It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is known for writing new adult romances, and It Ends With Us won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for romance, so I went into this book fully expecting it to be a new adult romance. This book is NOT, however, a romance. I would not under any circumstances classify it as a romance. I have no idea why it’s categorized as one.
It Ends With Us has a developing love story both in the past (through diary entries) and in the present, but I’d say the primary theme of this book deals more with domestic violence and spousal abuse than anything else. As a work of general contemporary fiction, I think this book had a good message, but there were definitely some parts I didn’t like.
Some of the things that Lily, the main character, finds romantic definitely rubbed me the wrong way, and this is a problem I’ve found in every new adult romance that I’ve read, actually. For example, on a first meeting, any guy who brings up sex within a half hour or so seems creepy and obnoxious to me, but Lily didn’t seem to think so. Nor did she have a problem with Ryle (which is a bizarre name) literally stalking her to actually BEG for sex a weird thing to do. And when she noticed that he’d blown up a blurry picture of her from their first meeting and hung it on his wall? She thought that was pretty cool, too.
None of that seems romantic to me. At all. He does many other things throughout the book that are creepy and annoying, but I’m not sure she reacts positively to those ones as much, and I won’t spoil the whole book. Some of her reactions to things are definitely not what you’d hope, but I think this is explained a little in the author’s note about domestic violence and the mindset of battered spouses at the end.
Aside from the “romance” elements, I thought Lily’s fast friendship with Alyssa was unrealistic, and it’s a little weird to throw in a rich person just because. I don’t think it added much to the story to have her be so wealthy. I wish that Lily had had more friends and that her mom had been in the story more. I didn’t understand her relationship with her mother, especially after she was in Boston.
What I did really like was learning about Lily’s relationship with Atlas and her family life as a teenager through her diary entries. I also liked the dynamic of her relationship with Alyssa, even if I didn’t like everything about how quickly it developed. Besides these, I really did think Lily’s thought process and perspective on domestic violence was handled very well, and this is where the book really shined.
I think this story is decent, but not great. It was quick and definitely had a good message to it by the end, but I’m not sure that it’s led me to want to read any more of Colleen Hoover’s books. I gave it three stars.