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The Significance of Colleen Hoover’s Sequel, “It Starts With Us”

A New York Time’s best-selling novel, “It Ends With Us”, has been a long time BookTok sensation. “It Ends With Us” has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over 20 languages. A lot of people on TikTok praise author Colleen Hoover for her ability to deliver fantastic, emotional reads that cannot be put down. Personally, there is just something about a Colleen Hoover book that will get you into your feelings like no other.

“It Ends With Us” is an emotional novel about a young girl whose world changes when faced with issues of domestic violence in the midst of what seemed to be a good relationship. Events in “It Ends With Us” were inspired by Hoover’s mother. In a review of the novel, writer Valeria Pereira Quintero stated, “She wanted to show how morally gray domestic abuse can seem when true, romantic love is at stake.”

The book’s sequel, “It Starts With Us”, picks up where “It Ends With Us” left off. It is a much lighter read as it deals with giving Atlas and Lily the happy ending they deserve. Additionally, the newest novel also touches on the realities of navigating through motherhood, what women deserve in relationships, taking care of those when others fail, and the overarching theme of ‘fate’. 

The book portrays the struggles Lily goes through having to raise a child on her own, and it shows the realities of motherhood. It details how a woman’s body changes and the realities of certain things like needing to pump throughout the day. Hoover doesn’t hold back in telling people about what being a single mother does to someone – emotionally and physically. While the book explains the struggles, it also admires how Lily does it all and how other women can do it too. She balances owning a business, raising a daughter, navigating through a divorce with an abusive ex-husband, and giving chance/hope to a new relationship. It admires how strong Lily and other women in this world are, in spite of what obstacles have been thrown their way.

In addition to admiring how women can do it all, Hoover also explicitly shows the qualities women deserve in a relationship. In “It Starts With Us”, Lily explains how she has a sheet of paper she keeps that reminds her why Ryle does not deserve a second chance with her. There were times throughout the book where Ryle would try to prove himself to her again, but she was able to come out of his manipulation tactics and truly realize what she deserves from a man. Even though a relationship may have been abusive, it can be comfortable and is so hard for one to break out of. Lily was so adamant about breaking that cycle of abuse for not only her but for her daughter, and that is something to be proud of. 

Along with breaking the cycle of abuse from a partner, the book also talks about breaking that cycle of abuse from family. At a young age, Atlas was abused by his parents – emotionally and physically. He found out that he had a pre-teen brother and saw the same heartache in his brother that he saw from himself at that age. Seeing his mother hit his brother was a turning point for Atlas. He pleaded for custody of his brother in order to give him the life he never had. He was selfless and did not want someone to go through what he went through, even though he had no idea who his brother really was. In most cases, breaking the cycle of abuse requires selflessness of someone; Atlas was willing to be this selfless person.

‘Fate’ has always been an interesting topic to me along with the other topics in this book. It is books like these that truly make me believe there is ‘fate’ for some people and that they are led back to each other for a reason. Atlas and Lily met at such a young age and somehow were led back to each other in “It Ends With Us”, right when Lily needed help during the abuse. They also somehow run into each other on the street which sparks their romance once again. In “It Starts With Us” there is a journal entry from Lily talking about all the people one meets in their lifetime. Her entry compares these people to waves, some bigger, some smaller, and therefore there are some that make more of an impact than others. It is such a significant thing to think about the impact they had on each other’s life at such a young and impressionable age, and then later knowing that they get to live their happily ever after with one another. 

This novel shows readers how love can get people through the toughest times. The love Atlas and Lily shared between each other helped Lily cope with her abusive father and helped Atlas cope with having no love from his own family. In Hoover’s acknowledgement, she stated how she never intended to write a sequel, but how readers wanted to see Atlas and Lily happy. Hoover then thanks readers for encouraging her that they did, in fact, need a happy ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed “It Starts With Us”. I fell in love with Atlas and Lily ever since the first book. I am so glad that I got to see a happy ending between these two characters, who had both been through so much. I am also so happy an author like Colleen Hoover has gained the success she has. Many people on the earth are born with talents, and Hoover’s greatest talent is her ability to write emotions onto paper and make readers feel it to their core.

Caroline Surface

Coastal Carolina '25

Caroline is a sophomore Interactive Journalism Communication major at Coastal Carolina University. She is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and has two cats and one dog. She was on the yearbook team all throughout high school, which is where she found her passion of telling stories through writing.