I think I must be the only person who has never read a Colleen Hoover novel before, or at least that’s the way I feel. It Ends With Us has been on the bestseller list since it was released in 2016 and now that it’s been announced that a movie will be made starring Blake Lively as our heroine Lily it is back at the top again. I received this book and it’s sequel, It Starts With Us as a Christmas present from my mother. A good choice because I had looked at this book over and over again, but hadn’t yet picked it up. Why? Well, it looked like it would be a drama filled piece of fiction and that’s not usually the kind of book I like to read. However, I have been trying to broaden my comfort zone so I was determined to give it a go.
There may be a few spoilers, so please read at your own risk.
Lily Kincaid had a tough childhood. Her family life was rough and she protected herself by not building relationships with anyone at school so she was a pretty solitary child. One night when she’s looking out over her back yard from her upstairs window she sees a boy (Atlas) she goes to school with entering the abandoned house behind hers. After watching for a couple of days she realizes that he’s living in that home. She leaves him food and a friendship is started. Years later she is living in Boston, dating a gorgeous neurosurgeon (Ryle), when she bumps into Atlas at a restaurant while Ryle is meeting her mother for the first time. All of the things from her childhood come to the surface and her happy life implodes. It was at this moment that I realized how difficult it was going to be to read this book and not be totally invested in these characters.
Colleen Hoover was genius at building Lily’s character. We knew exactly who she was because we had her childhood as a reference. We knew she was smart and had fortitude, wanting to build and achieve her dreams. We also know life sometimes throws things in the path that makes achieving those dreams difficult. When the reader is introduced to Ryle, he is everything you’d hope for Lily. As we get to know him, we see that there’s something holding him back but we want him for Lily so much. He seems just perfect, but of course, he is also one of the obstacles in Lily’s way to happiness. It’s amazing how well this author made us believe in that happiness, and even made us feel bad for him as well as her when it all fell apart. That’s talent!
Atlas was more of a romance novel leading man. He was all big, handsome, and alpha in a protector kind of way. Once he and Lily reconnect, he does let her live her life- but he’s there when it all falls apart. I’m curious to see what’s behind this alpha male wall that will make him different and also as beloved as Ryle once was. That’s in the next novel though. In It Ends With Us, he is relegated to catalyst for everything that happens between Lily and Ryle, but he also steps back and waits- allowing Lily to decide what direction her life will take. I admired that about his character. It was a smart choice by the author because I’m now more than invested in their future story.
As I stated in the first paragraph, this was not my usual choice for a quiet evening read. There was a lot of love, angst, and pain in Lily and Ryle’s story. It was not easy to read, yet the story was interesting and kept me hooked. I think this is the type of novel that is subjective to what the reader’s own experiences are and have been- that will determine if they like or don’t like the novel. I enjoyed it but I don’t think this is a story that I would go back and re-read. I’m debating whether I’ll even see the movie. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
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