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The Love That Split the World
Cover of The Love That Split the World
The Love That Split the World
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"A truly profound debut."—Buzzfeed"A time-bending suspense that's contemplative and fresh, evocative and gripping."—USA Today"Henry's story captivates, both as a romance and as an...
"A truly profound debut."—Buzzfeed"A time-bending suspense that's contemplative and fresh, evocative and gripping."—USA Today"Henry's story captivates, both as a romance and as an...
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  • "A truly profound debut."—Buzzfeed
    "A time-bending suspense that's contemplative and fresh, evocative and gripping."—USA Today
    "Henry's story captivates, both as a romance and as an imaginative rethinking of time and space."—Publishers Weekly
    "This time-traveling, magical, and beautifully written love story definitely deserves a spot on your bookshelf."—Bustle 

    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.
     
    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 preschool 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.
     
    Then there are the visits 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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    1

    The night before my last official day of high school, she comes back. I feel her in my room before I even open my eyes. That’s how it’s always been.

    “Wake up, Natalie,” she whispers, but she knows I’m awake—if a fly buzzed in the hallway, I’d wake up—just like she knows the drooling, snoring rug of a Saint Bernard at the foot of my bed, the watchdog Mom and Dad got to help me sleep better, will keep drooling and snoring through our entire conversation.

    I open my eyes on darkness, push back the covers, and sit up. The crickets are thrumming outside my window, and the blue-green moonlight shines through the foliage across my carpet.

    There she is, sitting in the rocking chair in the corner, as she has every time she’s visited me since I was a little girl. Her ancient features are shrouded in night, her thick, gray-black hair loose down her shoulders. She wears the same ash-colored clothes as always, and though it’s been nearly three years, she looks no older than the last time I saw her, or even the first time I saw her. If anything, she might look a little younger. Probably because I’m older, and generally less terrified of wrinkles and age spots than I used to be.

    I contemplate screaming—twisting the knob on the bedside lamp, doing anything my eighteen years have taught me will make Them disappear, just to teach her a lesson for leaving me for so long, for letting me think she was finally gone for good.

    But despite my bitterness, I don’t want her to vanish, so I stay still.

    “Nice of you to stop by,” I whisper. The words hurt my throat, which hasn’t woken up yet. My vision’s still settling too, piecing together the wrinkled details of her face, the laugh lines around her mouth, and the sweet crow’s-feet at the corners of her dark eyes. “Where have you been?”

    “I’ve been right here,” she says. It’s one of her typical, cryptic answers.

    “It’s been almost three years.”

    “Not for me it hasn’t.”

    Again—for the thousandth time—I survey her tattered shawl and the threadbare dress hanging on her bony body. “No,” I say, “you’re outside of time, aren’t you?”

    Her right shoulder shifts in a shrug. “Your words, not mine. Have any others come to see you?”

    I rub the heels of my hands over my eye sockets, stalling for time. I’m ashamed to admit that no one’s come and that I know exactly why. Though I want to be mad at her for abandoning me, it’s my fault I haven’t seen her in three years. I caused her disappearance. But it doesn’t matter whether I admit it or not—she already knows everything anyway. As if to prove that point, she says, “I think Gus farted.”

    I lean over the bed and look down at the shaggy dog. His tongue is lolling in his sleep, and his perpetually oozing nose is busily sniffing. One of his back legs starts to kick in response to a dream, and the horrible smell she must’ve been referring to hits me.

    I cover my nose with my forearm. “Ugh, Gus. You’re a monster, and I love you, and you’re disgusting.”

    I wait for the worst of the odor to pass before I answer her question. “There haven’t been others. They’re all gone. Dr. Langdon thought the EMDR therapy worked. She said that’s why you stopped coming. Apparently any trauma I had was resolved. I’m a lucky girl. Or I was until five seconds ago.”

    EMDR:...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 5, 2015
    Henry debuts with an intriguing story of two lovestruck teenagers who appear to live in different versions of the same world. Natalie Cleary is about to finish high school, attend Brown University, and leave her small Kentucky town (and her complicated ex-boyfriend) for good. However, her visions—middle-of-the-night ones that involve a wise, storytelling woman she calls Grandmother—are now occurring during the day and revealing glimpses of a different town and a gorgeous stranger named Beau. With the deadline in Grandmother’s last ominous warning looming (“Three months to save him”), Natalie hopes that Beau can help her solve the mysteries of Grandmother’s vague words and of their separate worlds. Henry’s story captivates, both as a romance and as an imaginative rethinking of time and space. The relationship between Beau and Natalie sizzles while also reflecting the innocence of first love, and the unfolding mystery of their changing realities is enough to keep readers turning pages. The complicated final explanation may require rereading, but Henry delivers a story with depth, originality, and complexity. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lana Popovic, Chalberg & Sussman.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2015
    Time-slips on a time crunch give a teenage girl a long shot at love. Natalie had thought therapy had banished her favorite hallucination, a mysteriously knowing old woman who calls herself Grandmother and tells Natalie world creation tales and Native American legends. But now she's returned, with a cryptic message: Natalie only has three months to save an unknown "him." Before Natalie can puzzle this out, she starts experiencing strange time-slips into an alternate reality where small things are different, centering on a handsome boy who disappears and reappears, a boy to whom Natalie feels an immediate connection. But these moments are unpredictable and disturbing, and Grandmother's warning hangs overhead, forcing Natalie to spend her last summer before college trying to solve a mystery rooted in suppressed trauma from her past. Natalie, a Native American adoptee, already deals with identity issues that parallel the split worlds she finds herself bouncing between. Moments of introspection are balanced by fully realized secondary characters and occasional moments of hilarity. The story begins slowly but picks up speed and intensity as the clock runs out, ending in a conclusion of intricate twists. Natalie's specific tribal heritage is unknown, and her search for identity informs the plot in artful ways; although issues surrounding the ethics of cross-cultural adoption and cultural appropriation are carefully touched upon, it's still hard not to see Natalie's background as a plot device more than anything else. While the love is so at-first-sight as to be cliched and the cultural issues problematic, this debut is otherwise sensitive, lyrical, and deftly plotted. (Speculative fiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-Natalie is a teenager on the cusp of growing up in this romantic/sci-fi story of love in a small town. Her adoptive parents believe that preparing to leave for college may be to blame for the recurrence of "visitations" they thought therapy had put an end to. However, when Natalie meets Beau, an attractive boy she's never seen before, she must rush to uncover the truth behind the visitations and her new ability to slide between two realities in order to save him. While the romance and sci-fi aspects will feel reminiscent of many other teen novels, an original plot and likable characters will win over readers. The author weaves in elements of Native American folktales that give the novel impressive depth for a debut effort. Complicated family relationships and complex coming-of-age emotions will offer young adults much to relate to. VERDICT A first purchase for YA collections looking for a nuanced romance.-Sunnie Scarpa, Wallingford Public Library, CT

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2016
    Grades 9-12 Most people grow up hearing stories, and Natalie Cleary is no different. Except that hers came from a mysterious woman she calls Grandmother, who has appeared in her bedroom since she was small. Adopted, halfNative American Natalie is off to Brown soon, and it's been years since she saw Grandmother. But one night at the beginning of summer, Grandmother appears and tells her cryptically, You have three months to save him. Soon Natalie finds herself entangled with Beau, a boy who, despite the smallness of her town, she's never seen before, a boy who sees the world differently, just like Natalie. This is a lovely, if complicated, debut; Henry tries to do a lot here, and much of it succeeds. Natalie's relationships with her family and friends ring truer than her romance, and despite a dubious ending, the inclusion of Native American legends and history lend unexpected depth. A well-written piece of magic realism about the price we pay for daring to love, and the price we pay if we don't.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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