It Starts With Us Book Review *SPOILERS*


Cover of “It Starts With Us” by Colleen Hoover

Christina Guerrero, Journalist

On October 18, “It Starts With Us,” the highly anticipated sequel to “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover was released. The book follows right where we left off in the first book with Lily and Atlas being in contact with each other again. Spoilers for both books below.

When asked their thoughts on the books, fan of “It Ends With Us” Raman Kaur replied, “In the first book I liked how the books never got boring. I read for hours and it was the first book that I finished within two weeks.”

Another fan Tiffany Guerrero replied, “I really liked Lily’s growth throughout the book and that she got to reconnect with Atlas in the end.”

The first book “It Ends With Us” follows our main character Lily Bloom who is currently in a relationship with Ryle Kincaid. Lily is excited to start her relationship and open her flower shop. Everything seems to be going well in Lily and Ryle’s relationship until an incident occurs which results in Lily getting hit by Ryle and there by starting a cycle of abuse. Following this, Lily and Ryle go to a restaurant called “BIB’s” but the chef is Atlas Corrigan, Lily’s first love. Atlas tells Lily to leave Ryle to not end up like her mother referencing their past.

During their teen years, Atlas and Lily bonded while dealing with their own traumas. Lily’s being her father was abusive to her mother while Atlas’s trauma being he was kicked out of his home by his mother. After the altercation at the restaurant Ryle slowly becomes more and more abusive to Lily. After one night of the abuse being unthinkably bad, Lily calls Atlas for help and then finds out she is pregnant. At this time Lily and Ryle are married and after giving birth Lily asks Ryle for a divorce. The book ends with Lily and Atlas meeting again and all is well.

Photo of “It Starts With Us” quote

The sequel “It Starts With Us” picks up right where we left off in the first book with Lily and Atlas’s reunion having to be cut short due to them both being late for work. At Atlas’s restaurant he finds a broken door and he can tell it is a young person who did it. Following this he receives a phone call from his mother and before giving her time to speak he hangs up. After this phone call Atlas asks Lily on a date where she immediately says yes, but in the back of her mind she’s scared of what Ryle will think.

Lily and Ryle are on civil terms with the custody agreement of their child following their divorce at the beginning. Throughout the book, Ryle tries to convince Lily he has changed and they should be together again. When finding out Lily is dating Atlas, Ryle corners and chokes Lily. This results in Lily going to Atlas who has found out the reason his mother called him was because he has a brother he never knew about. The rest of the book then follows Lily and Atlas dealing with the struggles of family and their relationship. In the end Ryle is still angry, but has come to terms that Lily and Atlas will be together. The book then ends with a four year jump where Lily and Atlas are getting married and are happy with Lily’s daughter and Atlas’s younger brother.

Overall the second book was good, but felt almost unnecessary in my opinion. The first book was perfect, it made you see how red flags in a person might not be noticeable right away when you have rose-colored glasses on and how difficult it can be to end a cycle of abuse.

While Lily and Atlas’s relationship was a big part of the first book, I believe making the second one almost overshadowed the message of the first book that showed how difficult it can be to leave an abusive situation. I also think the beauty of the first book was that it wasn’t a happily ever after for these characters, but it was left open ended with readers hoping everything worked out for the two.

The second book had its moments where I was excited to see Atlas and Lily’s relationship develop more, but the dual POV made the book frustrating at times. An intense scene would be happening with Lily, just so it could cut to Atlas dealing with his brother.

While I found this book entertaining, the pacing was a mess. Almost the first 100 pages are Lily and Atlas taking things slow, then it goes rapid fire and plot after plot is finished within five chapters. The wedding at the end also threw me off since we only got to read Atlas’s vows and not see Lily’s side of it seeing as this was originally Lily’s story.

Overall, I would give “It Starts With Us” by Colleen Hoover a 3/5 for the pacing and you could honestly go without reading it, with the story being how it was supposed to be in the first place about Lily’s strength to leave a abusive situation.