It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

When I read It Ends With Us back in 2016 when it came out, I was pleased with the ending. After enduring so much of the heavy stuff throughout the book, the ending was hopeful. Did I want to see more of what happened next for Lily and Atlas? Sure. Would I have been ok leaving it to my imagination? Absolutely. But within the last few years, It Ends With Us had a resurgence in popularity thanks to TikTok and that’s what influenced Colleen Hoover to write this follow-up and release it six years after the original story.

This book was pretty clear in that it was written for the fans. It actually read like a 300-page epilogue, to be honest. And I’m not saying that as a bad thing, I honestly enjoyed the story and loved seeing Lily and Atlas finally get together as adults. The book starts just hours after the events in the epilogue from IEWU. Lily very much wants to take Atlas up on his offer to start dating but she has the complication of Ryle still very much being a part of her life as they attempt to co-parent their daughter. Given all the trouble Atlas’ existence caused (through no fault of Atlas, any issue was thanks to Ryle’s insecurities and anger issues) when she and Ryle were together, you can imagine that he would not be keen on her beginning to date Atlas now. I really had complicated feelings about Ryle after the first book but this book helped clear that up for me and had me landing firmly on the side of “he’s no good, just stay away”.

On the other hand, we have Atlas, who was basically perfect. This wasn’t a book to watch Lily and Atlas fall in love, they never fell out of love with one another. It really was just seeing them come back together again and figure out how to finally build a future together. Atlas was so patient and good, he was the polar opposite of everything Ryle was. I liked the little personal journey – unrelated to his relationship with Lily – that he ended up taking during this story. I don’t think it really impacted his relationship with Lily but it just reinforced what a great guy he was, and it was sweet.

There was just one thing that was weird for me. In IEWU, I don’t think it explicitly said what year it took place but let’s assume it was 2016. Therefore this book would have also taken place in 2016 (at least most of it) but there were references to certain things that really wouldn’t have been around back then. It felt like this book was taking place now as opposed to 6yrs ago. But maybe that’s just me… It wasn’t a big deal but something I noticed.

Anyway, overall I enjoyed this book, I’m glad we got it, even though I would have been okay without it. If nothing else, it was lovely to swoon over Atlas Corrigan during the few days I read it.

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