The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry
Published January 26, 2016 by Razorbill, 400 pp.
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.
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.
How goes it?
I just want to cry, reading this summary lol
This was not how I was expecting it to go, honestly. I was expecting a grand adventure, conquering space and time by the sheer force of their love. And it kind of was, but not in the way I anticipated.
So much about this book was unexpected – from the heroine, Natalie, and her background, to the Native American mythology weaved in to tell a story, and to the way the book just managed to tie it all together in the end. Because there really is a lot to take in, and the best way I can describe this book is like it’s a puzzle – you put two and two together until you suddenly see the whole picture and you just kind of stare. Which is what I’m doing right now, staring straight ahead, trying to reconcile my thoughts of “damn that ending was perfect and beautiful and my heart broke but that was perfect” and “holy shit do I not get an epilogue where my as-of-now favorite couple resides in a restored house with a big porch?”
Book you kind of broke my heart, but I kind of gave it to you anyway, mostly thanks to Natalie. She carried this book – funny, sarcastic, and trying to keep it all together despite feeling quite lost herself. Her moments with Beau and Megan are some of my favorite, because at least she gets a semblance of quiet, and doesn’t need to worry about keeping up appearances.
While the plot meanders along for the first half, it isn’t boring, or slow. There’s plenty that happens that will all fall together in the end, even if most of it looks like separate stories. It’s a good set-up for what happens in the latter half, because when things do pick up it all starts happening really quick and you’ll start to think back on what you read in the book before.
I think the science of time travel in this was explained easily enough – time Slinky is quite a memorable term after all, and this was a good explanation for the many-worlds (was it many-worlds?) Nat and Beau were experiencing.
I suppose the only thing I could gripe on is the ending, but if it had ended differently I don’t think this would have affected me as much, or left a good kind of pang in my chest after reading this.
“Because she jumped, our world began,”
5 paper planes, for Natalie, who decides to take the leap for Beau, and maybe, I think, for herself.