It Starts With Us Should Have Ended With Us

Book Review

It Ends With Us is Hoover’s best selling book. It was the #1 New York Times bestseller even years after its release and has over one billion tags on TikTok.

Instagram (colleenhoover)

It Ends With Us is Hoover’s best selling book. It was the #1 New York Times bestseller even years after its release and has over one billion tags on TikTok.

Hannah Martin-Edmonson, Features Editor

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover encapsulates what it’s like to grow up in an abusive household adding in the perspective of  a person in an abusive relationship. The way Hoover shows this situation is amazing and perfectly explains what those victims went through, from experiences the author’s mother went through as described in the author’s note. 

“Before I wrote this book, I had a lot of respect for my mother. Now that I’ve finished it and was able to explore a tiny fraction of the pain and struggle she went through to get to where she is today, I have one thing to say to her. I want to be you when I grow up”(373), Hoover said.

This book affected me greater than any other book ever has. Hoover took her time and knowledge to bring together the story of Lily Bloom. Lily had come from an abusive household watching her father, Andrew Bloom, who was constantly abusive both physically and mentally, and she then ended up in just about the same situation that her mother, Jenny Bloom, was in. 

In this book, Hoover highlights the experiences Lily experienced as a child, such as those with Atlas Corrigan, a homeless 17 year old boy who she helped through life as best she could. As she got older, she met two siblings, Ryle and Alyssa Kincaid, who profoundly influenced her life in two different ways. The book highlights Ryle’s aggressive and stubborn demeanor, whereas Alyssa is more reassuring and straightforward.

“I really liked the book, it left me sad for a couple of days, but I’m glad that I got educated on this topic. This was the first Colleen Hoover book I have read, and I thought it was beneficial to see that things aren’t always what they seem to be and there’s always stuff going on behind the scenes,” senior Brenna MacGregor, said.

In the book, Hoover made sure to connect with her audience. I felt like I was living the life that Lily was living. It Ends With Us was extremely honest, raw, inspirational, and all around a beautiful story.

On the flip side, her prequel, It Starts With Us had a completely different impression on me. I struggled to find a connection with Lily to understand what she was going through. Hoover was pressured by BookTok to create this book and write it with the same effect as It Ends With Us, but it seemed to make Hoover rush through the book and not completely develop Lily’s emotions as well as they were in It Ends With Us.

In particular, the ending of the book was extremely rushed jumping from one big event to the next, leaving me unaware of the space between those events. Her writing compared to It Ends With Us was not as strong, and I often found myself skimming through the book because it was boring.  It felt especially slow because each event repeated itself over and over again. It went from relationships to family issues, then back to relationships and family issues in a repetitive cycle. I could almost always guess what was going to happen next.

Some parts of the book that were especially  anti-climactic included Atlas finding out he had a brother, Josh. Adding this in seemed like Hoover just wanted a filler in the book — kind of like she was out of ideas — so she just threw it in. This twist was not pertinent to the plot and characters.

“It wasn’t necessary. Hoover is known for her plot twists, and if this was her plot twist, it definitely let me down. Usually you expect the unexpected, but this wasn’t jaw dropping. The book felt like a long epilogue, like she was adding just to add. There was so much hype about it, so it seemed like the book was forced.” Emma Young, Hoover fan, said.

I was completely shocked that this book was almost too easy to read —  like I was reading a WattPad story — which is an extremely good start for a new writer, but not one like Hoover who has published over 20 books. As Hoover’s books are aimed for a more mature audience due to the many themes she brings in that are too

Hoover has sold over 20 million books throughout her career.
(Instagram (colleenhoover))

complex for younger minds to understand, she still writes like she is aiming for a teenage or even middle school audience. In my opinion, if you are going to bring in mature themes, you need to follow up with mature reading — I could’ve written this book. 

Hoover brings in endless gratuitous sexual content that didn’t add anything to the story or character development. As the sexual content made up half the book (literally), it seemed extremely childish. The relationship in this book reminded me of something that would happen freshman or sophomore year of high school. Is this not supposed to be about adults going through tough situations together? If I had a relationship like that as a senior in high school, I would tell my partner to mature a bit and stop being so cringy all the time. 

“I stare at her response for way too long, hoping it’ll be accompanied by another text. But it isn’t. That’s all I’m getting. It’s only two words, but I can read between the lines. I sigh in defeat and drop my phone onto my desk”(Hoover 19).

When I first started this book and read tha paragraph, I knew the book was doomed from there. This is being said from a 25 year old, but it sounds like it’s being said by a 14 year old having their first crush.

It Starts With Us was extremely underdeveloped and wasn’t a necessary addition to It Ends With Us. Throughout the book it seemed like a scribble of ideas, there were so many themes and random moments that were just not necessary to the book as a whole and completely distracted from the main plot.

All together, I absolutely loved It Ends With Us and would recommend it to anyone who is mature enough to read it, but It Starts With Us was a big no from me.