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

  If you haven’t heard of Colleen Hoover, you’re probably not on Tiktok, just like me. However, the author has become so popular that her books have taken over the shelves of booktubers, too. At the beginning of this year, Books With Chloe (now Chloe Bunnie) added “It Ends With Us” to a reading vlog, so I followed her lead. And let me tell you, I had never sobbed so much in less than two days before. However, it became a healing tool for me as I’ve been working through my past traumas in therapy for the past year. 

     So, when Hoover announced that the second book in the duology was coming out on October 18, I knew I had to get it. The problem was that I was trying to save money and the funniest manifestation happened. I went to the campus bookstore to get some Claritin to survive the itch of fire ant bites, and the cashier said I could get the book for free if I signed up for Bartleby. I signed up and got 17%, which means I paid around $16 for a box of Claritin and a new book. 

     As soon as I started reading “It Starts With Us,” I was brought right back to an hour after what happened in the prologue of “It Ends With Us.” This book is all about the aftermath of abuse and breaking its cycle. For that reason, there are many awkward and uncomfortable moments, especially between Ryle and Lily (the abuser and victim). However, it’s also about moving on to a different relationship after a divorce and finally feeling genuine and pure love. 

     Much like the previous book, the characters are so flawed and well-developed that you can’t help but feel moved when things go right or wrong for them. Atlas is a character that readers either love or hate, but he gets the chance to tell his side of the story from his POV. His childhood was anything but stable and loving, so this book shows him healing from some past trauma and shows how much strength he has in him. Furthermore, the readers see how even when the whole world was against him, he didn’t change his pure heart. 

     What I loved about this book was how it dealt with the aftermath of abuse more lightly yet didn’t hide anything that could happen. Even the abuser in the story had some character development, which was amazing to read. In the story, Lily and Atlas let go of their insecurities and follow their hearts from beginning to end. Not only that, but they embraced how even if their heart breaks, it would be worth it to have the love they fought for. It showed how every relationship is not perfect, but what ultimately matters is how we react to these issues. 

     Although I did give it 5 stars, just like its prequel, The first one moved me more. “It Ends With Us” was shocking from beginning to end, and the writer explained the book title beautifully. While the explanation for the title of “It Starts With Us” was sweet, it didn’t hit as much. After reading a few reviews, I agree with some of them. Sometimes it read like an over 300-page epilogue, especially when the ending was sweet but vague. 

     What I don’t agree with, though, is how many readers don’t think the sequel was necessary and that fans are idolizing Atlas for doing the bare minimum. I think Atlas is a very well-developed character and a lovely person, so I appreciated the sequel. I believe the best metaphor for the duology is that the first book was noise and the second one was silence. Also, “It Ends With US” was about heartbreak and devastation while “It Starts With Us” was about falling in love again and finding peace. 

     If you do find yourself wanting to read the duology, go into it being aware of the trigger warnings. Many passages are hard to read and will make you sob in agony; others will make you weep in happiness, and others will make you laugh. Be ready for a rollercoaster ride filled with difficult emotions and insights that will make you see that love can be ugly sometimes but also beautiful and healing.

24, Sagittarius, Brazilian. University of Tampa 2022’ English teacher, writer, and journalist I'm a language geek, adventure seeker, and bookworm. g.maistrobrasolin@spartans.ut.edu