The Love That Split The World - Emily Henry

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/YA
Synopsis: 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.


Review: Hnnnnng, how I wanted to love this book. Look at that beautiful cover. Think of the potential. And for a while, I did love it. The good things that I have to say about this book almost made me rate this as 4 stars, even though ultimately the plot made me only like, not love, it.

First and foremost, the writing is fantastic. The dialogue between teenager characters is hilarious, witty, authentic, modern. I genuinely felt like I was listening to people of my generation having real conversations about things. But even outside of that, Henry really has a way with words. Aside from being a teensy bit obsessed with the space between bodies during romantic scenes, she writes beautifully. Even though I did not ultimately love the plot, I adored her writing.

Some aspects of this book are extremely unique and surprising. Featuring a main character who does not have white heritage and who struggles with being raised by a white family and with her sense of self - being a white Irish girl I can't relate, but I can appreciate the inclusion of some diversity. Additionally, the main character is (paranormally) visited by an old Native woman she calls Grandmother, who shares folk tales and parables designed to guide Natalie. These are a prominent aspect of the book, and are just wonderful. Creative, disturbing, seemingly senseless at times, they show Henry is a true storyteller and bring something really original to the mix.

However, there were a lot of things I didn't like. Firstly, the completely unbelieveable romance between Nat and Beau. It's a love-at-almost-first-sight kind of deal - but it's largely the magic of their meeting that draws them together, not anything about them as people. Romance scenes are a dime a dozen and slightly repetitive, usually serving little purpose and taking up space where far more interesting things could be occurring. Secondly, if you're gonna throw some actual scientific theories into the mix, don't throw them in at the end long after any rational person would have suspected them over 'magic girl and magic boy do magic things'. Thirdly, the ending. Complete cop-out. I'm sure it'll delight a lot of people, but ugh.

So I guess the tl;dr here is - while I adored a lot of the detail, quirk and originality, the broader picture was a massive letdown, and because of that I can only honestly say I liked it, nothing more.

Rating: 3/5

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