Book Review

It Ends With Us

It Ends With Us

  • Author: Colleen Hoover
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016 
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Series: It Ends With Us #1

CONTENT WARNING: domestic violence, child abuse, mention of rape, mention of suicide, violence, blood

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book is so hyped on social media, and I always, always see it featured on BookTok. Since I’ve already read three CoHo books and enjoyed them immensely, I figured that I should give this one a shot and see what all the fuss is about.

As always, CoHo takes a difficult situation and manages to work it seamlessly into a romance. But, in this book, there are two different romances, occurring in two different timelines. We have Lily’s teenage romance with Atlas, a boy who faced difficult situations, and as such is uniquely equipped to help Lily work through her own tough situation. But in the present day, we have Lily forming a bond with a notoriously relationship-averse Ryle, who seems to be perfect other than that. 

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Lily immediately. She’s an easy character to like, driven and focused on her future, while dealing with incredible amounts of pain associated with her past. She’s a character that is easy to identify with, even as she faces immense challenges in the present. Ryle, on the other hand, was the kind of character that I really liked in the beginning, but grew to change my opinion of pretty quickly. Most of all, I also loved Atlas, and wanted to learn so much more about him. It’s a good thing that book 2 is coming out in the fall, and I’ll get to hear his side of the story, because that’s all I really wanted from this book.

So, this book tackles domestic violence. Lily grew up seeing it, and like so many other people in that situation, winds up following that pattern as an adult. One of the main strengths of this book is allowing the reader to put themselves in the mindset of a person trapped in an abusive relationship. Lily herself says something along the lines of how easy it is to judge someone and wonder, “Why didn’t they just leave?” while also exploring the difficult bonds that tie someone faces that make it so difficult and often impossible to leave.

“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.”

But it also talks about finding your inner strength, and what it takes to create a major change in your own life. Lily had me in awe of her strength and dedication to doing what is right for her, whether it is speaking up to her family, starting a business of her own, or working hard to change the dynamics operating in her present life. 

“‘Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn’t waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.’”

This wasn’t an easy book to read. There are graphic incidents of domestic violence throughout the book, and not just the physical repercussions, but the emotional and social ones that come along with it. And for me, I hated the LI, which makes it difficult to fully get absorbed into the romance aspect. Although I found the beginning a little slow, by the end I couldn’t stop reading and sulked through an event I had to attend for an hour because it cut into my time to finish the book and finally find out what happened. And while this wasn’t my favorite CoHo books, it was good and I have very high hopes for It Begins With Us

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