Where do I begin?
Well, actually I know to start this off by saying that this review will not be spoiler free.
I have a special place in my heart for Colleen Hoover because “Ugly Love” was the first book in the new adult romance genre that I read and immediately fell for romance books. It destroyed me and I cried for days afterward and after that I read everything else she had written.
My anticipation for ‘It Ends with Us’ was high. And honestly I’m so glad I read this book. Here’s a visual representation of me reading this book:
Lily Bloom is a 23-year-old woman who left her home behind after the death of her father, who she hated (and rightfully so). She seeks comfort in Boston where she hopes to start a new life and she meets Ryle Kincaid, a sexy, neurosurgeon who’s overly confident, brilliant and knows exactly what he wants.
“In the future… if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again…fall in love with me.”
The only problem is that he has a strict ‘no dating’ rule; he meets Lily and only wants to hook up with her. But after a few back and forth conversations, we see that Ryle has quite a bit of a soft side for Lily.
Their romance starts off as a fairytale. It’s perfect; he’s perfect. Lily couldn’t quite possibly imagine what could go wrong until Atlas comes back.
Atlas was a homeless boy living in the vacant house next door who Lily secretly cares for; she lets him shower in her bathroom before her parents come home, she gives him food and water daily, and sometimes lets him sleep in her room.
They fall in love until Lily’s father finds out and beats him up for it, forcing Atlas out of Lily’s life for good.
Now I am not blaming Atlas for any of Ryle’s actions because they rely completely on him–which is what this book and Colleen wanted to tell her readers. It’s never your fault.
“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”
Lily finds her old journals as she settles into her new home in Boston. These journals are filled with handwritten letters to Ellen Degeneres (I thought the concepts of these letters was a bit weird, not going to lie) but it fit the plot perfectly. In each letter, she talks about her day and vents to Ellen about her abusive father.
Yep, abusive. Do you see why I can’t blame her for hating him? Lily watched her father abuse her mother multiple times and Lily’s mom made excuses for him all the time. I wanted to shake her and so did Lily. She vows to herself to never be in that position that she watched her mom go through.
And then the story takes a twist. Hoover pulls the rug from underneath our feet and destroys what we thought we knew, and our perfect Ryle turns out to be exactly like Lily’s father.
While reading this, I found myself wanting to shake Lily and beg her to open her eyes, but I also found myself understanding her choices. After the first time he hits her, she excuses him, she blames herself. The second time, she vows to leave him. The third time she makes her choice that alters her life.
Upon learning she’s pregnant, she leaves Ryle’s side; the only person she can seek comfort from is the one person Ryle hates: Atlas. She doesn’t have anymore options and is too scared to speak up and tell her family. Atlas provides her with a home to parallel what Lily did for Atlas when they were teens.
One thing that makes Lily reconsider getting back with Ryle is their baby. Lily wants her baby to have a good life
“It stops here. With you and me.”
But that’s the thing when you’re with someone like Ryle. When things are going good, they’re great, but when it’s bad, it’s bad.
Hoover does such an incredible job of making us all think about how we see abuse. Often times, we are so quick to blame the woman or the victim and why didn’t they do anything to get out of their situation. But it’s rare for us to ever ask why do the abusers abuse people?
I had a pretty good grasp on this idea prior to reading. I’ve seen people I love go through hard situations and it’s easy for me to run and ask them why aren’t they doing anything to change their lives, but those questions and that rage should be put on the abusers.
Ryle was perfect on paper. Initially he was everything a person could have wanted. And Hoover does that purposely to show us that abusers can be anyone, and no matter how good they appear to be, they can be flawed. Ryle’s life was tragic and his actions were byproducts of the life he had dealt with before, but Lily knew for the sake of their daughter, that the cycle of abuse “ends with us.”
5 stars. A poignant, powerful, and heartbreaking read. Everyone has to read this book.
If you read this book and need to seek solace or safety, here’s the domestic violence national hotline website. Or give them a call at (800) 799-7233.