‘It Starts With Us’ by Colleen Hoover – Book Review

A story about hope, growth, and love

The Book section of TikTok or as they call it #BookTok did something that no CoHort (fan of Colleen Hoover books) would have ever imagined and I can’t thank the community enough for this. After being waned down by petitions from fans, the author has finally released a sequel to the story of Lily and Atlas, with 2022’s most anticipated release, It Starts With Us. It’s something no one saw coming six years ago.

After the first of the two novels, It Ends With Us went viral on BookTok; it was official that the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author had officially made it and went global.

The author ended the first book with Lily and her newborn and now, six years after that, there is finally some conclusion for fans with the sequel It Starts With Us.

For the uninitiated, It Ends With Us narrated the story of Lily Bloom. Atlas Corrigan was the 17-year-old homeless boy Lily helped when she was 15.

Circumstances led Atlas and Lily to part ways as a child but Lily never let Atlas slip away from her heart. Even after she found love in Ryle, her time with Atlas always foreshadowed her new relationship. Ryle has had a temper for a while, one that is often directed at Lily.

Due to the domestic abuse Lily had witnessed her father execute on her mother as a child, an older and wiser Lily decides to divorce her abusive husband Ryle for the sake of her daughter Emerson. Now almost a year after Lily’s split with Ryle, she runs into her first and possibly only love, Atlas.

It Starts With Us, in its 37 chapters, tells the story of Lily and Atlas and how fate and circumstances eventually worked in their favour and brought these two lovers together again. The novel was released on October 18th and just as any other devout CoHort would, I stayed up all night to read the novel in its entirety – and what a journey that was!

I am absolutely in love with Colleen’s way of words and how she writes the perfect book boyfriends every single time. The story of Lily and Atlas is not typical CoHo writing style meaning that there are no sudden plot twists that leave you shocked to your core. Nor is there any shocking betrayal that will leave you wounded.

The story is simple. Lily loves Atlas but is worried about her single-parenting relationship with Ryle. Ryle has a lot of his personal, misdirected issues that he channels onto Lily because she is the only one he can intimidate until he cannot. Atlas loves Lily and there is nothing else he is sure about more than her.

Throughout the story of the novel, Lily makes herself more confident and adamant about her choices with the support of Atlas. Ryle starts becoming more and more obnoxious by the minute, and Atlas, the charming “Greek God Adonis”, just has readers swooning at every line he utters.

I am sure when they discuss the idea of “Men Written By Women”, Atlas Corrigan will be number 1 on the list because Colleen Hoover made sure the man had no flaws at all. There is nothing wrong with his character and as a young reader, this is my biggest gripe with Colleen. How does one find an Atlas in real life? Because we are pretty sure boys like him do not exist!

Literally, every character in this book was great be it Alyssa and her constant support to Lily despite being Ryle’s sister or Marshall who consoled Lily when she desperately needed someone to be there for her. I loved Atlas’ friends and I’m glad that he has young kids like Theo and Josh around him that he can inspire. Theo and Josh have my whole heart. I wish there existed a universe where we see Theo and Josh grow up and go to college and remain friends for life.

Theo’s one-liners are what takes the cake in this one and “I Wish For You To Be My Fish” will go down in history as THE quote from this novel. Since the author already mentioned that she had ended Lily’s story six years ago with It Ends With Us, it was not possible for her to put Lily through hell in the new story.

That is why It Starts With Us is just that, the story of how Lily and Atlas started. We have no idea how they will be going, but in Atlas Corrigan we trust. From feeling the butterflies Lily felt with Atlas, to swooning over the charming Smooth-talker himself and wishing ill upon Ryle every time he made an appearance.

It Starts With Us can be considered a light read with moments of intensity here and there. Atlas Corrigan has and will make readers’ hearts melt and should go down in history as the best Golden Retriever boy in the history of book boyfriends ever!

Lily is a headstrong character which is why watching her have her moments of fear when she is met with Ryle’s rage will undoubtedly make you, as a reader, afraid. I wish the people who are suffering from domestic violence find hope in Lily’s story and I absolutely love Colleen Hoover for discussing issues of importance with every one of her stories. It Starts With Us is a great novel and well worth checking out.

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  • Verdict - 8.5/10

3 thoughts on “‘It Starts With Us’ by Colleen Hoover – Book Review”

  1. After reading the books, that I truly love I was trying to get my thoughts in a line..

    What kind of love has Lilly and Atlas really have? Is it true passion and a love that a husband and wife should experience? Or is it because Lilly “saved” Atlas live when he never experienced love from a woman / mother? And after Lilly’s bad marriage-experience with Ryle she just feel safe with Atlas that could also be a very good friend to her?

  2. This novel will inspire you to believe in love, second chances at romance, generosity and sharing, strength, and the ability to choose the best course of action for a loved one. All of these things are present in it.

    This is my rant after finishing the book, and I would really suggest everyone read it. This is not just a love story. This book is a voice against domestic violence. This book will give you the courage to fight against wrong. This book will make you see the right things and will help you choose the right path. The plot, back story, everything in this book will make you feel confident when you are low. It will help you find the courage to do the right thing. This book will become your friend and will guide you and help you in every possible way. It will make you believe in love, second chance love.

    Ryle and Atlas are the two guys that this woman created, and they couldn’t be more diverse from one another. Nobody wants to be with Ryle, but every girl wants a man like Atlas. I’m trying to emphasize that this woman has a lot of inspiration, talent, and promise, but her writing talent is what will really make you forget about the outside world. I am so grateful that I read this book.

  3. The first book is about Lily’s love story with Ryle but the phrase “It ends with us” is more about her and her child becoming the end of the “endless” loop of domestic abuse.

    Similiarly, the sequel is about Lily’s love story with Atlas but the phrase “It starts with us” is more about Atlas and his brother becoming the start of a true family where people really love and care about each other.

    That’s what I love about this series. They are not simply love stories. They’re about kids growing up in unhappy families finally decide to fight for the happiness that they deserve and build a home where they can love and be loved.

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