Title: The Love That Split the World
Author: Emily Henry
Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: 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.
And because she jumped, our world began.
The Love That Splits the World is a book I had no idea that I needed, but I sincerely did. I just want to hug Emily Henry and say THANK YOU because I had a blast reading this book and I’m so sad it’s over.
Beau and Nat take us on a whirlwind romance that feels like nothing else I’ve ever read. But that’s because it isn’t just a romance. It’s Science Fiction/Fantasy, Women’s Fiction, and a smidgen of Religious Fiction.
At the end of her senior year of high school, Nat is visited by Grandmother one last time. During this visit she is told two things. One, all of her stories are true. Two, she has three months to save him.
The question is, save who? And why do these stories matter so much?
With the help of an eccentric psychologist named Alice and wonderful shared moments between Beau and Nat, we follow a story about the mystery of all mysteries: is our world really it?
Henry’s writing style is beautiful, not only as Natalie’s consciousness but as the relayer of Native American folklore. Grandmother’s stories are real, and Henry encourages readers to look more into them in her acknowledgements.
These stories feel right in this world. It’s a world that’s never quite comfortable, but I found that the more that I read I was comfortable being uncomfortable. I wanted to think and be aware of Nat’s insecurities. I wanted to struggle with her. This book is one of the rare few with a Native American protagonist, and it’s set in a mostly white community. But it doesn’t read like a quest for Native American visibility. It reads like a quest for Nat’s visibility – to herself.
In the end, this book does what a lot of YA does, it brings the protagonist on a journey to find herself. It’s a through line that I think holds the genre together, but Emily Henry’s take is a breath of fresh air.
I rooted for Beau and Natalie. I wanted them to merge the two realities they were meeting each other from. I wanted them to build that porch. But you’ll have to read to find out if they did 🙂
I feel like I’ve left this story feeling the way Emily Henry asked us to during her blog tour. I feel so much hope that things can get better. That I can be the chooser of my destiny, and there is a God out there who is going to help me. All I have to do is jump.