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.
Colleen Hoover and I have a mixed history. The first book of hers I read was Confess, which I really enjoyed, so I spent the rest of May 2015 on a CoHo quest. I followed up quickly with Slammed, which was pretty eh for me. But, still riding that hope from Confess, I picked up Maybe Someday. Which. I. Could. Not. Stand. I hate books about people cheating. I have never once pitied or rooted for someone who is actively betraying someone’s trust in such a personal way. And then, disappointed, I went for Ugly Love, which I also did not enjoy at all. I do not like characters that are mean – even the Will Herondales of the world, carrying tragic backstories and pretty faces. I also don’t like characters who don’t care about the repercussions their actions have on others, and that explains my negative feelings toward both Maybe Someday and Ugly Love. So – I waited a few months and I tried Hopeless, which was also pretty eh for me. And then November 9, WHICH I LOVED. Faith restored in Hoover, I went for the first two Never Never novellas, which were also so eh! So I just don’t know where I stand with her. But I keep picking up her books to try and find out.
Welp. With that out of the way, let’s get specifically to It Ends with Us. I went into this book with no idea what it was about, which was a bad idea, because I expected some dramatic, emotional love story like usual. And that’s not what this was.
On the one hand, that was a good thing, because this had a great, great message – about love and relationships, the way we judge others, the strength of women. I can’t really find anything wrong with the message at all, which I did not expect from a new adult book. Hoover’s history with the topic, (TEENY SPOILER I GUESS BECAUSE IT ISN’T CONTAINED IN THE SYNOPSIS: the “topic” is abusive relationships END SPOILER) which she discusses in the author’s note (a must-read after finishing the story!) helped make the relationship more realistic. A lack of reality is often one of my issues with CoHo, so that was good.
But even this story, which had a somewhat realistic plot, wasn’t grounded in reality. The characters are all as perfect-looking and enthralling as usual, and sex scenes still abound. The contrast practically made me dizzy. And that brings me to my next point – sometimes the way Colleen Hoover addresses serious topics can feel a bit cheesy to me, even phony. That’s abated a bit in this novel by her experience with this particular issue, but the fantastical nature of some aspects makes sobriety feel choppy and forced. Like I said, everything is perfect: the bodies, the faces, the sex, the love – hell, the characters include Boston’s best up-and-coming neurosurgeon, the respective owners of the city’s best flower shop and restaurant, and a tech startup millionaire and his beautiful wife. I mean, come on. It’s like if Twilight started discussing the economic disparities between the 99% and the 1%.
MAJOR SPOILERS HERE: The weird suspension of reality goes further with Atlas’s existence as a character. We learn as the story progresses that Lily had a grand love story with a homeless boy (Atlas) when they were teenagers, which ended badly due to her father, who was abusive to her mom. Atlas just so happens to reappear in Lily’s life just as Ryle gets abusive. Pretty soon after ending things with Ryle, Lily ends up with Atlas. That doesn’t feel within the realm of possibility to me at all. END SPOILER
I liked Lily and Atlas, but I hated Ryle and his dumb name from the beginning. (Sorry to the fewer than 1,500 Americans who are named Ryle.)
My CoHo quest, as I once said, will continue – but not with the same post-Confess or November 9 enthusiasm. (Update: I wrote this review in August. Since then, I’ve only picked up Never Never, Part 3, which was LAUGHABLY awful.)
Bottom line: eh. That high rating on Goodreads tells me a lot of other people loved it, though.