It Ends With Us Review: It Ends With An Unnecessary Romance

September 14, 2016 by Jenna | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

It Ends With Us Review: It Ends With An Unnecessary RomanceIt Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon & Schuster UK on August 2nd 2016
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Sometimes the one who loves you is the one 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, 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.

I was expecting great, great things from It Ends With Us and I was a little bit let down. It’s been established that I definitely do not have a heart of steel but yet I didn’t find myself connecting with the emotion of the story or shedding a tear at what happened in this book. I won’t deny that it was an important story that needed to be told but I don’t believe that the concept of the book was executed as well as it could have been.

This is a book about domestic violence and abusive relationships (trigger warning). The main character in this novel, Lily, grew up in a household where her mother was constantly physically abused by her father. She hates her father for being abusive and her mother for being weak and staying in the relationship. Now, as a young woman in her mid-20s, she’s starting her own business as a florist and living her dream as a strong and successful woman. She meets a neurosurgeon, Ryle, who is just as driven and career-focused as herself and develops a quick attraction to him. The only problem is that Ryle is completely aversive to relationships, which opposes everything that Lily stands for and wants in her life. Throw in a sudden reappearance from her very first love, and Lily’s got quite a dramatic life.

It’s a little bit hard to go further into the plot without spoiling it but I really enjoyed it. I thought it explored some very important themes like abusive relationships and childhood trauma. However, I didn’t really connect with the emotion of the story and while I sympathized with the characters, I didn’t particularly care that much. I think this was due in part to the story lacking a bit of flow. There were lots of times when the story would skip ahead 6 weeks or 6 months and I never felt like I was in the story because of this. There were also some things that felt a bit unrealistic and made the story less relatable and genuine. For example, a character randomly brought up having a baby when their work schedule wouldn’t allow them to even be around all that much. Characters spontaneously bought expensive apartments and move in the following day. I mean, where do you find the time and how do you get out of your current lease? Considering I’m the same age as Lily in this book… I just found it a bit hard to believe.


My other issue with the novel was the characterization. There wasn’t a single character that I felt close to or extremely connected to, but I didn’t particularly dislike any of them either. I felt that all of the characters were given really tragic backstories in order to make them more complex, and I wasn’t really a fan of this approach because it made it seem disingenuous and thrown in for the sake of creating characters that weren’t boring. Having said that, it didn’t make me dislike the characters so I guess it was fine. I liked Lily’s strength in the book and she was definitely a character who grew on me as the story progressed. I thought the way that she handled herself was wonderful.

“Be that girl, Lily. Brave and bold.”

Even though this book does focus heavily on the romance, I wasn’t a big fan of it. There are two love interests in this book, but I wouldn’t really consider it to be a love triangle. Lily is never in love with both at the same and Colleen Hoover tackles this aspect quite well. The main relationship in this book is the one between Lily and Ryle. I didn’t really feel any chemistry between the two of them and I thought that their romance progressed way too quickly from attraction to love. This was probably also due to all the skipping of time in the book, but I just felt that the development of their relationship was far too quick. The novel also has some flashbacks that are presented in the form of journal entries that Lily reads back, and these flashbacks focus on the romance she had with, Atlas, a homeless boy from her school that she fell in love with as a 15 year old. I enjoyed this relationship a little bit better but I didn’t feel like they had much chemistry either. So I was left feeling a little bit cold about all of the romance in this book. And when you don’t enjoy the romance in a new adult novel, that’s probably the kiss of death.


While It Ends With Us tackles some very important issues about family and abuse, I didn’t think that the wonderful concept of this book was fully realised. I didn’t think that the writing was particularly good and I had a hard time connecting with the story and its characters. This book was inspired and based around Colleen’s own family and her mother’s story, and I found myself connecting much more with her author’s note than with her actual novel.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing a review copy of the book.


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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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22 responses to “It Ends With Us Review: It Ends With An Unnecessary Romance

  1. Fatin

    I just feel bad for Ryle. He just someone who sometimes do bad things.

    But I love everything about Lily even though I think she's not completely honest with her feelings. I agree with you that their relationship moving so fast that's the reason I think you decide to marry Ryle so that she can move on but unfortunately, deep down in her heart, she's still in love with Atlas.

    About Atlas, I think he's just got lucky for having a pure heart. Tbh, I'm not really a fan of him.

  2. Kelly

    I can definitely see where you're going with the whole characters doing unrealistic things…I'm in my late 20's and think half the things you mentioned would be simply impossible…I mean, it's hard enough to afford bills and the mortgage on a current place, let alone just up and getting a new apartment whenever the mood strikes! Your review for this was a breath of fresh air, honestly – I've seen nothing but good things about it (and I did buy a copy, but haven't read it yet), but when I read it I will probably have the same feelings towards some of the more unrealistic things.

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    • I don't really read a lot of New Adult novels but when I do, it always strikes me how unrealistic some of the characters are. The main character in this book is the same age as me and she has her own business, an apartment and… money! Okay, I can MAYBE understand that she was able to randomly buy a new apartment and move in the next day since she has a rich neurosurgeon boyfriend but I'd still be like "wtf my lease isn't up and it's gonna take me 30 billion years to pack everything and move". Also, what's up with every single person being unnecessarily rich? I'm just a bit over Colleen Hoover's books at this point. But I hope you can look past some of the issues I had and enjoy the book 🙂

  3. Um, is it awful that I simply CANNOT get past the names? Ryle? What is that? And ATLAS? Really? I cannot take those seriously, especially in what seems like a rather serious story. And if you can't connect to any of the characters in what is supposed to be a moving and emotional book.. yeah, no, I don't think I would enjoy this one very much. I feel like with such important subject matter, a connection and feels are a must. Great review, Jenna!
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    • HAHA I had the exact same reactions to the character names! Also the main character's name is Lily Bloom and she's a florist XD. And her mother's maiden name is Blossom! I couldn't take the characters seriously and I changed their names in my head as I was reading. I'm a bit over Colleen Hoover's books right now. I can never really connect with them emotionally because a lot of the time her storylines seem overly tragic and dramatic. I own one of more novel of hers that I haven't yet read, so after that one I'm definitely breaking up with her books.

  4. nereyda1003

    I skipped this one and I'm so glad I did. She is a good writer, there is no doubt about that. But I am really annoyed by how she continues to use things like rape, death and abuse as 'plot twist.' I also lost all respect for her after reading the author's note at the end of this book. It just came off as emotional manipulation to me. Glad you still somewhat liked this, I think it's time for me to break up with this author.

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist
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    • I wholeheartedly agree. I've only read two of Colleen Hoover's books but from what I've read and heard, all of her plots are exactly the same with a different tragic backstory for each character. I can somewhat appreciate that this book was based on personal experiences and wasn't just another one of her "oh let's add some rape in here" storylines… but I couldn't connect with it emotionally, which makes me question how genuine the emotions in this book were.

    • I can see why people love this book. I just couldn't really connect with the characters and the story, so there wasn't much for me to latch on to, which was a shame because I thought the book explored a really important issue 🙁

  5. I can safely say that this is one book I definitely won't be reading. I knew what it was about, but wasn't sure to what extent so thank you for the trigger warning, as this hits too close to home for me. Domestic violence is an issue that results in difficult discussions and it can be really confronting for so many people. I enjoyed CoHo's YA titles, but all of her NA books have been the same for me, excess drama and flooded with overly sexualised romances. I appreciate how well loved she is, but I can't help but see most of her fictional relationships as borderline toxic. I'd love to see her return to YA, but I think it's easier to churn out NA titles, change the same and the secret they're keeping and it's marketed as a new book entirely. Will you try any of her other titles, or has this one ruined the CoHo experience for you?

    Wonderful review Jenna and thank you for the warning, I know it's been hotly debated on social media by the author herself, but for us who've experienced domestic violence for years and years, we appreciate it <3
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    • I totally agree. I've only read Ugly Love and this one but from the synopses of her other books, it sounds like they all just involve really toxic and problematic relationships. It also definitely sounds like the characters and their stories are all the same, with just a small tweak in the issue they're dealing with or the secret they're keeping. I'm honestly not that impressed. I can see why people love It Ends With Us so much – it's based on CoHo's own experiences of growing up in a home with domestic violence but for such a personal story, it just wasn't emotional at all for me. And I totally agree that this book needs a trigger warning. I had no idea that it was about DV until I started the book because it's marketed as a love story between a girl and a relationship-phobe. It's hard to mention without spoiling the book but I think readers need to know!

      I have one more unread CoHo book at home, Confess, and I'll probably just read that one and be done with her books.

    • Yeah I'm totally the same way. I love issue books but I'm just having a harder and harder time finding one that I find really realistic and relatable.

  6. I'm always looking forward to reading CoHo's books, but I must admit that I'm terrified of this one. Many have shared your opinion, to be honest. So it looks like I might have to postpone reading this a bit longer.

    • Haha I actually picked this one up because I saw tonnes of rave reviews for the book. I can see why people thought it was really good, but it just wasn't for me. I couldn't really connect with it and I guess you just can't predict how you'll react to it.

  7. lekeishathebooknerd

    That's the thing, isn't it? You can focus on heavy issues, but if the writing and story aren't strong, it doesn't come off right. I've read similar reviews for this and it goes to show that not everyone loves the same things. However, this goes back to earlier this year when there were lots of discussions about whether some readers rate and review based on the topics in the book, rather than the story itself. I'll definitely have to read this for myself to see if I feel as you do or if I truly love it.

    • I had this exact debate going on inside me after I finished the book. I wasn't in love with the story and its characters (or the characters and their stories) but I thought the issues were really important. I think enjoyment is a big factor when it comes to my rating system so I'd like to think that my rating for this book nicely reflects not only the objective things like writing and plot but also the issues. I don't know what my subconscious is doing though so I guess we'll never know 😀

  8. Now that I know what this book is really about, it sounds like a really personal story which is good. I also like that there is a portrayal of work and a careee in it. But I do agree those tragic back stories seem to be stereotypical of CoHo books. Thanks for the review Jenna!

    • I can't really tell if you'll like this one or not, Jeann. I guess it really depends on whether you connect with the issues and the story. I definitely appreciated it more after I read the author's note at the end but I don't think the novel itself was particularly outstanding.

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