review? I’m not sure that I have the words for this book. I had no idea what I was getting into with The Love That Split the World, because this story absolutely blew me away. A book marketed as Friday Night Lights meets anything is likely not something I’d pick up – I just don’t enjoy those types of contemporary stories. And yet, The Love That Split the World is that and so, so much more. This is a coming of age story, a love story, a finding yourself story, a creation story. This is a story that brought me to tears by beautifully written it was.
Our protagonist Natalie has been visited by this “spirit” she calls Grandmother for years, but the summer before she moves to college, Grandmother warns Natalie that she must save “him.” Natalie has no idea who this mystery boy is or how she’s supposed to save him, but soon she finds herself switching over into an alternate version of her town, where everything and everyone is different. The only other person who can switch between towns is Beau. Natalie and Beau have to figure out what’s going on as the switches occur increasingly faster and with no warning, with Grandmother’s warning looming over Natalie.
The very beginning of this book confused me, because I thought this was being set up as a ghost story. I was, thankfully, wrong. The Love That Split the World is nearly indescribable, as is evident by my not-so-eloquent waxing over this story. There is just so much depth to this book, from the stories Grandmother tells Natalie to the possibilities of alternate dimensions, to the difficulties an adopted child faces in forming their self-identity. See what I meant about the lack of eloquence? Probably because my words seem so dull in comparison to this book. Emily Henry’s writing is so lovely that it actually made my heart ache at times.
I know, I’m describing this book to you and you’re probably thinking there’s no way it all works. But IT DOES, DEAR READER, IT DOES. This review doesn’t do the book justice, but trust me when I say that this book is a beautiful, magical tale that resonated with me for days.
Have you ever loved someone enough to split the world?
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️