〉 Henry’s debut combines the heady romance of Friday Night Lights and world-bending mystery of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Lionsgate has picked up the rights to Emily Henry’s debut novel THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD, sources close to The Tracking Board have confirmed. Nirokhi Raychaudhuri (Now You See Me 2) is the executive overseeing the project for the studio. The YA romance, which was published by Razorbill in Janurary, is being pitched in the vein of Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife.
The story is centered around Natalie, who is having a magical last summer in her small Kentucky hometown until she starts seeing the ‘wrong things’ – momentary glimpses at first. Her front door is red instead of the 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 Natalie 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.
Lionsgate has seen plenty of success from its previous YA adaptations, including the The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and Divergent – which is set to launch its third installment Allegiant this week. Last year, Lionsgate bid on another YA property, Blackbird, another dramatic thriller that fit within the studio’s brand of high-concept, young adult fare.
The Love That Split The World doesn’t have the same degree of action and thrills as the aforementioned properties; rather, it leans more towards fantasy and romance. In that sense, it shares elements with box office hits like The Fault in Our Stars or Paper Towns – but with a distinct magical twist. Nevertheless, the book’s target demographic certainly overlaps with the audience that Lionsgate has successfully cultivated over the years, which should offer the studio an opportunity to utilize their well-established resources in that market as Love moves forward in the development process.
Henry, whose influences include Lois Lowry’s The Giver and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies where she wrote The Love That Split The World on spec.
Josh Lyons | Managing Editor