{Amy Reviews} The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

Posted April 11, 2016 by Amy in Reviews / 5 Comments

{Amy Reviews} The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World

by Emily Henry
Pages: 390
Published on January 26th 2016
by Razorbill
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Goodreads

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.

5 Stars

First off, Hey! My name’s Amy O and I’ll be contributing the occasional review here. I’m excited to jump on board and interact with all you book lovers out there!

Second, this might be a little misleading for my first ever book review here as  I almost never give 5 star reviews. But, here we are.

I had no idea what to expect with this book and so I almost didn’t pick it up. I assumed it was just another cutesy romantic contemporary but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now that I’ve read it, I understand why it’s so difficult to talk about/review in a way that doesn’t spoil anything but also conveys how amazing this story is in the ways it crosses genres.

Part of what is so fantastic about this book is that it highlights how powerful story is in our own lives. Our main character, Natalie, is visited by an old woman she calls “Grandmother” who tells her stories. Most of her stories are creation stories- some from Native Americans and some plucked straight from the pages of Old Testament. When asked why Grandmother tells her stories, Grandmothers responds:


“The stories matter. Separate from us, they matter. We are part of them, Natalie. We’re much smaller than them.”

From there, the book moves us forward through understanding how these specific stories impact and shape Natalie and the world around her. It’s a beautiful and chilling example of how we are all formed by stories. Our own narratives are really just the intersection of the narratives all around us.

And through this understanding of story, it also attacks larger issues at hand. Adoption, diversity, sense of self, love, sacrifice, friendship, family, God, feminism, religion, and destiny are all handled in ways that feel real and personal. For example, Natalie’s thoughts on God:


“God is a thing I think I see in glimmers all over: an enormous and vague warmth I sometimes catch pulsing around me, giving me shivers and making tears prick my eyes; a mysterious and limitless Thing threaded through all the world and refusing to be reduced to a name or a set of rules and instead winding itself through millions of stories, true and made up, connecting all breathing things.”


And obviously, it’s beautifully written. Henry uses language that feels like it should be written in flowy beautiful script as a work of art in a gallery. But it’s never distracting- it’s the perfect tool to pull you even deeper in Natalie’s story as she learns and lives her own story.

Even when things start to get science fiction tricky with things like time travel and alternate universes, it never feels like it couldn’t be real. It’s the normal progression of Natalie’s story, and exemplifies perfectly how stories themselves transcend time and space. Every so often the science and explanation of what’s happening can drag you down, or feel overwhelming, but she always bring it back through Natalie’s voice and understanding of the circumstances.

Overall, this book is weird, and confusing, and wonderful, and lovely, and excellent. Is it magical realism- I’m not sure? If so, it’s not like any other book in that genre I’ve read. It’s so much more than a contemporary and yet, not quite science fiction.

And the ending, oh man, the ending. It’s perfection. I can’t think of a more perfect way to end this book that is actually about the power of story. It’s moving. I can’t stop thinking about. Which is what good stories do- they stick with us and carry us through.

About Emily Henry

Emily Henry is full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.

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5 responses to “{Amy Reviews} The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

  1. You had me at: Our own narratives are really just the intersection of the narratives all around us. Amy! I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous sounding story (and cover!) so I’m thrilled that you loved it. Odd, unqiue, beautiful – I’m in.
    Thanks for the lovely review 🙂

  2. Leah

    Hi, fellow contributor!

    I also adored this book. The cover sold me first, but once I read it, I thought it was a haunting love story. I also enjoyed the myths Grandmother told Natalie.

  3. I’m so glad you loved this one! I’ve seen so many great things about it, so I really want to read it. The cover is so beautiful too, so I don’t know why I haven’t bought it yet! I love beautiful, flowery prose if it’s done correctly, and this one seems like it never drags. I’m not sure on the romance, but I love the idea of alternate universes (I love sci-fi!), so this sounds like a book I will love. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

    Denise | The Bibliolater

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