I was a little nervous going into it, as New Adult/Contemporary isn't really my scene. This book is an exception.
It Ends with Us has some very important things to say about manipulation, love, and abuse. However, it is NOT clear from the synopsis what kind of book this will be.
It's marketed as a Romance, but I'm hear to tell you THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT ABUSE.
The story is very well written. As someone who has been through an emotionally abusive relationship, I felt the portrayals of abuser/victim were on point.
Hoover does well making Lily an extremely approachable main character. She's hardworking & ambitious, but also insecure & unresolved about growing up witnessing an abusive relationship between her mother & father.
When Ryle Kincaid enters her life, Lily is swept up into a situation that seems too good to be true. And suddenly it is.
Have I ever had a gorgeous neurosurgeon sweep me off my feet? No, I haven't. But I have experienced the horrifying shift from perfect relationship to terrible relationship.
It happens over time, and it happens all at once.
You always have an explanation for the bad times, and you hyper-fixate on the good times in an effort to erase the bad. There is always something you could've done to prevent the mistreatment.
You find the smallest, most convoluted ways to differentiate your situation from all the other abusive scenarios out there. You keep drawing lines in the sand for when you'll leave, and when they inevitably cross that line you just draw a new one.
Excuse. Defend. Justify. It is amazing the mental gymnastics you'll put yourself through in order to make everything seem alright when it isn't.
I appreciate how honestly these coping mechanisms were portrayed in the story. It was easy to see myself in Lily.
I respect that this book does not romanticize or pardon abuse. We are not meant to root for the abuser, we are meant to root for Lily.
I docked a couple stars from my rating because there were a few small scale aspects I didn't love.
The names in this book are so ridiculous. Lily Blossom Bloom? Ryle? Atlas? Do people name their children like this in real life?
There was also a small savior arc in this story that I couldn't really support.
Overall though this is a book with a powerful message & an insightful look at how overwhelming it can be to find the courage to love yourself enough to walk away from situations that no longer serve you.
Abuse can happen to anyone, and each situation is different. It's easy to think you'd never allow yourself to be caught up in an abusive relationship until you do.