The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill (26th Jan 2016)
Format/Source: Hardback (sent by Penguin Random House International for review)
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Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” At first, they’re just momentary glimpses—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.
One of the things that compelled me to pick up The Love That Split the World was the beautiful cover. Can we please take a moment to lust over the cover that is such a delectable little marshmallow? Right? Swoon-worthy, indeed.
Okay, back to Emily Henry’s debut novel, which has such an incredible premise that I really fell in love with the book right from the beginning. Can you imagine having the ability to alternate between parallel universes and then you meet this dashing, mysterious guy and you start falling for him? That’s what happens to the protagonist in The Love That Split the World.
“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”
What really made me invest in the story of Natalie was Emily Henry’s writing. It was just unbelievably fresh and witty. I couldn’t stop reading the sassy one-liners that Natalie has in the book and the dialogue between the characters was gold. Emily Henry’s writing also amplified the beauty of summer in Kentucky, what with her evocative descriptions. It is a fact that Emily Henry can write unforgettable characters and I wish I had more of Natalie’s friends.
The romance between Natalie and Beau was sweet and boy, did I swoon! However, I felt that the book focused more on Natalie’s mysterious ability to be in an alternate dimension and her figuring out who Grandmother is.
“Sometimes the most beautiful moments in our lives are things that hurt badly at the time. We only see them for what they really were when we stand at the very end and look back.”
If you’re looking for a book that has diversity in it, look no further. Natalie is Native American and it’s such a refreshing story to read about her journey of self-discovery and her Native American heritage. I was thoroughly impressed by the way Emily Henry managed to weave the Native American folklore and stories into the plot and for me, that was one of the highlights of the book. Brilliantly written.
“Why did they have to sacrifice anything?”
“It was a symbol,” Grandmother explains. “Of an innocent dying on behalf of someone else—the greatest act of love. A choice to die so someone else doesn’t have to.”
One minor issue I had with the book was that the descriptions and explanations of the dimensions shifting were rather dry and too technical for my brain to compute. I thought the idea of explaining the occurrences where Natalie experiences the episodes of accidentally travelling to a different dimension was clever, but it got a bit too much for me as the descriptions were often lengthy.
“Growing up is going to hurt. Only you can decide if the pain is worth the love.”
The revelation towards the end was a clever twist and I didn’t really expect it but it moved the entire story to a different direction. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending because I felt that it didn’t present me with a closure that I was satisfied with as I thought Natalie’s story ended rather abruptly.
“Sometimes you change your mind about a person. Or your feelings for them change, or they change, or, I don’t know, you just want to make a different decision. And that’s always okay. You don’t owe anyone anything.”
Ultimately, The Love That Split the World was a really good, solid debut novel by Emily Henry. It’s a very empowering and uplifting story about finding your mark in the world and the book is embedded with snippets and quirky stories inspired by Native American culture, which enrichened the story.