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.
Rating: 4.5 Stars | Young Adult, Magical Realism
If you read my ‘Most Anticipated Releases of 2016’ then you know this beautiful gem made the list. The Love That Split The World is one of those books that sound great in synopsis and it’s equally great when you read it.
It’s one of those rare cases where a mix of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Contemporary worlds exist cohesively and actually complement one another within the story.
It started off straight up mysterious. On the first few pages we are introduced to a key character, Grandmother, when Natalie wakes up to realize she’s finally back, someone who has been appearing to Natalie throughout the years. And she comes with an important message ‘Three months to save him‘ But who is Grandmother? What is Grandmother? You might be wondering. And more importantly, who’s him? Is he the boy she meets the next day, when the world surrounding her suddenly disappears and there’s nothing in sight but him?
“I stand and lean against the rail in the aisle between bleachers. I want to go down to the field, to stand with this boy between the sky and the grass until every part of me touches every layer of the world. If feels important, but even though I’m so sure this is a dream, I feel a little shy and embarrassed, like I won’t know what to say when I get down there.”
I love that this story tantalizes you and invites you to keep guessing along our main character, it is suspense and romance driven alike. After Grandmother is gone once again, Natalie stars experiencing sudden changes in space and time, she is standing in a hallway full of students in a moment and in the next everyone disappears.
I think after reading this, Natalie Cleary has a special spot on my favorite female leads list . Although the characters are not picture perfect (and they shouldn’t!) each and everyone’s positive qualities are highlighted, and the author doesn’t try to make her female lead stand out, rather she just lets her shine on her own, you’ll notice. I’d like to point out that this book is full of positivism, the relationships portrayed feel real and relevant and it definitely stays away from cliches, and it’s all so clearly refreshing.
“You never owe another person something, no matter how nice they are to you. Relationships aren’t transactions”
Even if romance takes a huge part in the development of this story (I mean, look at the title!) Our girl Natalie never loses her focus on the path she knows she should be following, taking a leap of faith isn’t the same as derailing, her search is first and foremost for her self-discovery. Is being Native American part of these experiences? Or there’s an otherworldly reason?
I feel a bit doubtful about the ending, I wish I could elaborate but I don’t want to spoil anybody. What I did like, however, is that it is those kinds where it might be open-ended but not unclear, and it is satisfactory for me, to see a book succeed at this attempt. This is certainly not a cut and dry book and there’s definitely a lot to examine, and up for debate.
The Love That Split The World is a mix of great complex ideas without being messy. Each relationship between Natalie and the characters contributes and leaves a bit of something to the reader; with Natalie’s family, unconditional love, with Rachel, acceptance, with Matt, understanding, with Megan, mutual support, with Beau, that it doesn’t matter if someone else makes you feel the most. And specially with herself, that it is okay to not know everything about yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Love That Split The World is Emily Henry’s debut novel.