Well, the hype was real. Way to go bookstagram community, you nailed it with this book! I wasn’t sure if I was really going to enjoy The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry. The concept seemed a bit strange, as it was a contemporary read with time travel mixed in. However, I am so glad that Owlcrate included this book in their February box so I now have two copies, and will be giving one away so more people can experience this amazing story.
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.
This wasn’t so much a plot driven story, as it was a coming-of-age and character driven narrative. Yes, the time traveling aspect and romance was a major part of this book but it was watching Natalie grow throughout the book that I enjoyed the most. She started out as this outsider with some serious emotional and psychological issues, but by the end, she faces her problems head on instead of trying to keep running away from them. However, I didn’t agree with some of the choices she made, especially in the beginning of the novel. She was so self-absorbed and worried about not fitting in, that it was actually keeping her from connecting with her friends and family. I find it annoying when characters in books do things that are so obviously ridiculous and wrong that you catch yourself shaking your head at them and snorting in derision. It’s like, no one would actually do that. But maybe I’m being too critical of our protagonist, or maybe she’s just not very smart.
Okay, normally I’m not a fan of insta-love. It’s just so overdone and completely unrealistic. Let’s be honest, real life is really not like that so please don’t make me roll my eyes at you. But surprisingly, the romance in this novel works. At the end of the story it all comes together to explain everything and by doing so, you’re actually left with a reason for this instant attraction and it makes perfect sense. I literally had an “AH-HA!” moment when that happened. I really enjoyed that, especially compared to the typical insta-love that has no reason for it other than the two main characters are just soooo attractive. I hate when that happens.
Which brings us to Beau. He was an interesting character and so mysterious throughout the book. I was continuously wondering what his deal was and why is he the way that he is, sharing this bond with Natalie. His personal history and family life is a bit of a cliché in YA books but it wasn’t too bad. I still found invested in him and I really appreciated his loyalty to Matt. I love a good bromance. It always makes me smile.
I loved the Native American stories that Grandmother shares throughout the story. I thought they were beautiful and so interesting. Native American culture is actually really interesting but it’s not something that you get to read about a lot in novels, so having that be such a central focus in this story was wonderful. People have been recently discussing about the lack of diversity in literature, especially in YA, and I applaud Emily Henry for giving us a story that helps address that issue. She did a fantastic job with her research and it really showed in the mythological stories.
I think maybe the weakest point in this book was the actual time travel part. This could just be a me thing and no one else have this problem, but I spent most of this book completely confused as to how this time traveling was occurring. Henry attempted to explain it by using Natalie’s sessions with Alice but the science of it kind of went over my head. Maybe that’s actually a good thing though because it kept me turning page after page to see what it all meant and what was going to happen next. Luckily, I did finally understand it at the end of the book though so don’t worry about finishing the novel without ever understanding what is going on. I was worried about that for a while but it turned out to be a non-issue.
I truly loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written, so much so, that it’s hard to imagine this being a debut novel. It deals with so many issues that real people, especially teenagers, are dealing with every single day. It’s a very emotional read and is so thought provoking. I was constantly stopping and contemplating about what I had just read and applying it to life. I totally recommend this novel to everyone. Whether you prefer contemporary to fantasy or vice versa, there’s a little something in The Love That Split The World for all. It will break your heart, it will make you laugh, and it will leave you breathless. This book is easily in top 3 favorites of the year. Truth.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read TLTSTW yet? What are your thoughts about it?