It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”
It Ends With Us was the first Colleen Hoover novel I have ever read and I’m so glad that was the case. Hoover is a massive presence in the contemporary YA community and I thought it was about time I finally sat down to see what all the fuss was about.
The novel follows twenty-three year old business graduate Lily Bloom who has had a hard life growing up in an abusive family, and falling in love with a homeless boy when she was fifteen with disastrous consequences; but she has finally left that life behind and opened her own flower store in Boston. There, she meets Ryle Kincaid, a successful neurosurgeon who is driven to be the absolute best in his field. When they meet, sparks fly, but Ryle is completely against relationships and desires only a one night stand from Lily. But the more time the two spend time together, the more Ryle falls for her. Lily also has to deal with the sudden reappearance of Atlas, her first love. Lily relives her past with Atlas through a series of diary entries dedicated to Ellen DeGeneres. Lily’s life gets turned upside down as she tries to contend with the pressures of opening her own business and being torn between two different men whom she loves more than anything.
“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”
From the moment I first opened this book, I was hooked. Colleen Hoover is a beautiful writer that draws you into the story so it feels as though you have become the protagonist and are experiencing everything through Lily’s eyes. We are a part of her journey. The novel begins quickly as Lily meets Ryle only a few pages into the first chapter. I really like that. Lily is a high-functioning woman and the pacing of the novel completely matches her personality.
Lily was a beautiful protagonist. I fell in love with her when I read her first journal entry. I was right there with her during her high moments and her low moments. She was such a strong character who tried to do what she thought was best. What surprised me the most was those moments where I found myself agreeing with Lily even though I knew I shouldn’t. Lily tried everything to keep her relationship going and her excuses for Ryle really broke my heart. However, those scenes were so real too, I couldn’t fault her even though I desperately wanted to.
“And as hard as this choice is, we break the pattern before the pattern breaks us.”
At the beginning of the novel, I fell in love with Ryle just as Lily did. He was smart, handsome, ambitious, and even a little arrogant, which I enjoyed. I really liked his determination to be the best in his field, no matter what. His willpower and drive made me suddenly want to start writing my long-overdue essay. Even when he commits unforgiveable acts, there was still a part of me that liked him! I couldn’t believe it! That is definitely a testament to Hoover’s writing skill that she had me finding excuses for such a man.
He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “In the future… if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again… fall in love with me.”
Atlas, though. Oh, Atlas. If only I had someone like him in my life. Atlas is the new standard to which I will measure all future book boyfriends. His backstory was so heartbreaking to read, even as I looked forward to them because I really enjoyed reading his growing friendship with Lily. His love for Lily knows no bounds and there were times where I was completely blown away by his commitment to her, even though he hadn’t seen her in years.
I don’t want to say much more about the characters, or the plot itself, because this book is one of those rare cases where the less you know, the better the book is. I will say this though: It’s so easy to judge someone when you don’t know them, to say, “I would never have done that if that was me,” or, “But why didn’t she just leave him?” It Ends With Us reminds us to never judge someone in a situation that you are not in yourself. Sometimes, leaving a relationship is not as easy as people think it can be, especially when there are children – and love – involved. This book reminded me of that.
“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”
It Ends With Us spoke to me on a deeply personal level – it was so raw and heartbreaking, there were many moments where I found myself putting the book down for a long while so I could just take a breath. Please, please read this book. Go in with an open mind and I can guarantee you will be changed forever.
“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”