Content warning: This article contains mention and description of domestic violence.
If you have taken advice from TikTok about what book to read next, you have probably at least heard of the book “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover. The fictional romance novel follows the main character, Lilly, as she navigates a love triangle with an old flame and new man.
Her predicament makes for a “will-they-won’t-they” pull that hooks the reader.
However, despite being a romance novel, the story is very centered on Lilly’s experiences with abuse and domestic violence. She is the victim of this herself several times throughout the novel and watches her mother experience the same growing up. At first, you might ask yourself, why is this a romance novel?
Lilly’s struggle between loving someone who has hurt you is something many survivors can relate to. This book has a lot of romantic themes and a lot of heartbreaking ones, too. Lilly’s experiences are very real, and reading about her makes it easier to understand why some survivors can’t or won’t “just leave” their partner.
Hoover writes this novel in a mix of linear story-telling and old diary entries Lilly wrote as a young girl. The book is easy to read and a great book for young people to help them understand and avoid the red flags of potential abuse.
"When I married your father, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly … with every incident … my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. The first time your father hit me, he was immediately sorry. He swore it would never happen again. The second time, he was even more sorry. The third time it happened, it was more than a hit. It was a beating. And every single time, I took him back. But the fourth time, it was only a slap. And when that happened, I felt relieved,” reads a passage from the book.
Despite Lilly’s experiences as a survivor, there is also romance and a strong friendship, and this all takes place while Lilly is opening her own floral shop. Her character is truly so much more than someone who has lived through experiences with abuse. She is brave, passionate and fearless.
Overall, Lilly’s character is what really makes this novel an appeal. Her resiliency is tested in almost every chapter. You keep reading because you want to make sure she is OK, and you're desperate for her to not go back to her abuser. This book will go by fast.