The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The LoveNatalie Cleary wants to enjoy the perfect post high school summer. Only a few things are preventing that, some normal, some not. With a complicated ex-boyfriend, a best friend that’s moving away, and her own impending move to Rhode Island, Natalie is already under stress. When she receives an ominous night visit from her “grandmother”, a cross between a ghost and a friend, she is left with one terrifying message. She only has three months to save him. Who is “him”? Natalie doesn’t know, but she needs to find out. To complicate matters, she’s starting to worry about her sanity. She knows she’s still living in her small Kentucky hometown, but sometimes things seem different – a blue door where there should be a red one or an addition on a building that she’s never seen.

Then she meets Beau and her whole world changes.

The Love That Split the World is a complicated novel about love, loss, and finding where you belong. Natalie, who is Native American, is adopted by a loving, but very white Kentucky family. Henry handles Natalie’s difficulty accepting herself and where she fits with grace – though it’s not necessarily a focus of the story. The novel is interwoven with folklore from “Grandmother” about remaking the world, true identity, and consequences, in an effort – unbeknownst to Natalie – to prepare her for the world to come. Through this, Henry strikes the right balance between the ancient and modern worlds.

If I have one complaint, and I always do, it’s that it’s love at first sight. In this case, I’m forgiving because it is balanced out by a subsequent deeper exploration of the characters of Natalie and Beau, as well as their close friends. The novel is an interesting mix of science, speculative, and contemporary fiction. It’s also quite sweet and unexpected. It’s being hailed as a cross between Friday Night Lights and The Time Traveler’s Wife, and while it does have elements of both, it’s also wholly unique.

Emily Henry’s The Love That Split the World* is a (young adult) novel I can highly recommend.

This is my second young adult novel this year, which means I am still meeting my goal of reading outside my comfort genre. Although honestly, who can pass on anything being compared to Friday Night Lights? Anyone else meeting their goals?

*I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  • Naomi

    Whenever I see new YA being reviewed I wonder if it’s something my daughter would like. So, if she prefers sci-fi/dystopia/fantasy like Harry Potter, Divergent, Cinder, and not so much romance-y like Anna and the French Kiss, Everything Everything, do you think she will like this? It sounds like it has some of both, but which do you think is more prominent?

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s somewhere in between, but probably skews a little bit more to the romance side of things. I would say she might like it, but probably not.

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    This sounds really wonderful, minus the insta-love. 😉 I may have to pick this up next time I’m in the mood for YA.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I might not dislike insta-love so much if it ever happened to me….

  • Kathy

    This one is really gaining buzz prior to its release and has me wanting it. I’m not a love at first sight fan, either. Although, my husband and I dated a week and knew we wanted to marry…and it worked! But, that’s out of the norm. Aside from the insta-love, it still looks like one I want to read.

    • Rory O’Connor

      The author does a good job of having the characters get to know each other after the initial meeting, which I appreciated. Overall, I really enjoyed it!

  • Katie McD @ Bookish Tendencies

    This one sounds interesting! I’ve moved away from YA quite a bit, but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered. I’ll be marking this one down for when the mood strikes 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      This is my first year really exploring YA, I’ve always avoided it, but I sort of started to feel like a snob. I don’t know… This year (for me) is about trying to get outside my comfort zone, we’ll see how that goes!

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    Compared to FNL?! How did I miss this one?!

    • Rory O’Connor

      It does have a similar feel to FNL, even if it’s not as close to it as I would’ve liked.

  • Bonnie

    This one does sound interesting, although I’ve done the opposite of you and have been reading far less YA than normal. Just wasn’t cutting it for me lately and I’ve been trying to branch out in other reads. I can understand your difficulty in not being able to avoid something compared to Friday Night Lights for what it’s worth.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s been up and down for me. I liked this one, but I really (REALLY) struggled with The 5th Wave. I wanted to love it, but I really didn’t get where the hype was coming from. So I don’t know if I’ll stick with incorporating YA. I like the idea of it more than the reality.

      • Bonnie

        Ooohh yes. I really wanted to love that one too but it ended up being pretty mediocre. I’m just very choosy with the YA I do pick up these days. Which typically amounts to very little if any at all. haha

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