The Love That Split the World

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Love That Split the World Book Poster Image
Absorbing romance stars time-traveling smart girl.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Brief explanations of different types of hallucinations, a few Myers-Briggs types, how EMDT works and how it's used to treat PTSD, Einstein thinking time is an illusion, and some information about the relationship of the amygdala (a set of neurons located deep in the brain's medial temporal lobe) to dreaming and working through early traumas. Lots of First Nation stories, with few attributed to a specific tribe, and very brief discussion of how the stories relate to living in the modern world and whether they can be understood from a Eurocentric world view.

Positive Messages

Love has the power to fix what's broken and even change the whole world if you want it to. The pain of living is worth the love and joy that you experience along with the darkness, and all the darkness you face is worth it when you finally face the light. Nothing has the potential to hurt like love, but nothing heals like it, either. Don't be afraid to either change and move on or stay the same, whichever is right for you; there's always more to see and feel whatever you do. The way to make the best decisions is to listen to all the stories (of your people and everyone else), know them by heart, and feel them in your bones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Natalie has strong family bonds and is close to both parents and her siblings. The family is a great model for a blend of adopted and biological children. Natalie's always known she was adopted, and her parents encourage and support her desire to know more about her biological heritage. She's a great academic role model, accepted at Brown University, and was socially well-adjusted in high school. She's finding change difficult but feels like it's necessary to progress in life. Beau is ideal: loyal and supportive and he never pressures Natalie and appreciates her as she is, for who she is.


A recurring nightmare described several times involves a car crash; the car fills with blood, and blood pours from an open wound. Characters go to a movie about a girl sold into the sex trade. A teen driving drunk crashes and ends up in a coma for weeks. A story within the novel mentions murder, and another has a scary skeleton killing and eating a man with blood pouring from his body mentioned. A couple of fistfights result in injuries such as split lips and black eyes, with blood. Natalie and Matt discuss her fear that he might rape her when they were making out while he was drunk.


Lots of kissing, caressing, and some light making out described without detail. A story within the novel has a brother trying to sleep with his sister. Natalie and her counselor briefly talk about having sex and getting pregnant.


"Jesus" as an exclamation, "slut," "screw you," "piss," "butt," "pee," "ass," "crap," "bullsh--t," "bitch," "dick" (name-calling), and "f--king." A parent says "s--t" and the kids call her on it. "Merde" is not translated. "Sharting" used once but not explained.


Lots of restaurant chains, snack foods, retailers, and car makes establish location or character. A few liquor brands mentioned once each. Name-brand drugs mentioned include Viagra, Ativan, and Dramamine.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens frequently drink beer and hard alcohol at parties, often to excess, and several important characters show alcoholic behavior. Natalie says half-jokingly that beer doesn't count as drinking. Teens are matter-of-fact about drinking and acquire alcohol so easily that no mention is needed of how they do. Negative consequences such as getting sick and having hangovers are usually mentioned, and the alcoholic teen crashes his car and ends up in a coma. Drinking makes travel between worlds easier for one character. Teens mention smoking joints at a party. A professor admits she was high while doing research. Addict parents steal and fight. Natalie's dad occasionally smokes in secret. Another adult is seen smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Love That Split the World is a time-traveling fantasy romance with a strong heroine who's a great role model for adopted kids, especially Native American kids adopted into white families. Smart, strong, and lovingly supported by a family that encourages her to explore her biological heritage, protagonist Natalie will get kids thinking about wanting to fit in. There's a lot of teen drinking, and they're very matter-of-fact about it. Some teens show alcoholic tendencies, and the consequences of driving drunk are shown when one teen ends up in a coma. There's lots of kissing -- the novel is first and foremost a romance -- along with some light making out but no graphic descriptions. Blood's mentioned in a recurring nightmare and on injuries after a couple of fistfights. Many First Nation stories are told; a couple include mentions of murder or a scary skeleton that eats people, and they all provide food for thought about our place in the world and how we learn from hearing our people's stories. The book will encourage teens to think about time travel, multiple universes, our place in the world, love, loyalty, friendship, and more.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAlina L. February 13, 2018


There was a moment when 2 of the characters nearly had sex, and the f-bomb was thrown out twice. Other than those things... It was quite interesting, and showed... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytoxicmee May 12, 2018

the love that split the world

this is an amazing book, you won't regret reading it is fantastic , an amazing fantasy and will blow your mind. It made feel happy and I could not stop re... Continue reading

What's the story?

The summer before Natalie heads to the Ivy League from her small-town Kentucky home, she's visited by an apparition, Grandmother, who used to visit her frequently during her childhood but who's been absent for the past three years. Grandmother wants to tell her the story of the woman who fell to Earth one more time and then warns Natalie that she only has three months "to save him." Save who? Her father or brother? Matt, her longtime boyfriend? Or Beau, the mesmerizing boy she's never seen before but who seems to know everyone she knows? As she tries to piece the puzzle together and to find Grandmother for more answers, her world seems to be literally slipping in and out of time and place. Can THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD also put it back together?

Is it any good?

This fantasy romance with multiple worlds and time travel is refreshingly grounded by the authentic voice of smart and strong Natalie, who at 18 seems to have everything going for her. But her struggles with the idea of fitting in, figuring out who she really is, and what her place in this world is make her a heroine teens will easily relate to.

The extra splash of fantasy and sci-fi might not stand up to the scrutiny of hard-core genre fans, but they add an intriguing element to a story that could, in less adept hands, easily bog down in standard-romance cliché. The First Nation stories told by Grandmother add a nice combination of whimsy and depth and encourage readers to think about why we need stories and why we think about them the way we do.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many romances have a fantasy element, especially about moving between worlds, such as in this one. Do they help us understand anything about love in the real world, or are they just a fun escape?

  • Natalie's always struggled with being different from everyone else and wanting to fit in. Do you think she'd have the same struggles if she'd been adopted into a Native American family? Why, or why not?

  • How did you like the First Nation stories Grandmother tells? Why do you think she communicates with Natalie through these stories? Which is your favorite?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and Native American stories

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