A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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