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The Most Overhyped Book on BookTok – “It Ends With Us”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Trigger warning: mentions of abuse and rape.

I see the book “It Ends With Us” everywhere. For months it has been all over my For You Page on TikTok, and honestly, I don’t know why. I hate this book. Every time I see a video about it, I search through the comments looking for that one person that says they hate it too so I don’t feel alone in my opinion.

Let’s start from the beginning. During last semester, Penn State was doing an online study and you earned a few dollars a day. I did it and ended up earning over $60 toward an Amazon gift card. A normal person would use it for textbooks or something actually needed. Well, BookTok trapped me and I ended up spending all of it on books as if I didn’t already have a stack of books waiting to be read. If you can’t tell already, “It Ends With Us” was one of the books I ended up getting. 

Fast forward to Dec. 18. I packed the book in my carry-on not expecting to read it, but I got on the bus taking me home and I noticed the outlets by my seat weren’t working. I knew I couldn’t be on my phone because it was an eight hour ride and I needed it charged so I could call my mom. I needed something to do so I decided to actually take out the book and read. 

I’ll admit, the first chapter got my attention. I even wrote down the idea of doing “naked truths” in my notes! I loved the idea of saying naked truth and that person knowing that they had to say exactly what was on their mind. I even found myself rooting for Lily and Ryle (only in the first one or two chapters though).

Within the first five minutes of finishing it, I thought I loved it. There were a few parts that I initially didn’t like, but they weren’t big observations. I knew that I thought the ending dragged. Although, I wanted Atlas and Lily to end up together, as a reader I didn’t feel connected to him, which made the ending a bit stale for me. Besides that, all I could think at first was, “Wow, that was amazing.”

Wrong. The book was very much not amazing. I understand that this book is about Lily understanding what it’s like to be abused while being in love with someone, but I think it’s poorly played out and a lot of the actions of the characters don’t make sense.

Colleen Hoover initially did a good job at making readers initially love Ryle. She also did good in making us see how Lily was able to convince herself that most of the time she was physically abused, it was just an accident. Even after the first push, I believed it might have been a one time thing. However, about an hour after reading everything I was able to realize that she didn’t actually do a good job in making Ryle look good in the beginning, I was just stupid. 

Ryle is creepy. He asked around to find out where Lily lived just to go on his hands and knees to beg her to have sex with him. To make it worse, he said he wouldn’t be able to forget her unless she did so. And to make it even worse than that, Lily had made it clear that she strictly does not do one-night stands from the first time she met him!

I don’t know about anyone else, but if some guy that I only met a few times, showed up at my door and told me he wanted to have sex just so he never had to think of me again, I’d be freaked out. Hell, I’d probably slam the door in his face, lock it and be afraid to open it for a week. He was practically a stranger to her at this point in the book too!

Then, there’s the fact that Lily and Ryle got married within six months of dating. People will judge if you get married within one day or after ten years, but six months of knowing a person is still a very short amount of time. Context also matters. There is someone that I’ve talked to almost every single day for eight months and if he asked me to marry him right at this very second, we would probably never talk again.

Ryle was a surgeon that sometimes wouldn’t be seen or heard from for days at a time. Lily was running the top florist shop in Boston, she wouldn’t have time to talk most days either. The two probably had a heart-to-heart once a week and sex during his days off and that was that. Nothing about this relationship screamed healthy. Neither of them had the time to really get to know each other.

Before this next part I just want to add that Lily choosing to be with Ryle is not what bothers me, it is the way Colleen Hoover portrays it. Ryle initially had a red flag when he was beating up the chair on the rooftop in the first chapter, but besides that, his character was likable. He was funny, witty and smart, but also mysterious. If she kept his initial sarcastic and confident persona and just built up the likability between him and the audience before everything hit the fan, it would have been better.

As a reader, once you get to the scene where he is begging her for sex, it’s hard to even see why Lily would get with him. He was treating her like garbage before they even got together. Also, it doesn’t make sense for Lily’s character. In some of the flashbacks from when Lily was younger, we see that she was a badass. She wasn’t necessarily loud and mighty, but if she needed to stand up to someone she would. Even at her father’s funeral, (beginning of the book in the present time) she got up to speak and said nothing on purpose because she had nothing good to say about the man that would beat her mom.

I have no idea why Lily was willing to go through with the one night stand, the original Lily that I was reading about would have put Ryle in his place within 30 seconds. My hatred has nothing to do with blaming her for being with him, but everything to do with the author making the main character do things that don’t make sense plot-wise and in the end, the overall message loses its power.

However, I do have a grudge against Lily for this part. The fact that she leaves Emerson (Lily and Ryle’s child) ALONE with Ryle astounds me. By this part in the book, Ryle has raped Lily and after months of thinking about what to do, she finally decides to divorce him. I’ve heard many people say that they loved the ending of the book because it showed she was free from Ryle, but what about Emerson? Lily is leaving her child alone with the man that raped her saying that she knows he would never hurt their baby. Really? He hurt you, what’s stopping him from abusing her? What if he gets too stressed at work and “accidentally” hits her? I

was uncomfortable when I realized how wrong it was for her to leave the baby with him. And what about when Emerson is older? Eventually, she’s going to find out the truth and know that she was allowed to be left alone with the man that raped her mother. I don’t know if I would ever be able to forgive either of my parents for that. She’s putting her daughter in a vulnerable environment without even thinking of the possible outcomes.

If you still don’t want to listen to me after any of that, we can talk about how terrible Atlas’s storyline is. He isn’t necessarily a bad character, but I feel as though there was no way to make a connection with him. Usually, I am head over heels for the guys that I read about, but nothing in this story made me long for Atlas. Sure, I felt bad for him being homeless at such a young age. Yeah, I was happy that he ended up becoming so successful and owning a restaurant. But dialogue wise, I felt that I didn’t get to know him.

In the book, Lily is 23 meaning that he has to be 26-27. The most information we got about him was from when Lily was 15 and he was 18. That’s almost ten years ago! The biggest scene we got with him in the present was when Lily called him for help after she was raped, but still, it was basically just him giving her a place to stay for as long as she needed. All we learned about him from that scene was that he is well off financially. Every big piece of information about him was from Lily’s writings from when she was 15. I don’t know about you, but I’m 20 and I can promise you I am not the same person I was when I was 15. So really, I don’t think the journal writings are reliable and they don’t help us see who he really is. 

I hate this book and I’m not saying you should too, but if you did enjoy it and choose to harass the few of us who don’t enjoy the book, take a step back and look at some of these points. The one good thing that I will say about reading “It Ends With Us” is that this was one of the first times I felt like I had my own opinion. Whether anyone else agrees with me or not, I took the time to form my opinion and make it my own. I struggle with doing that sometimes.

Signing off I’m just gonna give two pieces of advice, look through this and see if this is a book you actually want to like and also, make your own opinion. Stop letting BookTok persuade you.

Arianna is currently a second year student at Penn State University from Massachusetts. In her free time she likes to listen to music, read, and watch the same three shows over and over again.
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