REVIEW: ‘It Ends With Us’ follows atypical romance after college

(Graphic by Marshall Sunner | Collegian Media Group)

Although published in 2016, Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us” has seen a surge in popularity thanks to #BookTok on TikTok — to the point where I had to visit three different bookstores just to find a copy. “It Ends With Us” is a romance novel that doesn’t follow the typical romance plot. Set in Boston, Massachusetts, Hoover tells the story of Lily Bloom.

Lily, a woman starting her post-college life on her own, meets a man named Ryle with whom she has immediate chemistry. However, Ryle only wants a casual fling, while Lily wants a relationship. They go their separate ways but reconcile six months later and begin a relationship. While everything is picture-perfect at first, someone from Lily’s past reappears and tests the strength of her relationship.

Since I’d never read a work by Hoover before, I entered this novel with an open and eager mind. I found her writing style very appealing: easy to read, no incredibly long or boring descriptions and consistently interesting.

Though her character descriptions weren’t long, they gave me a mental image of what I thought the characters looked like, and her writing style made it feel like I really knew the characters. I could feel Lily’s passion for her work, her pain and her strength to stand up against Ryle’s abuse.

This novel definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, flipping through pages to find the answers to my questions. Many romance novels tend to follow the same plot — two people meet and fall madly in love, the friends-to-lovers trope, etc. While these aren’t necessarily shoddy, they can get tiring, especially if romance isn’t your go-to genre of choice in the first place.

Hoover’s writing keeps you guessing and consistently wanting more. As someone who can lose focus in a split second, I had enough questions needing answering to keep from losing my focus or getting bored.

Barring any major spoilers, domestic abuse is a theme that emerges throughout the novel. In the media, abuse is sometimes shown as something to yearn for in our own relationships: it has the tendency to romanticize that abuse. However, Hoover introduces abuse without making it seem romantic. The descriptions of Ryle’s rage made me feel compassion for Lily and anger towards Ryle.

Inspired by events in her personal life, Hoover’s writing shows the difficulties victims face in abusive relationships and how hard it is to leave. I felt she accurately portrayed domestic abuse and avoided the romanticization of it. Additionally, this novel did a great job portraying the cycle of abuse and how it is passed on through generations.

Even though I was TikTok-pressured into reading “It Ends With Us,” I’m glad I gave in. Being the first romance novel I’ve read cover to cover, it was definitely a great starting point. If Hoover’s other works are anything like this, then I am certain she will become a favorite author of mine, and I look forward to exploring her novels further.