Lily grew up in an abusive home; she wasn’t abused, but her father beat her mother on a regular basis and Lily grew to hate him for it. Her escape was watching the Ellen Degeneres show each afternoon, and her way of venting was her journal, but instead of “dear diary” she wrote her journal entries as letters to Ellen instead. She never sent them, of course, but she kept all her journals and considered Ellen a friend, one that basically saved her sanity.
Atlas is homeless teen and he moves into the abandoned house behind Lily’s, and she befriends him. Eventually they fall in love, but Atlas had an uncle who was willing to take him in, so he left the small town in Maine for Boston, and then joined the Marines.
Lily moves to Boston too, starting her own floral business. Her first employee is Allysa, who wanders in and not only becomes Lily’s right hand but also her best friend. It’s only kismet that the most attractive man Lily ever met ends up being Allysa’s brother Ryle. And then Lily runs into Atlas, stirring up those old feelings, but she’s determined to make things work with Ryle.
This is a story about friendship and relationships and abuse and love. Growing up in an abusive home, Lily – like many people – judged her mother for not leaving. But as an adult, when she finds herself in a similar situation, she learns how difficult it is to leave, and why so many women stay.
This was a one night read for me, I couldn’t put it down. These characters were so well drawn that they really brought this story to life. Abuse isn’t always a black and white situation, and Hoover illustrates that beautifully.
The amount of abuse that goes on in this country is absolutely horrifying, and this book may be powerful enough to get even one person to leave, or at least to understand what may be going on in their family or with friends, and that would be a wonderful thing. Either way, the level of compassion and empathy expressed for both the abuser and the victim is refreshing, educational and inspirational.
It Ends with Us is an important and compelling read, and sure to make my best books of the year list. Don’t miss it.
8/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover. Atria Books (August 2, 2016). ISBN 978-1501110368. 384p.