Every now and then you read a book that sweeps you under like a wave in the ocean. For me, a book like that needs romance, strong characters, tough topics (handled well), and a great plot. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover was just that. This book made me laugh and cry. It made me want to throw my Kindle across the room at times, but only because I loved the narrator so much and wanted the best for her. And after it stomped on my heart, it put it all back together again. This was my first CoHo read, and she may have made a devout fan out of me already.

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The summary, from Amazon:


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 complete 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 contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

50 Romance Novel Reading Challenge

I chose this book for my 50 Romance Novel Reading Challenge, created by Love, Sawyer. The prompt was Week 17: Second Chance. I would classify this book as New Adult, Drama, or Women’s Fiction (though I prefer to just call it “Fiction”), but it has a heavy dose of romance, including a second chance relationship involving a high school sweetheart of sorts.

Buy It Ends With Us here.

Holy crap. How to describe this book?!

Lily is in her early twenties, and hasn’t had the best upbringing. Through her recollections and old journal entries, we see she has a good relationship with her mother, but her recently deceased father abused her mom. Lily hated him for this, understandably.

In high school, Lily fell in love for the first time with a boy named Atlas. Atlas was, for a time, homeless, and lived in the abandoned house behind Lily’s. He was a very important part of her life.

But Lily is a young adult now, and living on her own. She even opens her own flower shop, a lifelong dream of hers. She meets and falls in love with a rich and handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle. But when Atlas reappears in her life, everything with Ryle is threatened.

I got so much more than I bargained for with this book. I feel I must share that it contains scenes of domestic abuse that are really disturbing. But oh my goodness, what Colleen Hoover did with her characters in this one was stunning. I can’t go into too much detail without giving spoilers, but at one point I was ready to hate-read this book until it was over and rate it two stars. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lily, but I was worried this woman would make the wrong choice. I was wondering, “How do people love this author so much?” And then the plot and characters moved in such a way that was so organic and lovely.

In this book, I was able to both hate characters and feel empathy for them. I was able to find a character’s actions despicable, but still understand that people in their life loved them and always would. But what really stood out to me were the friendships in this one. Lily’s relationship with Atlas and their instant friendship after years apart was lovely, but it was her friendship with Alyssa, another woman, that stole the show for me.

I waffled back and forth between 4 and 5 stars for this one. When I shut this book, I was happy with the ending but still felt so much anger on behalf of multiple characters. But then I realized that this was all due to Colleen Hoover’s expert penmanship. She really pulled me in and made me love these characters as if they were real people, so this had to earn a 5 star rating.

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It Ends with UsIt Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an emotional rollercoaster of a book. I’m going to have to gather my full thoughts on this one for my full review at bitchbookshelf.com. There was a moment where this almost became a two star read for me (generally the lowest I rate) but the author did something amazing with this one. A definite trigger warning for spousal abuse.

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Book Club Questions

  1. What’s the message, overall theme or takeaway of this book?
  2. What do you think really held Lily back from entering a relationship with Ryle at first?
  3. What initially drew Atlas and Lily together and what draws them back together again in Boston?
  4. Did Lily makes the right decision in the end?