Published by Simon & Schuster UK on August 2nd 2016
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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