BEWARE OF SPOILERS, this is an opinion-based book review. There will be spoilers.
It Ends with Us is a book that covers very heavy topics. If you are easily triggered by domestic abuse and violence, this may not be the article for you.
Blurb from It Ends with Us
“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, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s completer aversion to relationships is disturbing.
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.
With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends with Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.”
This book was tough to read, to say the least. I found myself picking it up, reading a few chapters, and setting it back down, not because it was poorly written or because I wasn’t interested and hooked, but because of the subject matter. I felt the need to take breaks in between reading, just to process the information.
Colleen Hoover introduces us to the lives of Lily and Ryle, two characters with haunted pasts that affect their lives in the present. Lily’s mother’s past of domestic abuse and Lily’s somewhat apathetic reaction to her mother being abused create irony when Lily finds herself in that same situation. Throughout the book, you can see her relationship and thoughts of her mother evolve from once being upset that her mother dealt with abuse to keeping a relationship with her father to understanding how difficult it is to cut out someone you love, and how necessary it is to draw boundaries to keep yourself safe above all.
Hoover made the reader understand and sympathize with Ryle as if we too were there with Lily during their relationship. We learned of Ryle’s past, and what may have caused massive amounts of trauma and led to aggression between him and Lily. We as readers also felt the emotions of having such a loved character, someone we connected with, turn into someone else entirely. Hoover’s writing created layers to this story, peeling them back, offering us scenes from Lily’s past relationship with Atlas through the Ellen diaries, occasionally adding a bit of comedic relief.
Throughout the story, we could see Lily’s values and beliefs begin to crumble early in her and Ryle’s marriage. She gains all the ideals that her mother once had that she used to resent. After an especially shocking and unbelievable event happens where Ryle pushes Lily down a flight of stairs, Lily begins truly analyzing her relationship, especially after she finds out she is pregnant while in the hospital being treated for injuries that Ryle inflicted upon her.
She gains the strength to end her toxic relationship, not for herself, but for her newborn daughter. She wanted to end the cycle of abuse in her family. The intricate relationships created by Hoover make this story unlike any I’ve ever read before. It was a heartbreaking story, on the other hand extremely empowering. If you’ve enjoyed other books written by Colleen Hoover, I highly recommend reading It Ends with Us. I highly enjoyed this book.