It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, published August 2016 by Simon and Schuster.
Read: August 2016
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary/Romance/Issues
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY to win a paperback copy of It Ends With Us (INT)!
SO many thoughts for this one! Where to begin?! Let’s start with the basics – I LOVE that cover, and I’m very pleased that the UK cover is the same as the US one. I was getting really fed up with getting the raw end of the deal when it comes to CoHo covers! A side note – I pre-ordered this book with The Book Depository, and I should have known better. Yet another pre-order that didn’t work in my favour (find out why I give up on pre-ordering). It arrived over a week late, as they had no stock. I can’t even. Now, on to the review 🙂
*WARNING* – MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
I gobbled this book up in one day (albeit a hungover Sunday, so plenty of time for lazy reading, and over-sensitive emotions). As all CoHo books are for me, this was a highly anticipated read, and Hoover upped her game with online promotion. It felt like snippets, initial reviews, and promo material were constantly in my newsfeed. I’m not complaining as such, I just feel like all of the noise over-hyped this book for me, and seriously raised my expectations. It’s probably safer for me to un-follow Hoover on social media each time she has a new release out, as going in blind is always best with her novels. Because of all the hype, there were a couple of times I felt a little underwhelmed by the story (but then again, that could have been the hangover talking!), but overall I really enjoyed this read.
This novel has two stories running concurrently – we get the present day story of Lily, flower shop owner, and girlfriend of super broody Ryle (the guy who just doesn’t do girlfriends until Lily comes along), as well as flashbacks to teenage Lily and her first love, the super supportive and kind, Atlas (really, Colleen? Atlas?!). Hoover always manages to add a unique story-telling twist to her books, and in this case the flashback chapters are written to Ellen DeGeneres in a diary format. Hoover handles multiple story-lines and multiple timelines expertly, so that was in no way a problem. I did have a minor problem with some areas of the novel that were trope-heavy. My cynical side is beginning to sneer at elements of romance novels that are really unrealistic and/or far too good to be true.
However, as I’ve come to expect from Hoover and her originality, there are other areas of the novel that are all-too-realistic, painful, and emotionally hard-hitting. Just as in life, CoHo is NEVER black and white. She gets the nuances of life, and spins a story around you that is so vivid, and so emotional, that you truly struggle to comprehend what you would do if you were in the position of her characters. Hoover excels herself in It End With Us when it comes to “the grey areas” – character morals and ethics, what’s right and wrong, what can be forgiven, and what can’t. She forces her characters to make some really tough decisions, and in the process forces her readers to engage with the story on a whole new level. My strength of character was tested by this novel.
There was a sub-plot that I felt was a little unnecessary. It seems to have been used to provide a reason/excuse for a character’s behaviour, but I think for its gravity, it should either have been given much more time, or none at all. I get that we are heavily influenced by our experiences in life, but sometimes people just behave like a shit, and we don’t need to psycho-analyse their history. However, massive Brownie Points also need to be awarded. As someone who reads a fair amount of Young Adult and New Adult books, I’m pleased to say that Hoover has finally broken the mould for authors everywhere – no one in this novel let out a breath they didn’t know they were holding.
Colleen has an online merchandise store, and considering the super-fan that I am, I’ve never made a purchase. Until now. Whether it’s incredibly smart marketing (which I’m fine with), or beautiful coincidence, Colleen usually manages to include something in her novels that she can make tangible for the readers (the music from Maybe Someday, the artwork from Confess), in this case a new t-shirt has been released that I HAD to have, and each purchaser also receives a Boston magnet. This is significant. Shipping has always put me off, but while I was there I also ordered a signed copy of one of my favourite books as well (Ugly Love with the US cover!).
This book is very personal to Colleen, a note at the end of the book explains the real-life experiences that were the inspiration for the story. It raises so many emotions in the reader, that it’s difficult to give this book a rating, or to rank it among her others. I had to take a few days to digest it before I felt I could pull together a review. Overall, I’m not sure I would count this as my favourite of her work, but it is an incredibly well-written and worthwhile read.
“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”
“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.”
“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person.”
“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.”
Have you read It Ends With Us, or are you interested in picking it up? What’s your favourite Colleen Hoover read so far? Let me know in the comments!