It Starts with Us - Book Review
This is me, H.B. Louise—
A goal of mine this year is to write one book review a month. It's my way of slowly returning to writing. This month I am starting with It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover. This is your warning...SPOILERS ARE BELOW, so please do not read if you still plan on reading the book.
Alright, so let's jump in, shall we? First, I want to preface that I was very excited to read this book. A little over a year ago my friends and I read the first book, It Ends with Us. It was a FANTASTIC book and something I have recommended to almost every person I talk to.
My overwhelming feeling reading It Starts with Us was that I wanted more.
Therefore, I gave it a 3.8/5 stars.
Here are my thoughts on the pros of the book:
Atlas is the perfect character. Honestly, he's so pure and true that it was kind of hard to read from his perspective. Hard because he was so perfect, and I kept trying to uncover his nonexistent flaws. Seriously, there is no way one person can be so perfect. I truly think he was everything Lily needed.
Lily is incredibly strong and has become a resilient parent and individual since the last book. Not only has she lived through an abusive relationship, but she also continues to co-parent with her abuser and father of her child. I do not know how she did it, and I was impressed with her from beginning to end. Go Lily go!
I am so glad Lily and her mom continued to build a strong relationship. I loved that she was there for Emerson and Lily. She's also a sneaky little thing, keeping that interaction with Atlas a secret all these years. Bravo!
Josh was an amazing addition to the plot. His pain and upbringing, although sad, was inspiring. You could understand why he did the things he did, like vandalizing Atlas’s restaurants. The curiosity I had for where his story was going kept me reading. His relationship with Atlas was everything and tugged on my heart strings. As an older sibling who puts it on myself to care for my younger sister, I completely felt Atlas's emotions towards his brother.
Theo. Was. Everything. All I have to say is why aren't there more characters like Theo in every book?
MY FAVORITE PART - Colleen Hoover is a mastermind when it comes to connecting her titles to a theme in the book. I loved the parallels with both book titles and how it connected to two characters. For example, It Ends with Us refers to Lily and Emerson and how the abuse stops with them. In It Starts with Us, the title refers to the new relationship with Josh and Atlas. Each held this beautiful symbol - one to stop the violence for good and one to share the love you have for someone else.
Here are my thoughts on the cons of the book:
I know we are meant to hate Ryle for many reasons, but I truly hate him. Reading his name in the book immediately caused my blood pressure to spike. So, every scene with him made me very upset and anxious. I was honestly bothered by his involvement in Lily and Emerson's life, and I think this ultimately made me not want to finish reading the book. However, I do think Colleen Hoover did a nice job of including the conflict and turmoil a survivor experiences on a daily basis when their abuser is still a part of their life.
I felt like I was rereading passages at the beginning of the book. I felt like every "Lily" chapter repeated itself.
MY BIGGEST ISSUE - If you read the acknowledgements, which is one of my favorite parts of a book, you read that Colleen Hoover felt closure with the way It Ends with Us ended. However, due to the fans, BookTok, etc. she felt like she needed to write an ending for Lily and Atlas. One, I don't love the pressure the world put on her to write this book, and I wish she held her ground. Two, as a result of this I felt like this book was rushed and gave us little closure. I wanted another chapter from Lily walking us through where her and Ryle stood, how life was with Josh, Atlas, and Emerson after the wedding, etc. I didn't feel like I received the closure I needed. Now, ultimately, I know that doesn't matter because this isn't my book. So, just my opinion.
All in all, I think it was a good book, obviously well written. The love story of Atlas and Lily was beautiful. My friend explained it well, it gave you all the feels when you fall in love with someone. So, I do want to thank Colleen Hoover for sharing a beautiful love story.
Thanks for reading everyone! I will be back next month with a new book review... Stay tuned!
With all my love and thanks, H.B. Louise