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I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.

 

Oh, and I love chocolate.

It Ends with Us

It Ends with Us: A Novel - Colleen Hoover

I haven't yet read all of Hoover's books, but I've read many and I'm making a point to catch up this year. I really enjoyed her early books and felt a lot of connection with the characters and their stories. Unfortunately, her latest books are just going in the opposite direction for me. This one was a struggle for me at rating higher than a 3, but that's what I gave Ugly Love and I liked this one marginally better than that, so 3.5 it is...

 

I've said before that one of the things I admire about Hoover as an author is her willingness to step out of the box in her writing. She tries new things and it keeps me interested in reading her stuff. However, I'm beginning to wish she'd jump out of the box on a few other things --- first up for me would be the nauseatingly 'perfect' looking characters in her books. They are all just gorgeous. {gag} My 'favorite' in this one was how Ryle had these massive arms that barely fit in his sleeves -- and it was made clear this was because they were sculpted big and not Mickey-D's big. Yet, never once in the book was it mentioned he spent time at the gym or even lifted at home. I'm sorry, you don't get arms like that unless you work at it. Even if you are a neurosurgeon. I can't be the only reader who's tried of the publishing industry assuming I'm so shallow I can only care about characters who defy the laws of human nature, so I wish they'd just stop.

 

The other box I wish Hoover would step out of is the need to cram graphic sex scenes in new adult books. Again, I find it insulting to assume readers aren't deeper than steamy hot sex in relationships. 

 

When I read romance these days, I'm expecting these things I've mentioned and I usually look right past them. It's sad, but I'm either looking for a light escape and don't care about the lack of originality in these areas, or I'm able to appreciate the other aspects of the plot and that makes up for it.

 

However, in this case, I didn't just want more but I needed it. This book was about a very important subject. I feel the cliched character and plot devices used cheapened the overall message Hoover was trying to paint. I didn't fully buy into Ryle acting the way he did, because I didn't fully buy into Ryle himself. He was very fictional and overly drawn. If he had been a bit more average/real, I may have connected more and felt the impact of his actions. And if their relationship had been more loving and nurturing, then I think that would have provided a powerful contrast to the other issue in their relationship. If Hoover felt the need to throw in sex, then I wish it would have at least been love scenes rather than sex scenes. Some of Ryle's abhorrent behavior didn't surprise me based on the way he was portrayed in bed.

 

As mentioned above, this book touches on a very important topic. I don't want to give spoilers, so some comments have been hidden. I think Hoover did a good job in many aspects of this part of the plot. 

 

I do think abusive relationships are complicated and there are a lot of gray areas those of us on the outside can't understand. Hoover approached this subject in a way that made me feel for Lily and root for her relationship with Ryle. Despite the pain he caused her, Hoover was able to show me that he did care and wanted to be a different person. I think there were still a few holes that could have been explored - such as why Ryle didn't show any violence with others and why he didn't seek professional help after things happened.

(show spoiler)

 

I was conflicted on the inclusion of Lily's first love, Atlas. I don't think he was necessary. In many ways, I think he actually brought the strength of the plot down. 

 

So overall, just a 'meh' book for me with an extra half point thrown in for her willingness to tackle such a difficult subject.