The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Published by Razorbill on January 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Modern, magical realism
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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.
“No matter how hard it feels, you don’t need to be afraid to move on, and you don’t need to be afraid to stay either. There’s always more to see and feel.”
How I felt after finishing the last page of this book.
What this book is: 90% emotions/feelings. Glorious, ooey-gooey lovey-dovey, feelings that make me want to actually try to hope for HEAs and the best in life and love. Adorable. Cute. Romantic.
What this book is not (i.e., please don’t pick it up if you’re into these things): deep, extremely thought provoking, realistic.
First of all, I’m so stinking proud of myself for READING AND FINISHING this book! At long long LOOOOONG last, as it came in my February 2016 OwlCrate. Yikes. I read like one “meh” review of it and lost all my enthusiasm for the story…which I sort of regret, but I also realize that at the time, this sort of ooey-gooey-ness would probably not have sat very well with me…and quite possibly would have resulted in it being thrown across the room, never to be finished.
The Love That Split the World is an adorable summer story of love, loss, and teenagers finding themselves and each other. Sprinkled in between the emotionally intense, physically warming scenes (but never explicit or very graphic, and there is no actual sex in the book) are gems like the quote above, and others I desperately wish my 16-18 year old self (hell, even 19, 20, or 21 year old self) had read or known.
“You shouldn’t be scared of someone you love.”
The book briefly addresses the issue of consent – even for “just” making out, and one scene in particular left me feeling rather nauseous even though “nothing happened.” Alcoholism is also brought up, and addressed in one of the most succinct ways I have ever seen – painful, as it always is, but it was done so, so well. Huge props.
Oh, and the characters!! I’ve discovered yet another book boyfriend – Beau, your beautiful soul has won my heart. I will also confess that in high school, I admired the football players from afar so…yeah…piano AND football playing Beau is just totally swoonworthy. And I always, ALWAYS get hit right in the feels by the broken-but-still-strong hero types, the ones who just remain good people at heart despite having been given the shit end of the stick in life. Natalie’s spirit – her need to KNOW, her intense desire to find herself, to make something of herself – really resonated with me. While I don’t know how it would feel to grow up a minority (not only in your town, but in your FAMILY) in a small southern town, I spent a lot of my growing up years in places not unlike her Kentucky hometown and to some extent, I can imagine. Especially in small town America, people who don’t look (or act) exactly the same are often viewed with suspicion and outright dislike. In Natalie’s case, her biggest struggle seems to be with not sharing her looks or personality with her adoptive parents, and the fact that she was hassled about it by her classmates when she was younger.
I adored the time bending/travel aspect of the story. I was a little (ok, very) confused for awhile, but eventually I realized what was happening…mostly. I still DID NOT see that ending coming and my poor little heart nearly burst with ALL THE FEELS. I didn’t quite CRY, but my throat squeezed very very tight, my eyes burned, and I blinked rapidly for a few moments. Then I had to read the last few pages about 5 times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything!
Diversity: This was my first pick for the January topic, Biracial Awareness (check out the suggested bookshelf!), in the Platypire Diverse Books Reading challenge. Natalie is bi-racial, and adopted. Another main character is Korean. The author does not belong to either of these groups, but she seems to have put a great deal of effort into making her story authentic and respectful especially to the First Nations cultures she draws from in the writing of the book.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. It is an amazingly fun and cute romance with enough time-turning stuff to keep that side of my brain interested too.
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