Book Review – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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“We all have a limit. What we’re willing to put up with before we break.”

The day Lily Bloom delivers her father’s eulogy is the day she hightails it out of her hometown in Maine to the bustling city of Boston. There, she jumps on starting her own business and ends up meeting a certain neurosurgeon, Ryle Kincaid, who makes her heart race and her knees weak.

Ryle Kincaid is sweet, compassionate and stubborn with a touch of arrogance. He also seems to be breaking all the rules when it comes to Lily. His “no dating” rule becomes null after their third, fourth and fifth date. Still, Ryle’s severe reluctance to enter a relationship gives Lily pause, but her worries fade as their relationship flourishes.

Everything changes once Atlas Corrigan comes back into the picture. As one thing after another falls apart, tensions continue to rise and trust is slowly lost.

Here’s why you should give It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover a chance…

It was real.

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”

You don’t know what’s lurking beneath someone’s skin. From the outside, they may seem perfectly stable, but we all have our demons. Some voices are just louder than others.

Lily’s dad was an abusive drunk who beat on his wife. He never intentionally laid a hand on Lily, but he had no problem taking it out her mom and there are no excuses for that. None whatsoever.

Here’s the thing, if you live in a constant state of fear to make the wrong move, then why would you stay in that toxic environment. Why not call the police? Or talk to your family or a friend? Those were questions I once had and the truth is, I can’t judge them. I have never been in that situation and I can’t even begin to understand the thoughts running through their minds.

However, Colleen Hoover gives us a glimpse into the mind of Lily’s mom. Although she’s a fictional character, there is nothing fictional about what she says.

“We all have a limit. What we’re willing to put up with before we break. When I married your father, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly . . . with every incident . . . my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. The first time your father hit me, he was immediately sorry. He swore it would never happen again. The second time he hit me, he was even more sorry. The third time it happened, it was more than a hit. It was a beating. And every single time, I took him back. But the fourth time, it was only a slap. And when that happened, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, ‘At least he didn’t beat me this time. This wasn’t so bad.”

The sheer power behind Colleen’s words makes your chest tighten and your heart go out to anyone who ever thought a slap “wasn’t so bad.” But that’s just it, no one thinks they’re going to end up in an abusive relationship and no one sure as hell does not think they, let alone, would stay in it. Until it happens.

There were times when I would just sit and stare at the words. At least, it looked like I was staring at the words when, in reality, I was holed up in my mind. It’s difficult reading this story straight through because of how heavy it is. Colleen Hoover did say you could rip some of the pages out, to make it lighter, but I would never do such a thing to this work of art. The subject is intense and at times you want to scream at the air, but that’s why I can’t get enough of it. Also because of the insane quotes, I adore them.

“No one is exclusively bad, nor is anyone exclusively good. Some are just forced to work harder at suppressing the bad.”

It was ugly.

“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”

Ahhhhh! I wanted to press the damn rewind button, go 60 seconds back and freeze everything. Think about that person who will do anything for the perfect Instagram picture. Hang from a cliff? No problem. Climb a skyscraper? Hell yes. Now, the picture is frozen in time, but the person’s body went splat because he/she took a hard fall.

That was Lily and Ryle. Lily was the person who wanted the perfect picture and Ryle was the unstable rock that let her fall. The aftermath was devastating because you knew in your gut the cycle was going to repeat itself. To make matters worse, you fell for Ryle and you can’t wrap your mind over what he did.

So you start making up excuses and when he says it will never happen again, you believe him. Because the guy who’s becoming your #1 would never purposely do that. It was an accident.

By the time this disaster rolled around, I was already invested in Lily and Ryle. They were going in the ‘couples hall of fame’ book list. I freaking loved them together. The truth is, you don’t know what anyone is exactly capable of until it happens.

When Ryle pushed Lily with enough force to draw blood, my jaw dropped. And all it took was a measly fifteen seconds.

I don’t know how many times I read that part over to see if I misread, but it was a good number. The fact that I just sat there, solemnly staring off into the distance (at my wall), was reason enough to decide then and there that this would be a 6 star rating no matter how it ended.

Ugly moments like the one above don’t always reach their full potential. Sometimes they fall flat which slows the punch to the gut. This, however, was a whistle in the air. I never saw it coming.

It was raw.

“You are my wife. I’m supposed to be the one who protects you from the monsters. I’m not supposed to be one.”

Ain’t that the truth. Oh Ryle, I have such mixed feelings when it comes to him. Don’t get me wrong, what he’s done to Lily is unforgivable, but there’s this small part of me that grieves for him. Who he could have been if it weren’t for the incident that happened when he was a kid.

There are moments that define lives and for Ryle, that was the second the bullet found its target.

Kids are kids. They don’t understand the power behind certain objects. Take a gun, for instance. A child sees it, may know what it is, but doesn’t think anything of it, so he/she picks it up. Then the kid plays around with it, maybe a friend or a sibling is also there, maybe not. But when that loaded gun goes off, someone dies. Something that will weigh on the kid for the rest of his or her life.

Something that Ryle has dealt with ever since that bullet tore into his older brother. That day defined him. His reasoning behind becoming a neurosurgeon. The reason behind his anger issues. For his “no dating” rules.

But that is still no excuse for abusing the person you are supposed to protect. There IS no excuse for abuse.

I despise how emotionally exhausted I am simply from writing this review and bringing everything back to the surface. The story itself made me question myself dozens of times, which was great, don’t get me wrong, but it was also mentally taxing.

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”

It was honest.

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

The last 35% was a challenge within itself — halfway through I channeled my inner Dory, mentally chanting “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming”. And boy was it one hell of a strenuous, and quite painful, swim.

I felt so conflicted when it came to Lily and Ryle. For one, he seemed to truly care for Lily, but if you care about someone, you don’t abuse them. And if you love them enough, you set them free. He knew Lily was better off without him, so he was going to set her free…until he found out she was pregnant.

That put a complicated twist on an already complicated situation which frustrated me. I wanted a clean break. But then life laughs in your face and rips you a knew one.

However, Lily stuck to her guns. She wouldn’t allow herself to fall into the same pattern which takes strength; breaking the cycle is never easy. If it was, everyone would do it.

And it was beautiful.

The homeless kid who Lily saved as a child was the guy who protected her in the end, their past and present irrevocably intertwined. Atlas never stopped loving Lily, but he was no home-wrecker. If she was happy, he was happy for her. That is the type of love that exists between people who will always have the other’s best interests at heart.

“He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “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 Author’s Note

Honestly, I usually never read the author’s note. As soon as I read that last word, the book closes and stays closed. But when a book moves me as much as this one did, I tend to milk whatever else there is out of it to have a few more glorious minutes with it.

What I didn’t know was how important and powerful the author’s note was. It was just a story until I read about Colleen’s connection to it. Then it became real life. The thing is, domestic abuse does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone.

So when you read this, check out the author’s note. The strength it must have taken to write about something so close to home takes guts. Especially when you’re baring yourself to the world. For me, that deserves a read.

My Recommendation

READ. THIS. NOW!!!

Drop whatever you’re doing, go on amazon or drive to Barnes and Noble and buy It Ends With Us. It stays with you long after it’s come to an end, leaving you with both a sense of hope and heartache. Heartache for everything Lily had to go through to feel the sand between her toes once again and hope that she’ll rediscover herself with the help of Emmy and Atlas. You won’t be disappointed.