Friday, September 9, 2016

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Narrator(s): Olivia Song
Series: stand-alone
Length: 11 hrs 11 mins
Publisher: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Source: purchased ebook, audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

April buddy-read this with a friend and I just received the audio from the publisher for review, but despite that, we both feel this is the type of story we should review together, for better or worse.

What made us read this/initial thoughts:

April: Colleen Hoover is on my auto-buy list. I own everything she has written and I usually drop everything I'm doing when her books hit my kindle. My initial thoughts on this one... I liked it. I didn't love it as much as some of her other stories. I'm glad I read it though.

Jen: I'm pretty much guaranteed to read whatever this woman writes. (With the exception of the Slammed series, which I haven't finished, and the Maybe novella, which honestly just didn't interest me.) She's from Texas, like me, and I always want to show Texas authors some love. But it's more than that. Despite it never explicitly being said in the synopsis, this book deals with abuse, and having just witnessed a very similar situation happen to someone very close to me, I thought maybe this story would lend some healing powers to the ordeal.

The Story:

Jen: There is no love triangle in this book, as the summary seems to imply. Some might call foul on that, but it's just not. I don't even know if I'd truly call this a romance because that was far from the focus for me. It's a story about abuse and how the ones we love can do us the most harm. It's about how some people never truly leave our lives. And it's based on the author's real-life experiences, which endeared the story to me even more.

April: Basically the story revolves around abuse. I kinda saw that coming from the beginning. I actually didn't realize it was based on real life experiences. That was a surprise when I got to the Authors note at the end.

The Characters:

April: I loved everyone except Ryle. I didn't like him at all. From the very beginning, and maybe it's because I had a bad feeling.. I don't know. I think it had a bit to do with his arrogance. Being a rich surgeon and not wanting any relationships.. his whole persona just reminded me of a different male book character that turned my stomach. Everyone else was great though.

Jen: I found some of the names in this book to be kind of ridiculous, but the characters are anything but. They take bad situations and turn them into dreams. And they're all incredibly well-rounded, considering everything.

The Friendships:

April: The friendships in this book were one of the highlights for me. With the story revolving around such a touchy dark subject, the friendship moments were almost a comic relief. It's what pulled me back and reminded me that I was reading a book written by Colleen Hoover.

Jen: I always love the friendships in CoHo's books. Honestly, I sometimes find myself wishing I had friends like them in real life. Even the husband of Lily's best friend made a lasting impression. It was kind of like watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother at times.

The Romance: 

Jen: There were two separate romances in this book. One from Lily's teenage years that helped her get through a tough time. And then what should have been a one-night stand that turned into something more later in her life. And though her first love does appear after she's met Mr. Just This Once, nothing happens. I repeat. Nothing. Happens. Yes, that old connection is there. Yes, Mr. First Love would like things to pick up where they left off. But Lily is faithful. She keeps a few things secret (especially from her past) that maybe she should have shared with her current love, but it is absolutely not her fault if he lets his mistrust of the situation get the better of him. I honestly never felt the love there, anyway.

April: The romance was seriously lacking for me. That's my biggest complaint about It Ends With Us. I wasn't buying either one. Like Jen says above, there isn't any infidelity, or any of that jazz going on. Since I wasn't a fan of Ryle, I didn't buy into their romance. But I guess that's part of the purpose of this book. I'm on the outside. I didn't see the appeal in him the way she did. I definitely felt more chemistry with them, than I did her first love.

The Family:

April: I like how Lily's family life ties into her current life. I really enjoyed her relationship with  her mom and how it changes throughout the book.

Jen: Lily's mother was actually kind of great as the story progressed and really helped me understand the thought process of an abused person. I mean, I've been through it, to a certain degree, but I refused to put up with it and walked away. So, it's hard for me to understand those who subject themselves to that kind of treatment for years. But I love that Lily also had the support of her best friend, who for all intents and purposes was a sister to her, even with her relationship to Mr. Just This Once.

The Elephant in the Room:

April: A big part of this story is about abuse. If you are sensitive to those kinds of things in your books, this might not be for you. But, its not just about abuse. It's about saving yourself from it. One of my best friends lived for 10 years married to a man who abused her. She fell right into another relationship where she was abused. I never really understood her, but I think I might understand her a little better now.

Jen: As I said before, this book focuses on the cycle of abuse. It's a tough subject on its own, but even more so if you have personal experience with it. Like me. Like the author. I know this had to be the most difficult novel CoHo's written to-date because of that, but I think it's the one that spoke to me the most. It's not my favorite, and not just because it brought out a lot of feelings I still don't want to deal with. But this book is still important.

The Narrator:

April: I read the kindle edition, so sadly I have no opinion on this. :)

Jen: I don't have any previous experience with Olivia Song as a far as I know, anyway. Sometimes narrators go by different pseudonyms depending on the type of book they're performing. But regardless, I think her presentation of this novel was beautiful and heartfelt. I'd like to hear more of her narrative performances. Maybe even on another CoHo book.


April: Hmmm, overall, I'll be honest. I'm torn. I probably would have rated it 3 stars had I reviewed it on my own. I love that Hoover went there with this story. Not a lot of authors do, and I feel like there need to be more books like this. My biggest complaint is that it's over the top in places. As stated above, I have a best friend who went years living in abuse. She didn't stay because she "loved him" She stayed because he tore her down, and told her she could never do better than him. She stayed because they had 3 kids and financially she wasn't sure she could support them on her own. The characters in this story are pretty well off financially. Obnoxiously so. I think it would have been more relatable had some of those factors been toned down a bit. It dealt with a very real subject but it felt a little unrealistic at times. So it was not a favorite of mine, but I still liked it. I will still buy everything that woman writes.

Jen: This is an important book. An emotionally fraught book. Did I like it? Not really, but that's because of the subject matter. I did enjoy the moments of levity, the friendships and the support...the overall message that you are not alone in this. And although I'll never truly love this story, it did make me feel a lot of things.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, and This Girl. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Find Colleen:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. I've been seeing this book everywhere lately! I have yet to read a CoHo book. I need to fix that asap. This book sounds interesting, but hard. I like books with tough topics though. Great review!

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