The first thing you should know about The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry is that I read it in the span of about five hours. That could just be because my pleasure reading schedule up until this point in the year has been largely nonexistent, but truthfully, I really did like the book. The Love That Split the World is a mish-mash of sappy teen romance, folklore, science fiction, and magical realism all set in a small Kentucky town. It sounds like a lot to handle, and at times it is, but something about the novel kept me flipping pages like nobody’s business.
The story begins when the main character, Natalie Cleary, comes into contact with a “figment of her imagination” who she calls Grandmother, after three years of shutting the hallucination out. Throughout her life, Grandmother has told her stories in the form of Native American folklore and other religious legends, up until the point Natalie goes through therapy and rids herself of Grandmother’s presence. However, upon Grandmother’s return, she tells Natalie that she has three months to save an unknown male, and that everything she needs to know is in all the stories Grandmother has told her over the years. What follows is Natalie’s search for the mysterious boy she has to save, her journey towards figuring out what is causing her strange visions, and an angst-y romance complete with a couple of existential crises along the way. The Love That Split the World explores time travel, parallel universes, legends and folklore, the theory of soul mates, and the drama of high school relationships all in one book. While the story does become fraught with cliches as it goes on, it is the perfect read for people recovering from more academic literature (AKA me).
While I would not count it as one of the greatest books I have ever read, the story fascinated me and kept me interested enough to finish the book in one day. I may be a little biased: I like sappy romances and alternate universes and folklore and mystery. But a lot of other people do too. So, if you are looking for a quick read before the time comes for all of us to go back to school/work, The Love That Split the World may be the book for you.