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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Why Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us” is Overrated

Colleen Hoover and the cover of her novel “It Ends With Us.” (Chad Griffith and Atria Books/AP News)

I discovered a TikTok community known as BookTok at the end of 2021. During the pandemic, I had nothing to do other than read, so seeing a group of people who all shared an interest in reading with me made me feel excited. Eventually, I was introduced to a novel titled “It Ends With Us.” It was the talk of the community, and almost every BookTok creator had read and recommended it. So I decided to give it a try. 

After reading it, my first reaction was that it did not live up to the hype. I was disappointed, especially since I had been hearing lots of positive reviews on the book. After that dissatisfying encounter, I realized that Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us” is overrated.

Colleen Hoover, a rising author, has been dominating the New York Times Best Sellers list for a while, with two of her books being in the top five of the “Combined Print & E-Book Fiction” category and three of her novels also in the top five of the “Paperback Trade Fiction” category. She sold more books than Dr. Seuss in 2022 alone, according to the New York Times. Hoover’s growing success has been attributed to her books’ popularity on BookTok, particularly “It Ends With Us.”

The book centers around Lily Blossom Bloom, a young woman living in Boston. After her father’s funeral, Lily is sitting on the roof of a building when she encounters a man named Ryle Kincaid. Eventually, Lily and Ryle get closer as she opens a floral shop and hires his sister, Allysa. Time passes and Lily and Ryle start dating. Just as they officially kicked off their relationship, Lily bumps into Atlas Corrigan, her first-ever boyfriend, who promised to go looking for her after he got out of the military. As time goes by, Lily and Ryle’s relationship becomes more serious, but it takes a turn for the worse after Ryle forcefully shoves and hurts her. The rest of the novel revolves around their continued abusive relationship, Lily’s business and friendship with Allysa and her new friendship with Atlas.    

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Many parts of the novel seemed too unrealistic, especially considering that the profound topic of domestic violence is being addressed. For example, when Lily decides to open her floral shop, Allysa arrives and practically begs Lily to employ her, even offering to work for free. It already seems like an odd situation even if Alyssa didn’t care about the money since she just wanted to be productive. However, the fact that she appeared at a time when Lily was struggling with money doesn’t sit right with me because the timing was too perfect, and the situation was handled too easily, which made it feel like a miracle. 

Another event that was too convenient is that Lily and Ryle bought an apartment together and were completely moved in the next day, which isn’t practical at all since the process of moving could span from a couple of weeks to months, but never only a day. As a person who has moved a couple of times, the most recent took at least a month or two before everything was set and felt livable. Instances as such make the readers feel less connected to the characters, because their stories no longer feel relatable as the everyday struggles of life are eliminated. 

Something else that made reading the novel confusing was the amount of time skips Hoover included. Usually, after an important event, the chapter would end and the next would start a couple of weeks or months later. A common example would be that Lily and Ryle’s relationship would undergo a significant change (ending in either a mental breakdown or the two of them being on great terms), and then it would move forward a considerable amount of time. Then, Lily and Ryle would experience another disagreement, creating a vicious cycle.

This decision confused me a lot of the time because I was not given a full explanation of what was happening to the characters at this point in the novel. These choices made by Hoover are impractical because it feels as though everything is being reset; as if the reader is forced to rebuild their knowledge of the situation at hand. This issue is especially true considering that this cycle doesn’t seem to connect the past events with the present ones of the storyline. 

Nevertheless, I am not oblivious to the fact that many enjoy the book because of the discussion of the issue of domestic violence in a very informative way, especially for a reader such as myself. It has opened my eyes to what victims and survivors feel and why they react the way they do. For this reason, I understand why people would read, or even find an interest in the book. I found it very interesting how Hoover described domestic violence in a situation that is stereotypically not expected, such as a successful individual being an abuser. Additionally, she gives us an insight into the emotions and reactions of the victims, seeing as though Hoover was using the relationship between her parents as a reference for this novel. Lily was not only frightened and stressed but also heartbroken, because in some moments she did love Ryle and that was the reason why she couldn’t let go early on.

A lot of people also enjoyed the romance, which I can’t understand for the sole reasons that I found the novel unrealistic and the frequent time skips seemed to ruin a big part of the chemistry developed between the characters.

Overall, I find Colleen Hoover’s novel to have some importance due to its message, which is to share with the readers the real situation that victims and survivors of domestic abuse have to deal with. The message is what gives this book the value it genuinely possesses. However, from a literary point of view, it is not the best book. 

Don’t get me wrong: I have read many other books that aren’t much better than hers. Yet, those books got enough popularity they deserved, which was much less than “It Ends With Us.” And as of now, I don’t seem to understand why a large group of people find her books so remarkable and impressive that they have become the top of the best-sellers list. Yes, I believe the topic she discussed is crucial and the angle she is capturing it from has a lot of potential; however, the structure of the events and storyline is not made to work in favor of what Colleen Hoover wants to convey to her readers.  

By Selena Said

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Selena Said
Selena Said, WIS News Editor
Hi, I’m Selena! I am currently a sophomore and this year, I am a WIS News Editor. This is now my second year being a part of Dateline and I was previously an Arts Editor. I like to cover news and fun stories that have a connection to the WIS community. Outside of Dateline, I like playing tennis and reading. 

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