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My thoughts while reading It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

Hello and Hi.

Earlier this year I was caught up in my curoisity and read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover after being bombarded with it every time I opened my tiktok. I did a whole review detialing my thoughts on this book but to sum it up: I think I would have enjoyed that book more if I had gone in blind.

It Ends With Us is not a romance novel. I feel like the whole point of that book is that it lures you in, makes you think it’s one thing, but then subverts that and you feel all these ups and down and conflicting feelings alongside Lily, the main character. Because I knew what was going to happen so I couldn’t by in to that.

We’re now a month or two out from the release of the highly anticipated sequel, It Starts With Us, and I’ve managed to avoid all spoilers. I really need to hurry up and read it though before I stumble across some. So today I’m going to start reading the book and document my thought process while reading.

Just before I start reading the initial thing I’m interested in is the relationship between Lily and Atlas. These two were so hyped up online, especially Atlas Carrigan, but I just didn’t connect to them in any way. Like I could acknowledge that Atlas was a good guy and clearly the better option for Lily, but to me, that book was less about shipping the two of them, and more about the inner workings of Lily’s other relationship so I’m curious about the dynamic in this sequel which I feel will definitely have the chance to be a romance unlike the first.

Anyways, on with my reading …. (spoilers ahead btw).


I think it’s cool that this book starts right where the first left off in the epilogue. I didn’t know much about this book beforehand besides the fact that there would be chapters from Atlas’ perspective, but I kind of expected them to already be together when this book started.

Ok so Lily writing to Ellen DeGeneres was wierd in the first book, it’s still wierd now. Like, jsut say dear diary or pen it to some dead aunt or something. But Ellen DeGeneres? Really!

Theo has been a character for exactly one line but he’s my new favourite. Rightfully making fun of all the Finding Nemo references. MVP already.

Keeping with Theo – why is Atlas using a 12 year old boy as a therapist? Theo made fun of one wierd plot element only to get dragged into another wierd ass plot element. Save this boy.

As an english lit student I find Ryle to be a very fascinating character to read about. He’s 100% an arsehole and I’m really hoping Lily cuts off all contact with him by the end of this book, but just reading and noticing the way he gaslights and manipulates so … entertaining isn’t the right word but I find it interesting to read about.

*just want to reiterate that I am in no way a Ryle apologist or advocating for his redemption*

I have no child, no husband and no experience with domestic violence so I don’t think it’s really my place to touch on how Lily is going about this whole situation but the thing that I love is when she puts her foot down about her daughter staying the night with Ryle until she can speak.

I literally just said that I have no room to touch on Lily’s handling of things, but she’s just internally reminded herself why she divorced him and listed a whole bunch of reasons and I’m just here screaming KILL HIM! Or at the very least don’t sit and eat Chinese with him. Props to her for asking for her apartment key back though. Thought that might drag out a little while.

Back on the Theo train – this boy is meant to be 12 years old. Why is he speaking like he’s 32?! What 12 year old do you know that says “I have no interest in” and “speaking of” – my 16 year old brother doesn’t even have this level of vocabulary.

If a boy I liked asked me to read him the inner thoughts my 15 year old self wrote in a journal it would a big fat no. I mean, in reality it would be very boring because I was a chill teenager who seemed to skip every major adolescent milestone besides acne and waking up wanting to cry all the time but still. It’s the principal of the matter and I would have hung up. Go stalk my Tumblr if you really want to know.

Currently having a visceral reaction over the mention of Tik-Tok.

I relate to Atlas. I also read reviews of restaurants. His seems to be for sincere reasons while I read them for the drama. I grew up in a tourist town and these people can be ruthless but it’s good entertainment. (Except for when they bad mouth my mum who is the epitome of all that is good in the world – in those instances I plot murder).

Have just reached the 100 page mark and finished the chapter of Atlas and Lily’s first date and … yeah I’m still not feeling the Atlas hype. Again , objectivey he’s a nice guy but there’s just no sparks there that make him stand out to me.

Ryle watching Finding Nemo with Emerson when Lily gets back from her date seems a little fishy to me (*wink wink* *nudge nudge*).

she named her kid after Dory. And to think Bella Swan had a problem with her kid being nick-named after the Loch Ness monster.

Would really like to push Ryle off this roof but I’m liking how Lily’s inner monologue is lowkey reading like a PSA – it doesn’t make for the best form of literature but I think it could be good to get through to women in a similair situation.

“I don’t care if you’ve changed Ryle. I hope you have. But it’s not my responsibility to test that theory“. Amen to that.

Alyssa is an enabler. I thought that in the first book, I’m thinking that again. Don’t get me wrong I’d kill for my brothers, I’d help them hide the bodies, etc. but I don’t think I could sit back and watch them gaslight and manipulate their ex that they assaulted.

One of my biggest and, admittedly random, pet peeves in books and movies is when siblings have names with vastly different vibes. Case in point Atlas … and Josh. Like WTF.

Having another visceral reaction, this time in response to the words “I skipped right over Gen X and into Boomer territory. I’m a Boomer millennial. A boollennial”.

Can say with certainty that I’m way more invested in Atlas reuniting with a brother he never even knew he had than reuniting with Lily and I truly do feel about that.

Just realised that I’m now on page 143 and Emerson has been asleep the entire time. Jealous.

It always feels kind of wierd to me when sexy scenes in books include breastmilk. I really don’t need that. Nobody needs that.

I got wrapped up in reading. I’ve made it to page 240. A lot of stuff went down. Ryle continues to be an arsehole. Emerson continues to live her best unbothered life making the most of not understanding the drama going on around her. Atlas most definitely has a savior compelx.

Lily gives me Clary from The Mortal Instruments vibes and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s just the red hair and I’m projecting.

Still getting weird vibes from Alyssa. I just dont think she can be trusted to fully be on Lily’s side.

Josh and Theo are a dynamic duo. I love them both. I still it’s wierd that Theo doubles as Atlas’s therapist but he’s a legend all the same. You will not catch me saying that I want a spin-off of a Colleen Hoover book but if there was the opportunity to read more content featuring these two, I probably would take it. Josh telling Theo he know’s he’s gay simply by basically saying “the type of manga a person reads is very revealing” literally made me laugh out lod.

Soooooooo …. I read the entire thing :/ Wasn’t expecting to read this entire book in just a couple of hours. Pretty sure everybody else on my floor, those who haven’t left early for Thanksgiving break, are out partying but here I am. No regrets honestly.

Once again, I am conflicted on my feelings. Josh and Theo were the highlights of this novel for me. If it was just about how much I loved them, this book would be a 5/5. Also shout out to Emerson. That girl slept though the entire story and I resepct that.

Beside these things though, I liked Lily and Atlas’s individual storylines – her dealing with the fallout of her divorce and him finding out he has a younger brother he knew nothing about – but I’m still not totally obsessed with them as a couple as I thought I would be. Towards the end I did start to think they were cute a little more, but it took longer than I would have liked to feel that.

I also think this book does a good job at showing the side of an abusive relationship after the relationship has ended. Just because you separate doesn’t mean you’re free from them and it’s a cycle that you constantly have to fight to break which really wears a person down. You can say what you want about this book but I do think it does highlight these different aspects well and acts as a sort of supportive voice for a reader who might be going through a similair situation – if that makes sense.

But yeah, those were my thoughts – literally every single thought that passed through my brain while reading this book. I’d be super interested in hearing what you guys thought about this book. Please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading 🙂

Elli xx

2 thoughts on “My thoughts while reading It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover”

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