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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

Spoiler Alert! If you’re a fan of Colleen Hoover, like I am, and you have not read her newest release, I would highly recommend reading it before this.

It Starts With Us was released about a month ago now. It is the second book after It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, which may sound familiar since it blew up all over TikTok. I was beyond excited when Colleen announced there would be another book, but this time about Atlas and Lily’s story, as opposed to Ryle and Lily’s story in the first book. The ending of the first book left us all wondering what the rest of Atlas and Lily’s relationship would turn out to be since she decided to divorce her husband Ryle.


When life is finally running smoothly for Lily after adjusting to life after her divorce from Ryle and the birth of their daughter Emmy, she runs into her high school lover Atlas. The nerves start to rise for both as they exchange a few words that they will text each other later in the day. As we know from the first book, Atlas is the kind of man everyone wants to have. Lily fears what Ryle’s reaction will be when he finds out she is dating again, let alone dating the guy he was jealous of during their marriage. While Atlas and Lily continue to keep their budding relationship on the down low, Atlas is dealing with another issue. His Mom shows up at his restaurant, demanding to speak to Atlas. She confesses that his 12-year-old little brother has been missing and is afraid that she will be facing consequences from law enforcement if he is not found soon. Atlas sits in shock as he hears the news that his mother hid his little brother from him for 12 long years. This shock soon becomes a reality. Almost every night someone is vandalizing one of his restaurants. His employees are beginning to get frustrated with him because Atlas does not think it is necessary to notify the authorities of the vandalism. Instead, he waits for whoever is vandalizing his restaurant one night to catch them red-handed. He was in for a surprise when he saw a 12-year-old kid who walked up with a new bottle of spray paint. As Atlas confronts him, the kid admits to him that he is his brother. Time goes on and Atlas gains custody of him since his mother is not fit to take proper care of them. Eventually Atlas and Lily make their relationship public and Ryle finds out. In a fit of rage Ryle confronts Atlas, but Atlas responds calmly to the situation making Ryle feel humiliated for his inappropriate actions. The jealousy remains as Atlas and Lily’s relationship becomes more serious. Lily and Emmy move in with Atlas and his little brother Josh. It ends the way we all wanted it to. Lily and Atlas finally get married.

What I liked about the Book

My favorite part about the book was the jokes that Theo made about Atlas. When he found out that Atlas made references to Finding Dory with Lily, he began making fun of him and coming up with one-line jokes to poke fun at him. His jokes had me laughing so hard. My favorite one is, “We finally reached the beach, my little whale.”

What I disliked about the book

It felt weird that Lily’s diary entries were still a part of this book. They were cute in the last book and allowed us to see Lily’s raw emotions and reactions to many situations. I realize that they allowed for past experiences to be told in It Starts With Us but a lot seemed to be repeated. It also made it a bit confusing with the time jumps going back and forth.

Overall Rating

This book has been a bit controversial because Colleen may have written it to satisfy those who blew up It Ends With Us on TikTok. For me, it was more about seeing how Lily healed after her traumatizing relationship with Ryle. Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot. It had the happy ending that I was hoping for with Atlas and Lily. If you have not read any of Colleen Hoover’s books yet I highly recommend you do.

Haley Slagel

Bradley U '24

My name is Haley Slagel and I am a senior Nutrition and Dietetics major. I love everything about food and talking about it. I also have a cat named Minnie who I love and adore!