Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Song I Played While Reading: Forest Fires by Axel Flovent
Rating: 5 stars
Sometimes the one who loves you the most 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 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, 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. Her minded spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
There is no one like Colleen Hoover. Honest to god, her work hits me harder than anyone else's. Granted, not all of her work has struck me like It Ends With Us has, but I've probably cried at least once or twice during her other novels that I've read. In lieu of Hopeless, this struck a chord with me. Not only because I read an experience that really made me think and put myself in the main character's shoes, but because there's a tender spot on my heart that relates to the story.
It's not for what you're thinking, if you've read the book; it concerns the who, and how that person effected Lily. I'll go more into detail in the spoilery section, so for all my readers who haven't read It Ends With Us, please go out and get this. If you've never read her work before, brace yourself. She's good. Like, alarmingly so. And for all my readers who have read CoHo before, wether you liked her previous work or not, she's grown so much as an author. This is her best work to date, and I highly recommend everyone reading this.
It Ends With Us is one of the few books that has made me truly connect to the main character, even without actually experiencing the horrors Lily went through. I've never been in an abusive relationship, or even been around one, thank you God, but with the way I was feeling, it felt like I had. Hoover has this unthinkable way of sucking you into her stories and making you think. She's truly a genius, and it never fails to amaze me. The level of understanding she has in her stories, of writing as if she's experienced every emotion, is groundbreaking. My mom is convinced that she's gone through everything she's written about, which I told her I highly doubted, but a small part of me almost believes it. She nails every emotion and movement and thought and feeling. It's almost scary.
I've come to realize that I have a major weakness. It relates to my sensitivity to emotions and people. I used to despise this aspect of myself, especially when I was younger, because I think that's what made me feel so alienated from my friends and peers. I felt things so incredibly deeply, yet buried my emotions. I still do that to this day, but not as severely.
My weakness is good intentions. Some of you might remember me mentioning this before, but no matter how terrible a person is, no matter what they do or think, if they have good intentions, or are doing things for what they believe to be a good thing, then I can't hate them. It's impossible for me to. Which is why, as you might have guessed, Ryle broke me. I'm incapable of hating someone for something they literally cannot control. I know his abuse to Lily is unforgivable and terrible, and it definitely made me queasy at times, but I couldn't hate him. To hurt the one person you love the most, to physically not be able to stop, even when one part of you realizes what you're doing, has got to be the worst thing in the entire world. I can't even imagine it, and my heart went out to him. He's half the reason why I cried so much.
I adored Atlas, and loved his part in her life. The Ellen Diaries were genius, not only in its originality, but in the way Hoover was able to use those to talk about Atlas. I'm hoping and praying that she writes some sort of novella about him. She posted on Instagram that she's been unable to write anything else because she can't get these characters out of her head, so I'm hoping for more! I would love to see Atlas and Lily together, and how he interacts with Emerson. And then to see Ryle getting some professional help, or even overcoming his demons, would be beautiful. I would cry so hard, y'all. What would be even better is him finding love again. Literally, RIP to my fucking soul, because I would not survive that.
The one thing I didn't really like was Lily getting pregnant. I loved the plot, the way it flowed naturally over that two year span, but that was the one thing that I wished hadn't happened. I just thought it was unnecessary. It complicated things on a level that seemed overdone in the moment, but as I closed the book, a small part of me conceited that it was a smart move. Lily probably wouldn't have left Ryle, or at least would have kept giving him chances. There was no guarantee that he would hit her again, that of which I had faith in, but there was also no guarantee he wouldn't hit her, no mater how much he loved her. It was heartbreaking. Honestly, Colleen Hoover writes great stories, and there are definitely some fantastic moments that alleviate the pain, but her selling points are the heartache. It's that nasty heartache that runs parallel to hope, because you can't help but hope for the best, but know with a sinking heart that it's all going to fall apart. It always does. RIP to my heart during the scene where Lily tells Ryle she wants a divorce. It felt like I was getting stabbed in the heart.
I think this topped Hopeless for me. This was truly an incredibly piece of work, and now I'm dying to read the rest of her novels.
"He rolls his eyes like he's frustrated that I'm not getting it. "I just got off a forty-eight hour shift," he says dismissively. "Focus, Lily."
I nod and replay his words in my head. If I didn't know better... I'd almost think he was...
I inhale a calming breath. "Ryle," I say carefully. "Did you seriously just knock on twenty-nine doors so you could tell me that the thought of me is making your life hell and I should have sex with you so that you'll never have to think of me again? Are you kidding me right now?"
He folds his lips together and, after about five seconds of thought, he slowly nods his head. "Well... yeah, but... it sounds way worse when you say it."
"Ellen, I am confident that the next sentence I'm about to write has never been written or spoken aloud before.
When he was wiping that cow shit on me, it was quite possible the most turned-on I have ever been."
"I kiss him back, both disappointed and relieved he's not coming over. "I have a grand opening in a few days. I should probably sleep, too."
"When's your next day off?" he says.
"Never. When yours?"
I shake my head. "We're doomed. There's just too much drive and success between the two of us."
"People say that teenagers don't know how to love like an adult. Part of me believes that, but I'm not an adult and so I have nothing to compare it to. But I do believe it's probably different. I'm sure there's more substance in the love between two adults than there is between two teenagers. There's probably more maturity, more respect, more responsibility. But no matter how different the substance of a love might be at different ages in a person's life, I know that love still has to weigh the same. You feel that weight on your shoulders and in your stomach and on your heart no matter how old you are. And my feelings for Atlas are very heavy. I cry myself to sleep and I whisper, "Just keep swimming." But it gets really hard to swim when you feel like you're anchored in the water."