Hello everyone! Today I will be reviewing a book called The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry. I really loved this book! It was cute, very well written, beautifully diverse, and filled with magic, hints of the supernatural, and all-round mind boggling plot twists.
If you’re not already intrigued, here’s the goodreads summary:
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.
I don’t actually know how to describe the genre of this book… paranormal romance? Magical realism? Urban fantasy? Contemporary? Truthfully, it’s all four and more. It’s one of those books that dabbles with lots of different ideas, but doesn’t get confusing or over the top. The characters are brilliant, the story is brilliant, the magic and mythology is brilliant, and I would highly recommend.
Despite a few complaints I have about some insta-love and info-dumping, it was still well worth reading and it will be a book I recommend heavily from now on.
I had expectations for this book. I know, it’s a dangerous game playing with expectations, but how could I not? The cover was beautiful, the premise was enthralling, and I have a signed copy with a letter from the author that was beautifully written. I didn’t even read any reviews! I went in with very few pre-conceived ideas, just a feeling that this book was going to be amazing. It sounded a little psych thriller, a little paranormal romance, a little urban fantasy. So I did have high hopes.
And amazingly enough, this book mostly reached or exceeded my expectations! I read it quite quickly, because I just wanted more.
However, there were some things that made this book a little hard to read, and which threw me out of the story. First of all, the info-dumping. This was the first thing that hit me in this book – the sheer amount of text that is dedicated to speech or explanation. Sometimes, characters will spend a whole page explaining something, like Alice with her theories, or several pages telling a story uninterrupted. Long reams of text like that tend to throw me out of the story, and make it hard to stay engaged.
Grandmother’s stories, although fascinating and integral to the story, seemed to drag, which was a little bit disappointing. Sometimes it felt like the characters were giving speeches or Shakespearean soliloquies, their passages of uninterrupted text went so long.
Secondly, the insta-love. I find it really hard to care about a couple who’ve been insta-love’d. And in this book, the insta-love was blatant. Natalie and Beau meet once and then BAM they’re in love. And ordinarily, that would make the love between the characters feel fake and ridiculous, but the author still managed to make me love the characters and their relationship! I’m so glad I still felt that they were real, but the insta-love was slightly disappointing.
On a side note, despite the relationship between Natalie and Beau feeling real, sometimes it got very flowery and over-the-top. Despite this, the amazing story and beautiful writing was so engaging that I was able to happily read through the overly-romantic passages and then throw myself back into the actual story.
Now onto the positive stuff. This book is exquisitely written. The author knows her audience isn't dumb, and doesn't treat them like that. She writes profoundly, with meaningful metaphors and delicately constructed sentences all within the context of a small-town teen contemporary. It's really quite incredible how the author has managed to make the book so easy to read and enjoyable, and still maintains a level of sophistication and beauty in her writing. I thought that this was one of the highest points about the book.
Natalie, our protagonist, is also quite the smart cookie. She is self-aware, conscious of her surroundings, and level-headed. This is such a step up from typical YA protags who jump headfirst into things, act impulsively and don't seem to have any awareness for themselves or the world around them. She knows what she wants, has clear goals and objectives, and works in a sensible, intelligent way to achieve them.
Another great thing about this book is how diverse it is. It really opened my eyes to different cultures, especially Native American culture. I thoroughly enjoyed that the characters in this book are not perfect, cardboard cut-out, boring characters. They're all very well developed and unique, even the minor characters.
The emotions and feelings Natalie was experiencing were very easy to feel as the audience. It wasn't hard to see her as a real person with real struggles, even if they were somewhat supernatural. Her thoughts and internal monologues were believable and relateable, and as a reader, I was able to sympathize with her and her struggles.
One element I especially loved in this book was the relationship between Natalie and Matt. It was so interesting and heartbreaking to see that this relationship, although it was enduring and normal and comfortable, was going nowhere and was actively holding them both back. But their love for one another and hesitancy to let one another go was so sad to read, because they weren't "in love" but they definitely loved one another. I feel like that was a very real element to add to the story.
The story was also incredibly enthralling. I had no idea who Grandmother was, and I would never have picked that particular plot twist. The whole time travel/world jumping plotline was mind-bending and always kept me guessing, which I love in books. I never really knew what exactly was going on. I thought the whole premise of Natalie and Beau being from alternate Unions was very clever, and made for a very interesting central plot.
The Love That Split the World is amazing. It's an undefinable, deeply emotional, moving work which captured my imagination wholeheartedly. I am extremely eager to see what Emily Henry comes up with next, and I will for sure be following her work from here on out.
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I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll see you again soon with another post!