Colleen Hoover’s sequel to It Ends With Us had me enthralled by the lives of Lily and Atlas

The book cover of It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover.


The book cover of It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover.

I hate to admit it, but I have fallen under Colleen Hoover’s spell.

I have heard of her best-selling novel, It Ends With Us, for years now, and with her books gaining a lot of traction on TikTok, I thought I should finally give her a try.

Immediately, I was hooked. Yes, her books are simply just cheesy love stories, and I know that the main characters are going to end up with each other, but I’m entranced by how it happens. The main characters in her novels all have wild backstories, and it is interesting to see how they affect their stories in the present. 

I read four of her novels back-to-back with ease. And, since I was late to joining the Hoover fan club, when I realized that there was going to be a sequel to It Ends With Us, the first book of hers that I have read, I knew I had to get it as soon as possible.

The day that it was released, I made my way over to Schuler Books right after the dismissal bell rang. There, I found a large stack of It Starts With Us; I quickly grabbed a copy and was on my merry way.

If I am going to be completely honest, I was a little bit nervous to read this book simply because sequels are almost never as good as the original story. Even more so because I thought that the ending to It Ends With Us was perfect. While I will still choose the first book over the sequel, I still thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.

In It Starts With Us, we get to see how Atlas and Lily’s relationship plays out after not having been with each other romantically since they were teenagers. It was interesting seeing how their dynamic has changed with one another, and that definitely has to do with who they are now compared to all those years ago. Atlas is no longer homeless and sneaking into Lily’s house for basic necessities, but rather owns two restaurants where he is the head chef at both. Lily is no longer living with her abusive father and gardening in her backyard, but rather owns a floral shop and has a daughter.

And while I will still choose the first book over the sequel, I still thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.

Seeing the shift in the dynamic between the two added depth to the story, as we see their relationship mature and evolve since the first novel, along with seeing what has stayed the same since the last time they were together. While they had to maneuver through obstacles in the past, this time around, they had to do the same. Lily’s ex-husband, Ryle, hated Atlas and the thought of him with Lily, and it was interesting to see how that would affect Atlas and Lily, along with Ryle, Lily, and their daughter, Emerson.

Another aspect of It Starts With Us that I enjoyed was the fact that I got to read from Atlas’ perspective as well. Switching points of view is something that Hoover does often, and I believe that it adds to the plot and provides intriguing dramatic irony. While an extreme life-altering discovery occurred for Atlas out of the blue—which was a tad confusing and I feel like it somewhat drew away from the main focus of the story—it also tapped into Atlas’ past, which is something that I had always been curious about.

One of my least favorite aspects of It Starts With Us—and, quite frankly, all of Hoover’s novels—is that it ended too quickly. Hoover has a tendency to draw the story to a close right as it reached the climax, which is what she did once again. She could’ve definitely made this novel—and all her others—much longer, and no one would complain.

While Hoover may not go as in-depth in the story as I had hoped, It Starts With Us was still extremely enjoyable. It was nice for me to have closure and know for a fact that a happy ending for Lily was ensuing.