My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: January 26th 2016
Point of View: 1st Person Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Soulmates, Time-Travel, Family, Ghosts
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 tired do you feel right now?”
”Like I haven’t slept for four days, and someone just stabbed a shot of adrenaline into my heart.”
”That’s how I feel when I’m at home, miles away, and I think about you.”
I wanted to display a cutesy quote I randomly picked from thousands of similar written ones, because everlasting romance as well as the whole concept of ‘soul mates’ are the main themes in this story. Believe me, THE WORLD THAT SPLIT THE WORLD is made of 90% lovey-dovey scenes or ones that lead to them. It doesn’t matter where you are in the story; Beau is practically always there with Natalie, almost like a shadow.
While I did want to read something that will warm my heart (especially at this time of year), I really didn’t want a quintessential young adult romance. This may come as a surprise, after all the heroine does travel through time and ‘worlds’, but there is no originality in the romantic aspects of things. On top of that, if you’re like me, you want the first encounter between the main character and the love-interest to be special… Well, without any intentions of ruining this for you, I must tell you that the very-special-first-encounter scene leads to the dreadful insta-love.
So the romance is a downer, but this book does have decent redeemable qualities. For instance, we have diverse characters that have the blood of the First Peoples flowing through their bodies! I thought it was pretty interesting for the author to introduce us to such untypical characters because of how they enriched the story with normally unseen elements such as storytelling. I really did enjoy it whenever Natalie’s grandmother would try to illuminate her granddaughter’s mind and show her different ways of seeing the world with the telling of legends.
I was also enchanted by the writing style. Emily Henry’s metaphors are ones that actually make sense, compared to what I’ve read lately, and she doesn’t shy away from using an ever-present amount of adjectives and adverbs. You’ll see, her writing feels alive. The only thing that waned my excitement from time to time was the dialogs. I understand that it’s natural for contemporary characters to use colloquial English when interacting with each other, but what I found is that the intensity of the atmosphere would fall drastically when they would start using words like ‘bitch’, ‘fucking’, or even ones like ‘awesome.’ But, at the same time, this is a subjective thing, because I personally just really like when authors replace those types of words with less common ones.
Eventually, you’ll realize, when reading the story, that even though Natalie can travel through time, is looking for her mom and grandmother, tries to push her ex away from her life and is trying to figure out what she wants for her future, all of these things’ importance shrinks to the size of grain of sand when Beau is around. Sure, they often have in mind to figure out how the time-traveling works and what it implies, but eventually they sort come to just accept it… Honestly, the way it’s explained at the end will probably not clarify it all, so it also asks for your blind faith in what is not possible. The only reason I’m saying this is so you don’t expect this to be something it’s not.
THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD is worth reading, but I’m strongly suggesting you do not overestimate its value.