“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Buy the book here
- Page count: 376
- Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
- Content warnings: intimate partner violence / domestic abuse, violence, mentions of suicide, mentions of depression, attempted rape
It Ends With Us was my first read by Colleen Hoover. I went into this book with no knowledge of the plot or content. Hoover’s work in this text is particularly powerful.
Lily Bloom is aware of the humor of wanting to open a flower shop whilst being named Lily Bloom. Still, she’s come a long way to get to this point. Her life hasn’t exactly been easy up until this point, and opening the flower shop is her dream. Around the same time, Lily meets the charming and attracting neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid. Lily and Ryle hit it off immediately, and although Ryle says he doesn’t do relationships, the chemistry is too real for either of them to deny.
Just as Lily is diving into a life with Ryle, a face reappears from her past: Atlas Corrigan. Atlas, who was her first love. Atlas, who knows more about what Lily has been through than anyone else. Atlas, who was supposed to be gone but now is back at just the moment when Lily and Ryle are beginning to progress.
Lily’s story is a powerful one about breaking the cycle of abuse. The story flashes to Lily’s childhood through Lily reading letters she used to write to Ellen Degeneres and details the frequent intimate partner violence that Lily witnessed in the book.
Hoover sets up a cast of characters that are all flawed. She brings back this recurring theme of “There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things” which is powerful and a crucial lesson. Still, the book contains depictions of horrible physical and emotional violence. An important nuance of this theme is that “no bad people” does not justify the actions of the abuse.
The impact of family ties live throughout the story. The witness of abuse in childhood impacts Lily’s adult life and her relationship with her mother. If anything could’ve been explored more intimately, I wished it was the relationship between Lily and her mother. Lily expresses resentment against her mother in the beginning of the book, but her experiences shift this relationship to a new place of understanding. Ryle’s own family history impacts him as well, although I won’t spoil any details.
I longed for a but more from the actual writing itself. Hoover’s plot is riveting and kept me reading, but I found it difficult to connect with the narrative voice of Lily. She read a bit younger to me than a woman in her twenties, and this sometimes threw me off. Also, the letters to Ellen are such an interesting format for flashback, especially with the serious content they contain. If you’re wondering why Ellen? Know that this book was published in 2016, long before any allegations were made against the TV personality.
Ultimately, this book was about Lily’s journey to break away from a “love” that contained repetitive abuse and manipulation. For those who find this a triggering topic, be warned that this novel contains intense depictions.