Book Review: It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover

it-ends-with-us-colleen-hoover-book-review

Title: It Ends With Us (2016)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: New Adult
Extent: 376 pages
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

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, and 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.

Review

I wasn’t really expecting to pick up any of Colleen Hoover’s works — I’ve been warned multiple times before that she writes stuff I usually wouldn’t like (insta-love, over-angst, etc.), so I steered clear and abided by people’s recommendation… until, well, It Ends With Us. I read a couple of positive reviews, saw that it’s different to her usual stuff, and decided to take a dip. The result? Well… this is an interesting one. This review might contain spoilers, so tread with caution. 🙂

It Ends With Us introduces to us Lily, a twenty-something with big dreams who lives in Brooklyn. On the night of her father’s funeral, she meets Ryle, a tall, dark and handsome neurosurgeon who wants nothing to do with relationships but wants (of course) her. Time passes, they get together, and things take a bit of a dark turn as Lily discovers there’s more than meets the eye about the same time a man from her past, Atlas, resurfaces in her life.

This book deals with domestic abuse, and I think it does so in a very clever, very sympathetic, very real way. Lily is a multi-dimensional and complex character, and through her, Hoover explores this theme from a myriad of angles, attempting to answer difficult questions such as: Why might someone stay with an abusive partner? Can someone who hurt you also love you? What is the right thing to do?

“No one is exclusively bad, nor is anyone exclusively good. Some are just forced to work harder at suppressing the bad.”

There is a lot of angst, but this is a book (and a theme) that deserves a lot of angst. Abuse is such a tricky thing, and Lily is a great protagonist to navigate us through the issue — she has her own preconceptions of what it’s like, just like many of us might. Yet nothing is black or white here, no character inherently an evil person, and I really appreciate the stance that Hoover has taken with this story.

Unfortunately, there were some things that felt a bit flat for me. The writing, for one, was not bad: fast-paced enough that things keep going when they’re supposed to, but just wasn’t remarkable by itself. The characters other than Lily and Ryle, meanwhile, felt more driven by the story, than the other way around — they exist for this theme, but not so much outside of it.

“Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives. Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t apart of the same ocean.”

I don’t think I’ll categorise It Ends With Us as a romance, because at the heart of it, it’s more about Lily-and-herself than Lily-and-her-men. The men play a huge part in her story, no doubt, but it’s her own growth, her own development, that takes centre stage in this book and makes the romantic relationships secondary.

I can’t say I’m a Hoover convert right now — gotta try out her other titles before I make a grand statement! — but I’m impressed by how delicately she explores the theme of domestic violence in It Ends With Us. Overall quite a powerful, emotional book, with lots of eye-opening and thought-provoking messages. 😊

REAL RATING: 3.5 stars.

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39 thoughts on “Book Review: It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover

  1. I have been a little leery of CoHo books because they receive so much praise. I feel like those great ratings have an impact on my expectations and I often end up disappointed with books that the majority of readers have loved. I am glad you enjoyed this one 🙂 I love the cover. Great review.

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    • Yeah, all that praise has an impact on my expectations too! I liked this one though – I’d almost say it’s a “full adult” rather than a “new adult” book. The themes are heavy enough that it could translate to a lot of audiences… and yeah, the cover’s really pretty. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve drifted away from Colleen Hoover’s books as of late but I’ve heard so many great things about the exploration of domestic abuse that I’m intrigued. I can’t say I’ll be picking it up anytime soon but it is one I’ll be considering in the long run. Great review. 😀

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    • Do you generally read CoHo books? She’s one of the only NA authors whose books I’ve read, although I guess that’s not a surprise because she is likely THE big-name one. Without the theme, I don’t feel like this book would be as good – the writing was fine to me and it did have a bit of insta-love. 😂

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    • Yeah, I agree! I actually went in to the book not knowing who’s going to be the abuser – the summary doesn’t explicitly say, and I’m actually glad it turned out to be who it is because it gives the opportunity for the theme to be explored in a more current, intense way. I wasn’t expecting that. 🙂

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  3. Amazing review Reg, I still need to read this book. I’m so glad you gave Colleen Hoover a chance and found you enjoyed this 🙂 I know I’m one of those that always says give her a go haha so this makes me happy! I’m very intrigued to how I will like this one, I’m an emotional person so I guarentee I cry.

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  4. Loved loved the review, Reg! I’ve been wanting to pick up this one but for some reason I keep putting it off, maybe in the near future! I’ve never been a huge fan of CoHo either, but I did like Maybe Someday though.

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  5. Every now and then I feel like I should read some Colleen Hoover (mainly because one of her books is called November 9th, which is my birthday), but, like you, I just can’t summon up the enthusiasm. I wasn’t aware that she had written a book about domestic abuse. I thought her work was more along the lines of straight up sexy romance novel – which I’m not against, I just have to be in the right mood, and I’m not all that often.

    I totally agree that it’s an important topic to discuss. Sometimes seeing something represented in fiction helps people to identify things in their own lives. That said… I still don’t think I have the energy to try her out. Maybe one day.

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    • For me it was the FOMO – everyone was talking about her and loved her books! So I caved and got this one from the library. I’ve heard that it’s different to her other works, though, and I suspect that’s because this one is more serious in terms of the themes.

      And fair enough! If it’s not for you, then it’s not for you, regardless of how popular the book/author is. 😛

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  6. I’ve always given Colleen Hoover’s work a pass too. Her writing just didn’t gel with me. But maybe I’ll try out one of her books too lol. Great blog 🙂

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    • Thanks! To be completely honest her writing didn’t strike me as particularly special, but since this is my first book of hers, I’ll have to read her other ones to see what they’re like. I do think this book in particular is worth reading, though – it just explores such an important theme. 🙂

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  7. I’ve yet to read one of Colleen Hoover’s books, but people recommend her so much to me that I want to give her a chance. I was told to read Maybe Someday, it’s a lot of people’s favorite, but this might be a better one book to start with. Great review Reg 🙂

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    • I’ve been recommended Maybe Someday too recently! I think with this one, I’ve heard that it’s not her typical type of story, so even if you like it you won’t like the others. I’ve personally read Confess, and I have to admit that I didn’t love that one (unfortunately). I hope you get the chance to check out one of her books. 💝

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah, there’s a LOT of Hoover followers, but as I’m not a big contemporary reader, I’ve never read her books. I’ve deceived, though, that if I do read contemporary lit, she will be the first author I try.
    😉

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        • Nope. I need some fantasy or science fiction aspect. I know, I’m weird.
          I’m going to give it a chance…I think I’m making up for years of reading “YA” that was simply Sweet Valley High or Fear Street. I also got started reading again by reading VC Andrews, and the books were great, but they got repetitive. So I’ve been on a major reality hiatus.
          But I bought a couple Rainbow Rowell books when they were on sale: figure I’ll start with those…see how it goes, you know?

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          • Not weird at all! Just a matter of preference, that’s all. 🙂

            I haven’t even read those YA books or VC Andrews! I think Rainbow Rowell is a good place to start – she’s not my favourite author, but her books have been SO hyped, so most people like it. Hope you do as well. 🙂

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  9. Great review! This was my first CoHo (picked up on that from another commenter!) book and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really know anything going in so the domestic abuse themes really hit me hard. It was definitely handled very well!

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