My Rating: ★★★★☆
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
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, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
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.
Trigger Warnings: domestic abuse, violence, attempted rape
It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a Colleen Hoover book (my first and only one before this was Ugly Love *slightly spoilery review*) I had already forgotten how addicting they are. I’ve had this book on my shelf for such a long time – probably since it was published – I didn’t even remember what it was about anymore, so I basically went into this book blind. All I knew was that it’s a Colleen Hoover book and the cover was beautiful. Little did I know that the gorgeous and light cover was concealing something darker within its pages.
Things I Liked:
I think the fact that I went into this book completely blind heightened all my emotions and reactions while reading it. On one side, that made reading the story more fun and exciting, but considering this book deals with a heavy topic such as domestic violence, on the other side going in blind also made this discovery very shocking. I saw the red flags early on and started to get a bad feeling about Ryle, but I wasn’t completely sure if that’s where the story was going, not until he actually did hurt her the first time. After that there was no way in hell I was going to be cheering their relationship on, no matter what Lily felt for him or all the good memories he gave her.
The flashbacks to Lily’s high school days threw me off a little when it first happened because I’d never seen any YA parts in Colleen’s books before. It was a nice surprise because Young Adult and New Adult are the two genres I mainly gravitate towards, so reading a book that had both mixed in was really fun and interesting to experience. Also, I have to say that those flashbacks to Lily’s first love, Atlas, were my favorite. I may be biased because I’m a huge fan of YA books, but I think it’s also because of Atlas himself. Some may say he’s predictable and the typical “knight-in-shining-armor” character but I love those types when they’re done right! Atlas was the almost perfect guy that Lily deserved right from the start and I was cheering them on the entire way.
Something I did not expect to gain from this book was a deeper understanding of abusive relationships and realizing how complicated they really are. Prior to this, I was one of those people who naively thought the issue was fairly black and white: If a person really loves you they wouldn’t repeatedly physically harm you, apologize, then do it all over again, and if they did that person didn’t really love you. Lily’s relationship with Ryle made me so scared for her, but also frustrated the hell out of me because she didn’t simply leave him the first time he hurt her out of love for him. Now, I can see her reasons why and how really tangled and complicated abusive relationships can be. I also can now see how it’s easy to simply say “just leave” when you’re not the one in the relationship, and how that is just being narrow-minded.
Things I Disliked:
Despite a few sweet moments, I never really liked Ryle in the first place. I understood why Lily fell for him in the beginning but as soon as I started seeing more red flags that she was blatantly ignoring and reasoning away, I quickly started to hate him. He was the absolute worst thing about this book and there were so many times I wanted to just reach inside the pages and shove him off a half-finished building to impale him on the thin rusty metal bars protruding from the ground below. 🙂
This was the most difficult Colleen Hoover book for me to read because it deals with heavy topics of domestic abuse and the complexity of abusive relationships, but was surprisingly very insightful. It still has entertaining parts and the romance that I’m accustomed to seeing in her books, but now also mixed with a dark, complicated, and heartbreaking side. Although I had to take a few breaks while reading this due to the heavy themes, it was still enjoyable and satisfying at the end and I’m glad to have read it. This feels like the most serious and mature Colleen Hoover book I’ve read so far, and I have to say I was impressed.
About the Author:
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of thirteen novels and multiple novellas. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a non-profit book subscription service and bookstore in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
VERITY, Colleen’s next full-length novel, is set to release December 18th, 2018. It is now available for preorder.
Have you read It Ends With Us? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!