It Ends With Us: Book Review

In three (four) words: Heartbreaking. Snot-inducing. Bittersweet. 
This book is beautiful. It truly is. If I had the energy and the emotional strength to reread it, I absolutely would, but this book haunted me for weeks.

Author: Colleen Hoover

Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

“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.”

Okay, I hate that synopsis. It’s also a similar synopsis to the one on the back of the book, but it’s so inaccurate. I mean yes, Lily’s been through a lot and she moves to Boston and wow she starts her own business, but everything after that is horrible innaccurate as to what you’re gonna go through while reading this beautifully heartbreaking novel.

This is probably the only Colleen Hoover review I’m going to write that actually has a spoilery section. I just have…way too many thoughts on this book.

In three (four) words: Heartbreaking. Snot-inducing. Bittersweet. 

Some good thoughts:

This book is beautiful. It truly is. If I had the energy and the emotional strength to reread it, I absolutely would. But since I was left in a book slump because of this book for about a month, I still can’t bear to pick up another contemporary for the moment. It emotionally drained me. I felt sluggish and sad for days. Every time I look at it, I just feel sad and broken all over again. I wonder if that makes it a good book, because good books stay with you forever, don’t they?

I was…my head was…let’s just say I was constantly thinking about this book for a really long time. What happens in this book is disturbing and sad and just so awful that I would never wish it upon anyone. This book haunted me. I can still feel Lily’s pain. I can feel her heartbreak and her anguish and her sorrow for the things that might’ve been.

That’s probably what I loved most about this book. It was so…powerful. Emotive. Passionate. Lively. 

I could feel all of Lily’s emotions from the first page. I could feel her pain and her joy and her excitement. I didn’t want to, but I did.

I loved this book, truly. But I also hated it.

The writing was well done. The characters were so beautiful and sad. The plot flowed smoothly and I wish for a better end but that’s impossible. It would take away from the masterpiece that is this novel.

I docked .5 marks off because of one thing: While the ending is justified, it’s not truly satisfying. Not for me. Like a couple of other CoHo books, I didn’t get enough closure. Yes, the plot had a denouement, but it wasn’t…enough. It just wasn’t enough.

I’ll tell you this, though. Read this book. For your own sake and for your child’s sake. Read this book because it will open your eyes to the things you didn’t even know you wanted to see. Read this book because it is so real, for so many people.

It saddens me that this book is a reality for some people. But we are with you. I speak for myself, mostly. But I am with you. I can’t relate to your circumstances, but I pray that you stay strong. I pray for the strength to move on.


This book was worse than November 9. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, it was worse than any other contemporary I’ve ever read. Partially because the writing was so spectacular that it was difficult to feel detached from the characters, but partially also because I don’t make it a habit to read books with this type of abuse. It just…I don’t like reading about unhappy marriages. I don’t know if that makes me a bad person or not, but I don’t like reading books that I know will upset me for longer than an hour. And boy, this book sure did.

I feel emotionally remade. I felt so fragile while reading this. I felt like Ryle and Lily’s relationship was so perfect and good and wonderful, but there was that niggling sense that it couldn’t be it. That couldn’t be it. I was only halfway through the book when Ryle and Lily’s relationship was at that “perfect OTP” level. There was more to it.

When Ryle hurt Lily the first time, I hoped that it would be the end. I hoped that he would change and that it was truly an accidental shove.

When he pushed her down the stairs, I hoped that his anger management would work and that their lives would not be bothered by the demons that haunt him.

But when he almost sexually abused her in their own bedroom, I gave up trying to hope for a fairy tale ending. I still feel like crying when I think about Ryle Kincaid. I cry when I think about how proudly Ryle declared that he would marry the hell out of her. I cry when I think about Lily calling herself ‘Lily Kincaid.’ I cry when I think about their child together. I just…I cry a lot when it comes to this book.

Ryle is so perfect. He’s charming. Enigmatic. A neurosurgeon. Loves Lily more than anything in the world. And yet, perfect people don’t exist. I’ll admit I don’t truly understand what it’s like to be in that kind of an abusive home, where fear dominates and physical pain is a reality. But it broke my heart to see Lily go through that. It broke my heart to realize that it also hurt Ryle…once he realized what he had done.

Lily is so strong. Everything she believed about Ryle, as it changed according to how more of Ryle’s behavior was seen, I could relate to her. I knew that if I, knock on wood, were ever in the same situation, I would probably believe the same things. I’d believe that he could change. That he could get over it. That he loved her and that’s what really mattered. But when she finally decides to leave him for good, I hated and respected it all at the same time. I hated it because it means that they won’t end up together, which is always a bittersweet occurrence for an optimistic reader like me, but I respected it because Lily showed strength that I don’t know I would have.

The flashbacks to her time with Atlas were kind of annoying, and the fact that it was always introduced as her reading those letters to Ellen were a little extensive. I mean, I understood why it had to be done, but they were so long. I wanted to get back to the present and what Atlas appearing in her life meant. When they finally get together at the end of the novel, I wanted to see more. It was a beautiful ending, where Ryle is not horribly unhappy and alone, but it was so bittersweet that I still feel pangs in my heart just thinking about it.

I understand why Lily ends up with Atlas, obviously. It’s not very difficult to understand that at all. But I can’t help wishing that Ryle would’ve adhered to commercial fiction rules and changed, no matter how stupid and unlikely and horribly unrealistic that would be.

But perhaps it was also very difficult to see that side of Ryle because he is so near-perfect that it just shattered the illusion. That’s probably why he’s almost-perfect, so we can relate to Lily’s stages of shock and denial and eventual acceptance.

I was so emotionally drained because of this book. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t go one day without thinking about Ryle Kincaid and his one flaw.

And I keep praying that I never ever have to understand their kind of pain. I pray that I never have to witness it happen to someone else. But if I do, I hope I have half the strength that Lily has.

I hope that one day, perhaps, I’ll be able to search deep within the miseries of my heart and write a book as beautiful as It Ends With Us. 

If you’ve stuck with me throughout this entire jumble of emotions, here’s a virtual hug to hopefully help you recover from it.

Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments! Feel free to disagree or agree with anything I said. My word is not law.


Ms. Abigail

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