Book review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Permalink

In the lead up to its release, I saw It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover EVERYWHERE. Hoover’s an adept and enthusiastic user of social media (a trait I love) so helped build the anticipation and excitement and – although I’d never read anything from the American author – I knew she had a bevy of YA and romance-loving fans who helped animate the groundswell.

This latest book is – again – a romance but despite my antipathy toward the genre I started to suffer from FOMO when I saw the books appearing everywhere, so was very glad when mine appeared (and remembered I’d requested a review copy from the Australian publisher).

Book review: It Ends With Us by Colleen HooverIt Ends With Us
by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
on August 2nd 2016
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Romance
ISBN: 1471156265, 9781471158254
Pages: 325

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. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

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.

This book has more 5-star ratings on Goodreads than I have seen. Ever. Hoover’s fangirls have lapped up this latest offering. However… from some of the reviews I’ve read from trusted sources I know she’s traumatised a lot of people as well. And many have found it a challenging read.

There’s nothing light and fluffy about this book. It’s complex and it’s confronting. And very good.

In the first scene we meet Lily on a rooftop where she’s gone for peace and quiet after her father’s funeral. She loved her father. Sort of. But mostly she hated him for what he did to her mother. Sparing his daughter, he’d spent most of his life abusing his wife – seemingly thinking he could hide that predilection from Lily as well as outsiders. Leaving home as soon as she was able, even Lily’s relationship with her mother was tenuous, as she struggled to respect the woman who ‘stayed’ in the acrimonious marriage.

It’s on the rooftop that she meets Ryle who’s smart, funny, gorgeous, charismatic and almost a doctor-to-boot. But he’s also anti-relationship and makes this clear to Lily. She’s wanting the full deal – romance, love and marriage so they go their separate ways.

Ryle’s hard to forget, however, and Lily realises she hasn’t felt this way since Atlas – her first love who disappeared from her life when she was only 16. And who – 8 or so years later – continues to hold a place in Lily’s heart.

It’s fate then that Lily and Ryle meet six months later. And she’s been on his mind too. They’re seemingly made for each other and before they know it, they’re falling in love.

Enter Atlas. When she least expects it. And the feelings are still there. But he’s obviously moved on and Lily knows she needs to as well. And Ryle is perfect.

Even her mother is impressed.

But… and there’s always a but… torn between these two men who’ve had such an impact on her life she’s reminded of a third – of her father’s legacy.

I know a lot of people were surprised at the turn this novel takes, but I do think you see it coming quite early on. It’s more a case that you don’t want to believe it and don’t want to accept it. Even I wanted to cover my eyes and remain in denial. #nooooooo

Given my usual meh-ness towards romance, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this novel.

Hoover creates wonderfully likeable characters in Lily, Ryle and Atlas. It would have been tempting to fall back to stereotypes but she deftly avoids that trap.

All are engaging. I wondered occasionally if some were too good to be true but Hoover writes from a position of personal experience and a sophisticated level of self-awareness.  Indeed, her author note at the end was unbelievably touching (and brought this wizened old hag to tears).

This isn’t necessarily the story we want to love, but it’s powerful for that very reason. Hoover doesn’t take the easy way out. And with a fabulous cast of characters and engaging writing I can see why this is a huge hit. I can only imagine it will get picked up for the big or small screen fairly quickly.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and is now available.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

  • Donna
    August 11, 2016

    Gosh, I’d usually avoid this but based on your review I’m intrigued. Thanks.

    • Debbish
      August 12, 2016

      I hope you enjoy it if you get the chance to read it Donna.

  • Kathryn
    August 11, 2016

    Really interested to read your review of this one. I know I’ve read a few of them and one or two had enough to give me an idea of what the issue is. If I read one by her (haven’t yet) I think this would be the one because it obviously is something more than her usual. Oh I did read a novella of hers and … couldn’t see why everyone raves. But I think I need to read something substantial like this before I really judge.

    • Debbish
      August 12, 2016

      Everyone seemed to all read November 9 and I would have liked to have read it…. but didn’t get the chance!

  • Jess
    August 11, 2016

    Your review was awesome. Sounds like a great read and I never like romance.

  • Heidi Waygood
    August 14, 2016

    Have just finished reading this book. So well written with a really important message to everyone out there.

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2016

      Yes and very hard not to give too much away in the review. I probably gave away a bit more than I should have…

  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    August 24, 2016

    I’ve been trying to avoid reading too much about this book – wanting to begin reading it not knowing too much. I am glad to know it is a bit different from her other books with an important, but hard to read story. Your review was not too revealing.

    • Debbish
      August 24, 2016

      That’s a relief Nise’ as I was a bit worried I gave too much away… I felt that you could see the direction the book was going but know some people were shocked by the turn it takes. It’s an excellent read and – like you – I knew little about it before diving in.

  • laurelrainsnow
    August 28, 2016

    I have this book, and definitely hope to read it soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Great review!

    • Debbish
      August 28, 2016

      I hadn’t heard of Hoover until 9 November and a lot of US bloggers talked about her and the book and then I saw her posting a lot on FB in the lead up to this release and some of her signings (which were HUGE!) and decided I SHOULD read it. I think a lot of her previous books were young adult fiction which might be why I hadn’t heard of her.

  • Addicted to Happily Ever After
    August 28, 2016

    Great review, girl!!! I was wondering how you would handle it and I’m glad you wrote it the way you did. Although, I didn’t see anything coming… *sigh* I was thoroughly torn with this one. Relationships are tough… 🙂 I gave it 5 stars.

    • Debbish
      August 29, 2016

      Thanks… and I’m glad you enjoyed it as well! I’ve not really read any negative reviews.

  • Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    August 29, 2016

    I have been swerving this, but you have made it sound really good, might have to tip my toe in!

    • Debbish
      August 30, 2016

      Yes… it’s a bit of a distance from my usual reading fare but I enjoyed it. LOVED the characters – something Hoover did really well.

I'd love to hear your thoughts