Published February 2016
I received The Love That Split The World in my February OwlCrate box, and was super excited about it because I had been ogling it on Instagram for a month. I love OwlCrate, not only for the bookish items I receive, but also because they put books in my hands that I normally would not have picked up or bought. BUTTT, I will gush about OwlCrate in a separate post, here I am going to gush about TLTSTW.
This is a book that crawls into your soul and sits there. I have thought constantly about it since I turned the last page over two weeks ago. It should also be noted that as an adult, it has become harder and harder for me to marathon books. I’m not a young’n like I once was; gone are the nights of no sleep to finish a book, you know, with work in the morning. But, I finished this in a single weekend. So, there’s that.
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 ominously: “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 stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
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.
I really enjoyed the setting for this novel: semi-rural Kentucky, the summer before college. I remember how important and confusing of a time that was for me, and the Kentucky setting was not only beautiful, but unique. The incorporation of Native American tales intertwined with the Natalie’s story was interesting, but also fresh. This book was such an odd combination of YA contemporary romance, science fiction, and surrealism, but somehow it all worked.
Natalie Cleary is hands down one of my favorite main characters that I have read about in a long time. I thought she was clever and funny, but not in an overly obnoxious and unrealistic way. You know how sometimes authors paint their characters in such cliche extremes, you sit back and think to yourself “it would be nice to know someone like that, but just….no.”. I didn’t feel that way with any of the characters in this book. I thought everyone was well rounded and realistic, no one was overly brilliant, or strikingly beautiful, or flamboyantly gay. To me, it seemed that everyone was they way they should be as they graduate high school.
There were only two things that kept me from giving TLTSTW five stars. First: the information dump towards the end of the book. It was kind of a lot of scientific information that came out of nowhere. Yeah, wormholes are cool and fun to explore hypothetically, but I don’t feel like this book needed the scientific background to make it enjoyable. I was a little overwhelmed with all the info just thrown into my face like: “SEE! This isn’t that far-fetched!”. In my extremely humble opinion, I didn’t mind it being far fetched. I liked it. Second: the vague ending. I think it was appropriate, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted everything to be tied up all nice and neat, and it wasn’t. There is some definite interpretation going on here, and it wasn’t 100% fulfilling.
Other than those two things, LOVE. I really loved this book, it is my favorite read of April so far. A book that can crawl into my soul and simmer there, well there aren’t too many of those around.