Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (2nd Aug 2016)
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.
This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.
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Are we really going to ignore the fact I've been MIA for the last 5 months? Yes, yes we are, and with that, we're about to jump right into it. ON WE GO.
This book followed me everywhere. LIKE. EVERYWHERE. Instagram, twitter, bookstore, Facebook posts. I couldn’t get away from it. So like any sane person would do, who is being stalked by a book, I finally picked it up. Because the universe was OBVIOUSLY telling me I had to. I’ve also been told to stay far FAR away from finding out what this book is about and it would serve me best to go in completely unaware of what this book is based on. All I was told, was that it was moving and powerful and a story to behold. With alllll that said, I went in.
This book took me by surprise. I’m not a fan of Colleen Hoover’s books in all honesty, finding them to be too cliched and featuring every trope that I’ve come to dislike. But this. This is actually now one of my favourite books and probably one of the best ones I’ve read in 2016, which is a stretch. It’s stunning, beautiful and very much a story that needs to be told. I think the fact that this is a personal story to Colleen, is what made it stand out from her other works for me, it changed her writing in the best of ways and made it stand out from her usual works.
PIT STOP. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. SPOILERS UP AHEAD.
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
The writing in itself was wonderful, it felt light and easy to read but really packed a punch in delivering certain lines - some of which I will include at the end of this post for you to fawn over.
Going in without knowing anything about this book, I will admit I loved just not knowing - when usually I am the type of person that likes to glean as much information about a book beforehand. BUT. From the moment that scene in the kitchen happened (if you know, then you KNOW), I just knew, JUST KNEW with absolute dread in my heart, where this was going and that it would inevitably, break my fragile little heart. What I was not prepared for, was the sheer overlapping of good and bad in this story and the blurring of every line possible. Heed my warning - there is no real villain for you to pit yourself again, just like - “There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things”. Colleen couldn’t have phrased this better and with so much relevance to the story she tells. It’s not a story about romance, about a love triangle (which I don’t believe there was in any way) - the focus was on relationships, on actions, intentions, consequences and the impact of your choices on your life. This speaks to me in so many ways, and to plenty of other people who have truly felt a connection with this story, the deep messages embedded within - because it’s such an important thing.
At the end of the day, after all is said and done - when it comes to domestic abuse (the same way as it does with rape) the only person to blame, is the perpetrator. Never the victim. People will ALWAYS question how can a man or woman stay in a relationship that is abusive and will never question why a man or woman is abusive in the first place. Love and loyalty anchors a lot of people to things that they don’t deserve - and that is absolutely true in this story and I love the way the author portrayed this through the character of Ryle.
I mean. My God. People. PEOPLE. I loved Ryle. HOW COULD YOU NOT. Sure, he sounded too perfect to be true (which, he was) I mean hot, hunky rich neurosurgeon AND SINGLE. Cliche, true, but beautiful, yes. But he was the perfect personification of everything I’ve said above. There was no doubt in my mind that he loved our main character Lily - but that isn’t enough to stop certain deep rooted issues that he harboured in this instance. He loved her, he abused her, he apologised to her and made up for it - it would have been so easy to hate him for being abusive, but that’s the thing. Not every perpetrator will always be so easy to hate - more often than not it’s someone you love, that hurts you. Not bad people, but bad choices. Something that made me love Ryle’s character just that little bit more, was the scene where after he had hit her, he knew that Lily was scared of being alone in a room with him and what did Ryle do? He brought Marshall, his brother in law, in to the room to make her feel more comfortable, to know someone is at hand should things get.. well get out of hand. This speaks to me about Ryle’s character again, in that he was aware of his flaws and shortcomings and how this would affect Lily - and instead of trying to reassure her with his hollow words which would mean nothing to her - he instead used this action, as a safety net for her - when it was his very actions in the first place, that started this off.
The sheer awesomeness of the characters in this story, made it stand out so much and made me love it that much more. Lily’s best friend, and sister in law - Allysa - who spoke to her both as a friend and as a sister in law who loves her brother. Lily’s Mum - who for me, delivered one of the best lines in the book, when she spoke to her daughter about abuse, limitations and love. It wasn’t just some fluffy advise - but so realistic and understanding, individualistic, when people so often throw out generic statements that do nothing except fill the space, rather than mend the void.
I wipe the napkin beneath my eye, soaking up more tears. “Sometimes . . . when I’m really missing him . . . I tell myself that maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I could put up with him when he’s at his worst just so I can have him when he’s at his best.”
She puts her hand on top of mine and rubs her thumb back and forth. “I know exactly what you mean, Lily. But the last thing you want to do is lose sight of your limit. Please don’t allow that to happen.” I have no idea what she means by that. She sees the confusion in my expression, so she squeezes my arm and explains in more detail.
“We all have a limit. What we’re willing to put up with before we break. When I married your father, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly . . . with every incident . . . my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. The first time your father hit me, he was immediately sorry. He swore it would never happen again. The second time he hit me, he was even more sorry. The third time it happened, it was more than a hit. It was a beating. And every single time, I took him back. But the fourth time, it was only a slap. And when that happened, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, ‘At least he didn’t beat me this time. This wasn’t so bad.
She brings the napkin up to her eyes and says, “Every incident chips away at your limit. Every time you choose to stay, it makes the next time that much harder to leave. Eventually, you lose sight of your limit altogether, because you start to think, ‘I’ve lasted five years now. What’s five more?’”
She grabs my hands and holds them while I cry. “Don’t be like me, Lily. I know that you believe he loves you, and I’m sure he does. But he’s not loving you the right way. He doesn’t love you the way you deserve to be loved. If Ryle truly loves you, he wouldn’t allow you to take him back. He would make the decision to leave you himself so that he knows for a fact he can never hurt you again. That’s the kind of love a woman deserves, Lily.”
And finally, Lily. Damn son. She was the real star of the show, which is say something since she was contending against Ryle, who I adored. The strength of our main character *blows whistle* - I honestly loved her. I stand by every decision she made, even the one where she stayed at first, but stood her ground with everything. Her thought process, her limitations, her choices at the end - I fully stood by her and agreed with her, and not simply because it was exactly what I would do, because there is no way I would know what I’d do in such a situation, until I really was faced with it. Logic and common sense fly out the window when it really happens to you. But instead, I agreed with Lily for all she did because it was right for her - yet at the same time sent a strong and clear message into the universe. She is strong, undeniably so, strength in when she forgave him, strength in when she didn’t. She set her own boundaries and limits. She loved Ryle, and I believe Ryle loved her, and in that he accepted being away from her. Another hand hitting quote from Lily which truly does display her strength was:
“But none of that gave you the right to do what you did to me. Even if you would have walked into my bedroom and caught us in bed together, you still would not have the right to lay a hand on me, you goddamn son of a bitch!”
Regardless of what she did or didn’t do, she’s so right - that no guy has a right to lay a hand on you without your consent, and vice versa. And I’m so glad she used the sleeping with someone scenario to really bring home that point. I felt like there was a lot of sense in this story, rather than just some fiction to be told, for me, it held so many honest truths and bits of reality. This isn’t a romance story. This isn’t some sex story. It’s so much more, about abuse, about your boundaries, about relationships, of two people and children.
The story about Atlas broke my heart, for everything he went through. I will admit that I didn’t fully warm to him as I did with the others, because I couldn’t quite get past the fact that he was 18 and she wasn’t even 16. I mean in the bigger picture, if she was older a 2 year age gap is nothing - and she was wiser than her years - but still, an 18 year old and 15 year old did make me feel iffy at first, but there was nothing sexual or predatory about it - it was companionship, which does makes me like Atlas more. But, having said that, I loved the later Atlas. I loved loved LOVED the change in him, how he made something of himself, the way he looked out for Lily in the right way, even when he knew about Ryle, even when she still loved her - I felt like he never really crossed the line in that sense and his number one priority was Lily’s safety, her happiness, no question asked. I adored the friends he played poker with too. Ugh just everything about this story, I loved.
Wrapping up this essay I seem to have written, I totally fell for this book, the characters, and more importantly, the message it sends out to the universe. It was brilliantly written, wonderfully executed, and an absolute joy to read. Before I had even finished the book, I recommended it to all my friends, and probably 6 of them picked it up, loved it, and came back to tell me just how much.
Could there BE a more satisfying feeling? I think not. Pick it up. Read it. Love it. Share it.
I wonder what she’ll think of her husband bringing home a girl he once loved who has just been attacked by her own husband. She’ll pity me. She’ll wonder why I never left him. She’ll wonder how I let myself get to this point. She’ll wonder all the same things I used to wonder about my own mother when I saw her in my same situation. People spend so much time wondering why the women don’t leave. Where are all the people who wonder why the men are even abusive? Isn’t that where the only blame should be placed?”
“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.”