It Starts With Us – Picking Up Where It Ends With Us Ended

It Starts With Us Book Cover

It Starts With Us – Picking Up Where It Ends With Us Ended

It Starts With Us Book Cover“It Starts With Us” by Colleen Hoover is a compelling sequel to “It Ends With Us,” offering a nuanced exploration of love, relationships, and healing in the aftermath of domestic violence. This 352-page novel, published by Atria, continues the story of Lily Bloom, a single mother navigating the complexities of life after her divorce from her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid​​.

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The story picks up with Lily managing her flower shop and caring for her daughter, Emerson. As fate would have it, Lily runs into her first love, Atlas Corrigan, rekindling old feelings and presenting new challenges. The plot of “It Starts With Us” revolves around Lily’s hesitation and fears in starting a new relationship with Atlas, especially given her responsibilities as a single parent and concerns about Ryle’s anger issues. Despite these fears, Lily and Atlas’s relationship grows, showcasing Hoover’s skill in developing their romance in a healthy and mature manner, contrasting significantly with Lily’s past toxic relationship with Ryle​​.

Character development is a strong suit in this novel. Lily’s journey from a young girl seeking closure to a strong, independent woman and a loving mother is remarkable. Atlas emerges as a paragon of the ideal male character in fiction, embodying qualities like thoughtfulness, compassion, and progressive attitudes. The book also introduces other significant characters like Josh, Atlas’s brother, and Allysa, Ryle’s sister, who add depth and dimension to the narrative​​.

The novel handles dark themes such as depression, abuse, and PTSD with sensitivity. Hoover skillfully balances these with the romance and personal growth of the characters, avoiding overly dramatic plot twists yet maintaining an engaging pace throughout the story​​.

What sets “It Starts With Us” apart is its realistic portrayal of the intricacies of relationships. It doesn’t shy away from showing the hard work required to maintain love and the imperfections inherent in all relationships. The novel also delves into themes of hate and empathy, challenging the reader’s perceptions of right and wrong by depicting complex characters who are both victims and enablers in their situations. This nuanced portrayal emphasizes that there is no absolute antagonist in life, as everyone has their struggles and reasons for their actions

Main Characters:

  • Lily Bloom: A resilient and compassionate character, Lily embodies the strength of a survivor. Her journey from a victim of domestic abuse to a confident, independent woman highlights her profound personal growth.
  • Atlas Corrigan: Atlas, marked by a troubled past, shows remarkable growth and empathy. His dedication to Lily and her happiness, even in the face of personal sacrifice, defines his character.
  • Ryle Kincaid: Lily’s ex-husband, Ryle, is a complex character struggling with his own demons. His journey is a nuanced portrayal of redemption and the struggle to overcome deeply ingrained patterns of behavior.


In-Depth Analysis


  1. Emotional Depth: Hoover skillfully captures the emotional complexities of her characters, making them relatable and authentic.
  2. Realistic Portrayal of Relationships: The novel excels in depicting the nuances of rebuilding a relationship on the foundations of past traumas.
  3. Character Development: Both Lily and Atlas show significant personal growth, making their journey compelling.


  1. Predictability: Some plot elements may feel predictable to seasoned readers of Hoover’s work.
  2. Intensity of Themes: The heavy focus on themes of abuse and trauma might be overwhelming for some readers.

Uniqueness: The novel’s realistic approach to sensitive issues like domestic abuse and the challenges of starting over in life sets it apart.

Literary Devices:

  1. Dual Perspectives: The use of dual narratives from Lily and Atlas provides a well-rounded view of their relationship.
  2. Flashbacks: These are effectively used to reveal the protagonists’ past and deepen the reader’s understanding of their motivations.

Relation to Broader Issues: The book touches on significant societal issues such as domestic abuse, the complexities of divorce, and the stigma associated with starting over, making it relevant and thought-provoking.


Potential Audience: Fans of romance and contemporary fiction, particularly those interested in realistic portrayals of complex relationships and personal growth.

Comparisons: The novel can be compared to “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, as both explore intricate human relationships and emotional growth.

Final Recommendations: “It Starts with Us” is a must-read for those who appreciate a deep, emotionally driven narrative that doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life.


Thematic Analysis

The central themes of the book include:

  • Resilience in the Face of Adversity: The characters’ ability to overcome their past and build a new future.
  • The Complexity of Human Relationships: Exploring the dynamics between characters as they navigate forgiveness, love, and trust.


Stylistic Elements

Colleen Hoover’s writing style is engaging and emotive, drawing readers into the story with vivid descriptions and realistic dialogue.

Comparisons to Other Works

This novel, as a sequel to “It Ends with Us,” deepens the exploration of the themes introduced in the first book, offering a more hopeful perspective.


Bibliographic Info

The bibliographic information for “It Starts with Us” by Colleen Hoover is as follows:

  • Author: Colleen Hoover
  • Title: It Starts with Us: A Novel
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication Date: October 18, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781668001226
  • Series: It Ends with Us, #2
  • Page Count: 336 pages


Books in the Series

It Ends With Us
It Starts With Us

Some FAQ Questions and Answers

  1. Question: What are the main themes explored in “It Starts with Us”? Answer: Resilience in the face of adversity and the complexity of human relationships.
  2. Question: How does Colleen Hoover use the characters of Lily and Atlas to convey the novel’s message? Answer: Through their personal growth and the evolution of their relationship, Hoover illustrates the themes of healing and starting anew.
  3. Question: What makes “It Starts with Us” different from other contemporary romance novels? Answer: Its realistic portrayal of sensitive issues like domestic abuse and the depth of character development.

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It Starts With Us
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