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It Starts With Us Book Review
It Starts With Us is the follow up novel to the award winning It Ends with us, both written by Colleen Hoover. After the first book’s release in 2016 it began gaining a mass of media attention in 2021 encouraging Colleen to release the follow up on 18th October 2022.
At 323 pages this book starts exactly where the first one ended as we follow Lily on another quest to finally find her perfect love story.
It Starts With Us follows Lily as a single mother navigating parenthood, work life, as well as creating a healthy co-parenting relationship with now ex- husband Ryle. At the end of It Ends With Us we saw Lily bump into old flame Atlas, for the first time since her divorce.
It Starts With Us follows up from that meeting from both Lily’s perspective and Atlas’s, we see how well Lily is adjusting to parenthood as well as following Atlas along on his journey of being a chef, business owner, as well as dealing with an unexpected guest falling on his doorstep.
It finally seems as though Lily and Atlas have a real chance at being happy together with them both being single, successful and free to make their own decisions, but with a jealous ex with a violent streak lurking, as well as an addict mother coming back for redemption, will it be as easy as they hoped?
Through this book we follow the pair as they adjust to every new aspect of their own lives as individuals as well as, overcoming every hurdle that seems to be in the way of them being together.
This book is a second chance romance, leading from the relationship Lily and Atlas had when they were teenagers that was sadly cut short by disapproval from Lily’s father. This story like It Ends With Us is a form of realism but this book portrays moving on from an abusive relationship and how difficult it may be; especially when the abuser is still in your life due to parental rights.
It is also really nice to see Atlas’s POV instead of Ryles, as now we get more information about the past and just how much of an impact Lily left on him at such a young age.
The representation of growth and healing as well as the hesitation a lot of people will have going into new relationships after enduring physical and emotional abuse in the past, Colleen captures the issues really well but, still in a sensitive and respectful way.
The pros of this book is that it captures the aftermath of an abusive relationship well, along with the issues progressing into something new with another person and how difficult that can be. It is also really nice to understand in more detail about Lily and Atlas’s past and how much Lily encouraged Atlas to do well and turn his life around. The cons would be the pacing, and predictability, although it was a good story I did find it quite easy to know what was going to happen further on in the book.
I gave this book three stars personally because I didn’t feel as though It Ends With Us needed a follow up, I was content with how it was left, I sometimes felt as though I was reading a long epilogue. It was a nice story with a good plot and it definitely kept my interest. I just wasn’t overly invested in this book as I was the first one and just felt it was a little unnecessary.