Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Uh-oh; Colleen Hoover (lovingly known by the blogging community as simply 'CoHo') has a new novel out that guarantees to make you cry and be depressed and think about things you normally wouldn't... like every other Colleen Hoover book.  Worst book introduction ever? Maybe. But this is CoHo, guys; you know what to expect.
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, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

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.

@ Goodreads - @ Amazon

The good:  Colleen Hoover, y'all! (Note: this is the first time in my life I've ever even thought the word 'y'all', let alone used it in a sentence)
The bad:  Insta-love, love triangle :(

This one is hard for me to review for two pretty significant reasons:
  1. Colleen Hoover, y'all! (Make that number two; I'm on a roll here)  Honestly, I feel that if anyone other than CoHo wrote this, I would have given it a higher rating.  So please, keep that in mind. 
  2. I can't really say much about the novel without giving the entire thing away.  Unfortunately, the "reveal" (which comes at approximately halfway through the book), is the entire book.  
Every review I read on Goodreads was gushing with praise, and of course, completely lacking in detail.  If I had zero problems with the novel, my review would undoubtedly follow suit.  Unfortunately, I had some problems with it, and in order for me to discuss them, I have to talk about the novel a little bit.

BEWARE: Major Spoilers!

Lily meets Ryle the day she gives a botched eulogy at her wife-beating of a father's funeral.  They end up having a somewhat deep conversation, especially for strangers; we learn that Ryle is a 420-friendly neurosurgeon that likes to kick things when he's angry.  There is an instant attraction, which is believable enough.  Ryle isn't looking for a relationship, though, only a one night stand, and makes this clear to Lily.

Months go by.

Lily decides to open a floral shop, and by pure cosmic coincidence, ends up hiring Ryle's sister.  Ryle and Lily meet again.  Again, Ryle asks Lily for a one night stand.  She declines.

Shortly thereafter, Ryle shows up at Lily's apartment, out of breath and sweaty.  Knowing only what apartment building she lived in, he knocked on twenty-nine (29!) doors before Lily's so that he could beg her for a one night stand.  On his knees.  She agrees, tells him she needs to take a shower.  He falls asleep.  Nothing happens.

They eventually start dating, because they can't get enough of each other despite only having seen one another like... thrice. Despite the fact that Ryle has never dated anyone before, ever:  one night stands only, baby. So yes -- instalove.   I believe they start seeing each other shortly after Lily sees a blurry, almost unrecognizable picture of herself proudly mounted on the wall in the apartment he shares with his sister. Because that's not creepy at all.  Not one bit.

I remember reading the first sex scene and thinking, "That's it?!"  It was... just not very good.  It was nowhere near as detailed as your standard sex scene in a new adult novel, and with CoHo's normal writing in mind... I knew something was off. 

And that's a problem, because the reveal came way later.

The reader was clearly supposed to love Ryle like Lily did, but I didn't.  He did nothing for me.

And then I found out why.

When he hurt Lily.  Just like Lily's father used to hurt Lily's mother.

And Lily ended up staying after the first two incidents, just like Lily's mother stayed.

Fast-forward to the Afterword Colleen Hoover wrote at the conclusion of the novel.  The book was based off her mother's marriage to her father (whom she divorced when Colleen was 3.)  Therefore, the novel was highly personal to her.  So personal that she couldn't really make me fall in love with Ryle despite her best intentions, because she didn't love Ryle.  

There's an entire huge part of the plot I'm not going to even delve into (the love triangle, for instance).  It was good despite being cliché -- I had no problems with it.  Everything flowed well, and truth be told, It Ends With Us was simply unputdownable.  It was your typical Colleen Hoover book, and if you're like everyone else that read and reviewed it, you're going to love it.  I'm just saying... she couldn't sell me on Ryle, and if she had, the reveal would have been a lot better.

On the other hand, I think it's awesome to write about something so personal and painful.  Incredibly brave.  I kind of feel like a monster writing this review.

Edit:  I guess I should also add I've never even been close to being hurt in any way physically by a man.  I think if I had, the novel would have been much more powerful.  Fortunately, men know that if they hit me, I'm crazy enough to burn their fucking house down.  Come at me, bro.  


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