It Starts with Us, by Colleen Hoover, is a romance novel and the second in a two-book series.
This series is a must read but It Ends with Us must be read first to fully enjoy and understand
the second book.
It Starts with Us follows the story of Lily and Atlas and their second chance at love following the
ending of It Ends with Us, where they see each other one last time. They navigate their new life
following the divorce of Ryle and Lily while also figuring out their new relationship dynamic.
Ryle makes their relationship more difficult, and this means Lily must make some hard decisions
to do the right thing for her and her daughter. Lily breaks the cycle from It Ends with Us and
puts herself in a healthier situation and finds the support she needs from her loved ones. This
no longer is the story of abuse provided by It Ends with Us but rather a story of a newfound
love, allowing Atlas and Lily to break their own cycles of trauma and become new versions of
Hoover depicts each character’s emotions by switching between narrators. She effectively
utilizes different techniques to describe her character’s thoughts and emotions vividly. Despite
the fantastic writing of this novel, it falls short to deliver on reader’s expectations. This long-
awaited sequel was intended to bring a happy ending to Atlas and Lily’s story but also resolve
some final issues. While creating the intended happy ending, the book drags on at parts,
seeming as if Hoover added plot lines not necessarily needed to close the story. The first book’s
success invited room for a sequel but should’ve been executed differently. Overall, the novel is
a very happy story and delivers in that aspect but tends to fall short on what reader’s expected.