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A heart-wrenching story about love and bravery.

By Catherine NyomendaPublished about a month ago 7 min read
Top Story - June 2024
"Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most"

Very few books refuse to let your eyes leave it even for a minute and this book was one of them for me. Each dialogue hits hard, each incident digs deep, each heartbreak feels personal and when everything is put together they all Make Sense.

This book made me feel the pain, and yet stay happy. Because sometimes the only right way out takes everything you cherish and even more. It is a heart-wrecking bargain and that is exactly what Collen Hoover has wonderfully portrayed in the form of a story, based on her personal experience, which for me is the hardest part of all. Many books have made me feel happy, filled me with laughter, made me fall deep into sorrow, opened a different perspective and some have even left me intrigued. But this book made me do something I never did before.

Write an honest review.

Understanding the victim is one thing but to understand the reasons behind their decisions comes with a heavy price. The price of watching someone you love go through it or being the one to go through it.

Colleen has sketched her characters beautifully. She started the book with a wonderful phrase, "there are no bad people, there are just good people who sometimes do bad things" and she stayed true to that line. She isn't spreading the message of hopelessness that usually a book on domestic violence perpetuates, she has heavily leaned towards making it all right, and taking hard decision and gathering the courage to learn your limit even if it means it will break your heart into million pieces to impose it.

The main character Lily Bloom is 23 years old, a recent college graduate who has just lost her father. While we might expect this to be a sad start to the book, we quickly learn that Lily’s father was far from a good man. He is shown to be an abusive husband, physically, sexually, and emotionally to Lily’s mother, but he has never laid his hands on his daughter.

After her father’s funeral, Lily finds herself on a rooftop gathering her thoughts and feelings about his death, when she comes across Ryle Kincaid, a 30-year-old resident surgeon who has just finished a long surgery and is also looking for a place to clear his mind. The two immediately display some sort of chemistry, and I, as the reader, felt a bit off while reading and getting to know his character as I knew the story was going to be devastating. Ryle proceeds to say that he isn’t looking for a serious relationship and that he only wants a purely sexual fling.

It doesn’t take much for Lily to decide that isn’t what she wants right after her father’s death, so they part ways. Six months later however Lily hires Ryle’s sister Alyssa to help her with the opening of a new flower shop she has opened. Lily and Ryle’s attraction intensifies over time with a mutual connection, and Ryle decides to explore his relationship with Lily despite his past reluctance. Here is where the story starts to pick up.

At this point, I found myself becoming increasingly relieved since I found the beginning to be slow, with a lack of action. Seeking some sort of closure from her abusive father’s death, Lily turns to reading old journals from her time as a fifteen-year-old high scholar. Using the form of actually allowing the reader to delve into her journal entries, we get to see the mind of an adolescent Lily. These entries narrate her time with an 18-year-old boy named Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy who she becomes close with. At 15, Lily decided to help him when she noticed he was homeless with no family, and in turn, he granted her the emotional support she lacked with others in her life.

While reading I found myself analyzing the relationship Atlas had with Lily as a teenager, and the relationship Lily and Ryle had together nine years later. Atlas provided Lily with the emotional support that she needed to cope with her abusive father and traumatic childhood. Their relationship is comfortable and pure, with innocent love for each other due to their need to have someone to speak to. This turns into a physical relationship, but not one that is purely based on intimacy. They use intimacy to build their connection deeper.

The difference I noticed between Lily and Ryle was their emotional relationship that started with physical and sexual attraction to each other. The relationship with Ryle and Lily advances and they decide to have dinner with Lily’s mother. During this dinner, Lily runs into Atlas, who happens to own the restaurant. Lily finds herself hurt by how distant they seem to have been, even though they are both happy with their own lives. She considers this meeting as closure, and they go home together as normal.

Up until this point, I found myself wondering if I was crazy to be rooting for Atlas and Lily so much more than Ryle and Lily. Their emotional connection seemed so clear and deep when we read the journal entries from Lily’s teenage years.

While at times Colleen Hoover’s writing can seem like a Watt pad fan fiction, she describes Lily “throwing her hair in a messy bun” several times, it is clear that the emotions she intended to convey with that relationship were successfully portrayed.

Around this point in the book, I asked myself why Ryle was so perfect. I liked him, he was charming, treated Lily well, and seemed to have good morals. But it didn’t feel the same as her previous romance with Atlas.

Well, my question was eventually answered. During an evening Lily and Ryle spend drinking and making dinner, Ryle mistakenly removes a hot tray from an oven without gloves, causing a tipsy Lily to laugh when he burns himself. In response, Ryle drops the casserole dish and breaks it. Lily continues to laugh, which causes Ryle to lash out and angrily shove Lily.

From this point on, the story does a complete 180. Ryle begins to show a side of him that is completely different from the man we see throughout the first quarter of the book. He becomes immature, and jealous, and displays an aggressive side nobody expected.

This is where I began to understand the beauty of Hoover’s writing. At first, it was a bit hard to catch on to the appeal of it. But once I moved past this part, I understood. Throughout the entire novel, we are Lily. We the readers are going through the experiences of her relationship with Ryle at the same pace she is. Hoover does an excellent job of making readers fall in love with Ryle and his character despite the feelings they may have about Atlas, only to rip it away and leave us confused once he changes into a more violent, narcissistic person.

While this is disappointing for the readers who liked him, it is supposed to be: it is supposed to make us feel angry and hurt because that is what it is like when you are in an abusive relationship. At first, it is beautiful and everything seems to be working so perfectly that you can be blind. The person you are with feels flawless, and the relationship itself feels magical because the connection between you is unmatchable. Then, when you least expect it, your partner starts to control you, or in this case, shoves you on the ground and then starts to control you.

Hoover does a fantastic job of putting us in Lily’s position, being just as shocked when Ryle shows his true colors. Hoover takes an emotional and psychological perspective to make it clear that it is not easy to leave someone who is abusive. She does this by introducing many more conflicts Lily has to face after that point in the story when he shoves her. Their relationship becomes violent, emotionally and physically, so much so that Lily fears doing the simplest of tasks.

“It Ends With Us” is indeed a heart-wrenching read. It does have a message that I believe is important for everyone to hear: women, men, and teenagers. It has been a long time since I have read a book like this, especially one that can teach so many people something. When Lily eventually leaves Ryle, we are hit with a massive plot twist. She is pregnant. Usually, the pregnancy trope is looked down upon. But regardless, this trope is used to further prove the point that leaving your abusive partner regardless of what the situation is never easy, but most of the time is needed to keep yourself and those around you safe. That message is important for everyone to understand. If you find yourself in this situation, you deserve better. It is valid to feel alone and do not know how to fix it. But you can do it- for yourself and for those who may be involved as well.

I read this book without any expectations and it blew my mind that Colleen Hoover was able to capture the one main aspect of every abusive relationship that had always left people from a few feet away wondering, "Why did she/he stay?", the excuses. It was an EXTREMELY fast-paced read for me since I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It tackled the subjects of domestic abuse and gaslighting so well, especially how hard it is to face those kinds of challenges. I highly appreciate and admire that Colleen Hoover dared to get up and write this novel, despite it being very personal to her and probably extremely emotional to write. I don't only admire her for it, I'm also GLAD that she did. This novel helps raise awareness of exactly how people going through or have gone through this kind of trauma feel. The book captures how hard it is to escape those kinds of situations. And not only that but how to identify whenever you're in one. Colleen Hoover builds up the story so that we feel every emotion that the protagonist, Lily Bloom, feels.

This book is well deserving of the hype it has accumulated. And I recommend it to all.

Book of the Month

About the Creator

Catherine Nyomenda

I love writing. I love the swirl of words as they tangle with human emotions. I am a flexible writer and can write almost anything, do you need any help creating content? Well then, get in touch...

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Comments (11)

  • Alexandra Ntui5 days ago

    Now I want to read this book too Excellent review

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Excellent review, Catherine!

  • Ainy Abrahamabout a month ago

    Beautifully written story. Congratulations

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Well deserved win Congratulations 🎊

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Okay you gotta spoil it for me. Does Lily end up with Atlas? I gotta know that! I've never read any books by Colleen Hoover but I have my eyes on Verity and Layla because I heard they're thrillers. Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Kodahabout a month ago

    Ughhh, Colleen has my heart. Her books are so mesmerizing, I love the plot twists she always adds at the end of her novels😆 This book is one of my favs from her! 💓

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    Hi Catherine, its been a while. This is a wonderful dive into what sounds like a great book. I will check it out. Hope things are going well with you. Congrats on a great story.

  • Thank you for taking us through this, one more for my To Read list

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Congrats on your outstanding victory.

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Hoover is one of those authors I’ve heard so much about but have never given her a shot. Need to check this out!

Catherine NyomendaWritten by Catherine Nyomenda

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