Book Review: ‘It Ends With Us’ by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us is dramatic, absorbing, sad, and shocking at times –

– which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Colleen Hoover. Her books are incredibly engrossing and always have characters that readers can immediately take to. Also, her books always have a twist that turns the story on its’ head.
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I feel like Colleen Hoover books are story’s that people should read without knowing too much about the plot so all I would say is that it is about a (~) 23 year old named Lily who lives in Boston and meets a boy named Ryle. That’s pretty much it – I wouldn’t say anything else. I think that knowing too much about the plot in stand-alone books like this takes away from the experience of reading it.
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Overall I would rate this book around a 7.5-8 / 10. Definitely a good beach read if you are going to find yourself near the seashore anytime soon.
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And if you’ve read other Colleen Hoover books then here is about where I rate it:
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I would say I liked it more than Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, and liked it a little less than November 9 and Slammed… it was probably on par with Confess for me.
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But anyway, everything from now on will contain spoilers. (!)

Book - it ends with us - aruba

Book Review: It Ends With Us

This story took a detour from other books by Colleen Hoover in that it dealt with a much more serious and challenging situation than her other protagonists have experienced in their relationships. (Although I still maintain that Ugly Love dealt with an abusive relationship that was sort of swept under the rug and I don’t like how that book ended).
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Overall – I found that I was less absorbed in this story than I have been with previous Colleen Hoover books because there was never really any point in the book where I was actively pro Ryle.  Even though we were supposed to like Ryle during the build-up of his and Lily’s relationship, I was never that into his character – even during his good moments.
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This may be due to the jumps in time throughout the book, which I thought took away from Lily’s growing feelings for him. The reader progressed so fast in Lily and Ryle’s relationship without really getting to experience the progression as Lily might have. I don’t know, I just feel as if the book could have been a little longer in order to expand on the buildup of the relationship between Lily and Ryle.
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So, given that I never really understood Lily’s love for Ryle, as soon as the he became aggressive and abusive I was out.
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In saying this, however, I do think Colleen Hoover did an amazing job portraying the mindset of someone in an abusive relationship. Even without liking Ryle all that much, Lily’s back-and-forth struggle with leaving him made sense to me. Even though I didn’t love Ryle, Lily did, and I understood her hesitation. Ryle is not an inherently bad person – and I can see how that, mixed with his sweet moments with Lily, could cloud someone’s judgment and make them stay in a relationship in the hopes that the sweet moments and the love will win out in the future.
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My favorite part of the story was the letters Lily wrote to Ellen. Although it was sad, I was interested (maybe not quite the right word?) in getting to know about Lily’s experience growing up in an abusive household – and I was also really invested in her relationship with Atlas. Throughout the book I felt like we never really got enough time with Atlas.
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And I am glad she seemingly ends up with Atlas in the end but oh my God was the end dialogue cringey as all get out. The over-the-top proclamations about love and about finally ‘saving each other from drowning’ was a little too overdramatic for me considering they just ran into each other on the street. It was just too abrupt and too, too much, too soon.
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I would have been much more satisfied with an open ending where they say something like – “do you want to go get coffee?” or something – and then just leave it with the implications that they reconnect and progress their romantic relationship at a natural pace.
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(Rather than jumping into each other’s arms on the sidewalk after a year – but I guess that’s not really how Colleen Hoover operates.)
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Now, in regards to the twist (or one of them at least) I wasn’t actually that surprised – or surprised at all. And I feel like I’m always shocked by the twists in Colleen Hoover’s books. They’re always extreme and seemingly from left field – HOWEVER – I called the twist about Ryle’s childhood from the beginning when Lily and Ryle were first talking on the roof at the start of the story.
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After he was so angry and so impacted by the little boy who died, it just seemed glaringly obvious to me that he was involved in a similar situation…
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Not that an angry reaction to what happened is unjustified. I know when I hear about things like that, anger is definitely one of the emotions that runs through me. But Ryle just seemed so intensely impacted by the little boy who was holding the gun.
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And because I’ve read so many of Colleen Hoover’s books, and because Ryle’s reaction was so focused on the little brother who survived, it stayed in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading. However, when it finally did come out that Ryle had gone through the same thing with his older brother, it still sent chills through me. I can’t imagine someone would ever fully move on from that sort of traumatic experience, and I did feel for Ryle at that point.
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All in all I really enjoyed reading Lily’s story. I thought the topic of domestic violence was really well covered and I think it highlighted just how strong someone has to be to leave those situations.
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Random end thoughts:

  •  My favorite character was Marshall. (For sure.)
    •  His humor was on point, I liked that he was a onesie pusher, and I liked that he protected Lily.
    • I also liked that he brought up cheeto girl in front of Alyssa’s mother.

  •  I liked that Alyssa told Lily to leave Ryle even though she’s his sister – that made me really love Alyssa as a character (not that I didn’t like her before).

  •  I’m not really into the morbid flower shop idea – even though Alyssa thought it was “brilliant”… but hey – maybe I’m just not seeing the full vision here.

  •  I loved that ‘It ends with us’ referred to Lily wanting to end the cycle of domestic violence with her daughter – that part did make me tear up a bit. I also liked the conversation she had with her mother toward the end when she told her about Ryle.

  •  I feel as if we could have a whole other story about Atlas and his life after moving away from Lily. I want way more of all of the guys who work at his restaurant with him! They were only in one chapter and I honestly took to them more than I took to Ryle.
    • So I hereby create a petition to get Colleen Hoover to write Atlas’s story.
      • (please and thank you.)

Anyway, I always really like Colleen Hoover’s books and I’ll continue to read them as long as she continues to write them! If you’ve read It Ends With Us, let me know your thoughts on it! (Actually if you’ve read any of Colleen Hoover’s books let me know what you think about them!) (I just used a lot of exclamation points!!!!)
Book Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. whatsdanadoing.com
-Dana
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