First of all, I tried to type up my thoughts on The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry last night right after I finished the book, but my feelings and heart were just all over the place so I decided to sleep on it instead. And I'm glad I did, because the ending confused me at first, and I wasn't sure if I just didn't get it, or maybe I was reading into it too much, and so I didn't know what to think. Now that I've had time to digest my feelings on this book, the more I've come to accept the ending. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
May Book Club pick for the Literary Ladies Book Club (I know, like I need another book club in my life, right?! haha!). I was intrigued by the blurb and I'll usually jump at any chance to read a book that I know I will have some people to talk to about it with afterwards. My library hold came in on Friday (in the nick of time!), so I figured I could plow through it for today.
I'm not sure I've ever read anything quite like The Love That Split the World. By the time my hold came in, I had forgotten everything about what this book was supposed to be about and since I was reading the e-book version, there was no blurb to refresh my memory (which is good sometimes!), and I refrained from going on Goodreads to read about it so that I wasn't persuaded to have certain expectations.
The Love That Split the World is the story of Natalie, a senior about to graduate from High School. Natalie is of Aboriginal heritage, but was adopted by her white parents when she was only 11 days old. The story takes place in a small town in Kentucky, called Union.
Natalie isn't just your average teenager though. Natalie, we quickly learn, experiences visions, "hallucinations" if you will, of buildings where there shouldn't be buildings, of people who should know her, but don't, of her family home as she doesn't recognize it, etc. Natalie isn't sure why this happens to her or what to make of it all. Is she hallucinating? Dreaming? Losing her mind? Natalie is also visited at night by "someone" she refers to as Grandmother. A ghost perhaps? God? Even Natalie isn't really sure. Grandmother spends her visits sharing and telling stories of Native American folklore, but then one night, Grandmother tells Natalie that she has 3 months to "save him". Save who?! Her father? Her brother? Her ex-boyfriend, Matt?
And then we meet Beau. From the moment Natalie meets Beau, she knows he's like no other guy she's ever met before. And how come she hasn't met him before? Union is a small town after all. There's something mysterious and magnetic about him. The insta-love is, well, instantaneous. (For the record, I am not bothered by this when I read a YA novel. I expect it, I embrace it, and I enjoy it. After all, reading is supposed to be a form of escapism, so not everything has to be "real"). Anyway, Beau and Natalie start to spend as much time together as they can, but this isn't always easy. And soon, even more secrets are revealed, making their relationship even more complicated. And in the mean time, Natalie is still trying to figure out who she has to save. Is it Beau? And so begins the emotional and potentially tragic love story of Natalie and Beau.
I'm not quite sure how to even do this book justice here. It's more than just a love story. There's aspects of time-travel, spiritualism, magic, psychology, feminism, mystery and self-discovery. There were definitely moments where I was confused trying to make sense of the alternate worlds and time-travel bits, but I find if you actually step back and stop trying to make sense of things, and just enjoy the story instead, the ride will be much more enjoyable.
It's funny though, while I was reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about Friday Night Lights and how much of the book reminded me of it, and of how much Beau reminded me of Tim Riggins. And then I read the synopsis on Goodreads afterwards and saw that this book has been compared to FNL, as well as The Time Traveler's Wife (a book I adored). So, if you are a fan of either of these, I definitely think you would enjoy this book.
As for the ending I couldn't quite wrap my head around? I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say, that it fit the overall theme of the book. I much prefer a concrete ending (give me an epilogue any day!), but after re-reading the ending and understanding the metaphor, it doesn't bother me so much anymore. Of course, I'd love to sit down with the author and pick her brains about it, but it didn't ruin the book for me.
Have you read this book? Thoughts?
Do you enjoy time-travel books? Favourite one?
PSST! There's still lots of time to get in on A Slice of Brie Book Club for May! We'll be meeting on the 25th to discuss Remember Mia. More details HERE.
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*Linking up with Kristen, Kari & Kay