(This review will discuss the “twist” that takes place halfway through the novel!)
As a diehard fan of Colleen Hoover I was expecting to enjoy It Ends With Us but even I am surprised at how much I love this book. It’s everything a classic Hoover novel is: funny, romantic, moving and down right heart wrenching! However, there is something about this book, something about the subject matter which just makes it so much more important than a romance.
I had been counting down the days until it’s release in August but after reading non-spoiler reviews I knew I wanted to give myself a weekend to read this. I also suspected that it was going to be sad, but had no idea the subject matter was abuse.
Lily is a character I loved and hated. As soon as I read about Lily’s childhood I realised what this novel was going to be about. But despite the warnings I started to fall in love with Ryle and Lily’s relationship! Because of this I spent the first half of the novel desperately waiting for the other shoe to drop, which was unbearable! I didn’t want to like Ryle , but it didn’t seem like there was nothing to dislike. But…then it happened and it was heart breaking! I appreciate The fact that Ryle was a likeable character because it really hits home that sometimes abusers are the last people on earth you think they would be. An uncomfortable truth but one that Hoover has done a service in bringing to her readers. In the same way I thought Alyssa was a great edition to the novel. Alyssa and Lily’s friendship demonstrates how complicated it can be to identify and acknowledge abuse.
The book is compelling, even as you have to watch Lily’s life unravel until she eventually hits rock bottom. Lily isn’t always likeable, but that’s life. Hoover develops her character well, mixing present events with diary entries. I found it painful to read about Ryle and Lily’s love when you knew that it was unhealthy. But that is clearly Hoover’s intention with this story. This is a story about domestic abuse, it’s not meant to be easy to read! She has crafted the book incredibly well allowing the reader to experience the confusion at the same time as Lily! There were times when the decision to leave felt complicated, messy and difficult. But throughout there were moments when it feels like Hoover was literally talking to you through the paper, (or screen) reassuring you that everything would be ok. Lily is human and damn my heart bled for her. She is beyond inspiring and even though I wish the story didn’t have to go where it went, its important that it did. These difficult topics need to be talked about, no matter how painful. As soon as I realised the subject matter, I made sure a couple friends read this book over the same weekend. We all cried, but most importantly we discussed our responses to the novel and it started a conversation about abuse. I don’t have any personal experience with the subject, but I know it has the tendency to linger in the dark corners of our lives. It seems the only way, sometimes, to destroy it is to face it.
Atlas’s character honestly ripped my heart out. I really appreciate how Hoover handled his and Lily’s relationship, in light of the marriage breakdown with Ryle. Some other writers might have pushed them together too soon. It would be easy to have Lily leave Ryle for Atlas, but Hoover did the subject justice by showing Lily make the decision purely for herself and her daughter. Some part of me needs an extra chapter showing Atlas and Lily finally happy and in love so I truly believe it, but that’s also the part of me that refuses to read books when I know there isn’t a HEA! I honestly can’t think of a way to make this book any better! I truly believe the book is perfect as it is. I have never, EVER, cried that much at any book! I even cried at the note Hoover has written for the end of the book. The afterword grounds you in reality. It reminds you that domestic abuse does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone no matter their background and circumstances!
I remember reading a fan letter Colleen Hoover posted onto her instagram a month or so after the book release. The woman described how three days after she finished the It Ends With Us she dropped her children at school. After thinking about the book briefly, she simply sat back in her car and started to cry. The fan described how the book had really touched her when she was reading it, but she hadn’t cried at all. Then suddenly in her car that afternoon the ending just hit her. Apparently she sat and sobbed in her car for an hour before driving home. When I first read the letter I was like, “Er, what?” But after reading It Ends With Us for myself I completley understand. I seriously recommend this book to any fan of Colleen Hoover or to anyone that typically enjoys romance. I have told so many family and friends to read this book -even my mum who loved it. This book isnt going to leave you with a grin on your face, but you will walk away with a little more warmth in your heart.