It Starts with Us

- Colleen Hoover


Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.



The way ass whole is misspelled in red spray paint across the back door of Bib’s makes me think of my mother.
She would always insert a brief pause between syllables, making it sound like two separate words. I wanted to laugh every time I heard it, but it was hard to find the humor in it as a child when I was always the recipient of the hurled insult.


enjoyable/easy to read:

There are parts about It Starts with Us I really love and parts that could be better, so overall, it was okay. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the same effect as It Ends with Us.

We get it. Atlas and Lily are perfect for each other, and despite life keeping them apart, they were meant to be. I don’t care how close you were as teenagers: everyone grows and changes. It should have taken some effort to reconnect and rebuild what they once had. You can’t take a teenage relationship and resume when you’ve got a child and responsibilities and an abusive ex-husband. Not to mention a history full of lies and pain and hurt. It was way too easy for these two to forget all of that and be the Atlas and Lily that everyone wants them to be.

I’d say this was fan fiction, but really, it’s an author being pressured into writing what the fans want. Hoover says it herself – she wanted to end Lily’s story with It Ends with Us. But BookTok and Bookstagram wouldn’t give up, and we ended up with this lukewarm attempt at a sequel. There was enough information at the end of It Ends with Us to assume most of what happens here anyway.

I will admit that I liked Atlas’ discovery of his brother and their relationship. It was probably the best part of the book – likely because of how unexpected it was.
Ryle is dangerous and the fact that everyone seems pretty content with how things ended with that relationship bothers me. I appreciate that Alyssa always puts Lily and Emerson first, but keeping Ryle around at all seems like a mistake. The fact that he maintains friendships with these people who know the truth about his character and his actions is mind-boggling. You cut off the abusive man. You don’t keep him around and assume he will never abuse you or your family members. There’s no satisfactory conclusion here that makes this book worthwhile.

And I’m sorry. I didn’t like the journal entries or letters to Ellen in It Ends with Us, and I don’t like them now in It Starts with Us. They’re a lazy storytelling technique that doesn’t make sense.




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