Book Review | ‘It Ends with Us’ by Colleen Hoover

This book review contains spoilers.

On Friday night, I read 118 pages of the #1 Sunday Times Bestseller, ‘It Ends with Us’ in one sitting. I put the book down at 3am in an attempt to get some shut-eye and I felt… underwhelmed. You have to understand, for weeks I’ve seen this book constantly show up on my Booktok ‘FYP’. Although I’ve stayed away from spoilers, I knew this book was incredibly well received and highly recommend. Perhaps I hyped it up too much? I think this is why I was initially disappointed. On the surface it appeared to be, a rather cliché, boy-meets-girl romance.

He’s a devastatingly handsome neurosurgeon who hates commitment. Her name is ‘Lily Bloom’ who dreams of opening a flower shop. They meet one night on a random rooftop in Boston. Luck will have it, there’s an instant connection, however, it’s not meant to be and they go their separate ways. We then skip forward serval months to find Lily pursuing her dream of becoming a florist. Another random encounter introduces her to Allysa. A rather over-familiar, incredibly excitable young woman who seems to wedge herself into Lily’s life within a matter of hours. Allysa declares herself as Lily’s new employee with no interview or hint of any experience whatsoever but they instantly become best friends. As they gush over their new adventure together Lily falls over and hurts her ankle. Allysa runs to get help and, it just so happens, she’s the beautiful rooftop stranger’s sister.

The first part of the book seems a little too predictable and painfully sweet, however, I’m glad I continued to read ‘It Ends with Us’ as it lulls you into this false sense of security… and that’s what love does, doesn’t it?

This book isn’t just about falling in love with a beautiful stranger on a rooftop or unexpectedly running into your first love in a restaurant, it’s a story about one women’s inner turmoil as she attempts to end the cycle of domestic abuse she witnessed as a child and is now caught up in as an adult.  You are there every step of the way. The way Lily rationalises the behaviour of the man she loves and then slowly starts to justify his actions is painful and, sadly, relatable.

The tension Colleen Hoover creates is palpable. The way she describes each moment is enough to put any woman on edge. The red flags are there but did you see them? The way she makes the reader sympathise with the abuser whilst also evoking a sense of danger is uncomfortable and frankly, brilliant. I literally stopped breathing at one point. There are certain aspects that annoyed me. Her journals for example. The ‘Dear Ellen’ format made me cringe slightly, however, it was also a clever way to look at her perspective through the eyes of a teenager. I understand that it was supposed to be juvenile but I didn’t enjoy them.

Hoover recently announce a second installment, ‘It Starts with Us’, which is due to be released this October. I’m excited to explore the relationship between Lily and Atlas more and the dynamics of the characters. Although, in my opinion, it didn’t live up to the extraordinary amounts of hype currently surrounding the book, there’s no doubt ‘It Ends with Us’ is beautifully written, intense, and empowering, especially as the mother of two little girls.
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