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Beautiful Magical Realism | Book Review: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World is a 2016 YA book you wont’ want to miss…

Book Review: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

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the love that split the world emily henry book review

Title & Author: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Science Fiction

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Penguin

How I Got the Book: Advance copy via the publisher


“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.”

Simply Beautiful

The Love That Split the World is one of those books you can sink into due solely to the writing. It’s lyrical and moving and mentions some really interesting folklore and legends about the origins of the world.

This is definitely a unique book with a special main character in Natalie. Natalie’s a relatively normal kid…except she’s starting to worry. She’s been seeing weird flashes of things that no one else is and her childhood night visions of an old woman she calls Grandmother have returned.

Some things I loved right away about The Love that Split the World:

  • Wonderful magical realism
  • Positive approach to dealing with emotional + family issues
  • Slow-and-steady romance
  • Diversity – plus it plays an important role

One note about the last point: I love that Natalie being Native American isn’t just a tick to check off on the diversity box. Her background plays a huge role in the book, which added great depth and understanding.

The one bit of difficulty I had with the story was that this is the type of book that builds over time. The pay-off was well worth it, but at times I struggled with wondering where things were really going and wondering how long it would take to get there.

Otherwise, the story did a great job with creating tension and keeping up the suspense. I HAD to know what was going on and what the reason was for everything. And believe me, your ARE given answers. Wonderful, horrible answers.

I wish I could say more about the plot, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you. I was very pleased with how things were wrapped up at the end. I wished for a BIT more concrete resolution despite the strong ending, but that’s 100 percent my preference. But I’m also the type of person who wanted like 8 more Harry Potter books, so…


If you’re looking for a beautifully written magical realism story with a wonderfully complex main character, look no further. The story takes unexpected twists and turns and while it takes a while to build up to some of the action, the result is more than worth the wait. The Love That Split the World is a wonderful YA debut to check out!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • AnneBennett

    It sounds like a lot of fun to read. Have you read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender? It is another spectacular Magical Realism