Colleen Hoover publishes ‘It Starts With Us’, the long-awaited sequel to the popular, best-selling novel ‘It Ends With Us’ – The Arbiter

*Spoiler alert! “It ends with us”

Colleen Hoover’s bestselling book “It Ends With Us” became a global hit and attracted a lot of attention in the literary community.

Fans of the novel longed for a sequel, and six years after the first edition in 2016, Hoover did so with her new book, It Begins With Us. The first book in the duo regained popularity during the summer of 2021 and once again became a bestseller, introducing a new fan base of readers eager to continue the story.

The long-awaited sequel, “It Begins With Us,” was released on October 18th, featuring the dual viewpoints of Lily, a beloved main character, and Atlas, a fan favorite whose viewpoint is now written for readers to enjoy for the first time. time.

At first I was a bit disappointed and confused by the lack of plot or surprising events in the book until I realized that this sequel has a different goal: to provide a happy ending.

In her author’s note at the beginning of “It Begins With Us,” Hoover writes: “I wanted to provide a much easier experience. Lily and Atlas deserve it. I hope you enjoy their journey.”

I was delighted when I first picked up the book to start reading and found out that the very first chapter begins with Atlas’ point of view.

“It Starts With Us” begins right where the epilogue “It Ends With Us” ends with Atlas running into Lily on the street.

Hoover wastes no time, allowing Atlas and Lily to bond just as they had hoped since they were children.

“I’m thankful for Atlas because I know he’s the standard I hold people to now. He’s the standard I should have held Ryle to from the beginning,” Lily said.

In the first book, “It Ends With Us,” Hoover told the heartbreaking story of the very realistic domestic violence relationship between Lily and Ryle and the mental struggle Lily went through to finally leave the abusive relationship.

The sequel further touches on the theme of domestic violence, with Lily struggling to find the balance of sharing custody of her daughter, Emerson, with her abusive ex-husband as she believes the court system will not help her without proof of abuse by her husband, a surgeon with a clean criminal record.

it starts with us by Colleen Hoover
[Photo of Colleen Hoover’s “It Starts With Us.”]
Photo courtesy of @ttravel.with_a_book on Instagram

Lily struggles to stay strong in her separation and tries to help her daughter build a relationship with her father in a way that keeps Emerson safe.

“In our marriage, a few scary incidents covered up so many good ones, but now that our marriage is over, the blanket has been lifted and all I’m left with are the worst parts of it,” Lily said.

Lily credits her ability to stay strong in her decisions after the abuse to her support system, which consists of close friends and family who have stood by her every step of the way.

In his efforts to illustrate the real situation of domestic violence, Hoover addresses the problem that many victims of abuse do not have this type of support.

“How do people leave these cycles when they don’t have the resources that I had or the support of my friends and family? How can I possibly stay strong enough every second of the day? I feel like it only takes one weak and uncertain moment in the presence of your ex to convince you that you’ve made the wrong decision,” Lily said.

In light of receiving Atlas’s point of view, Hoover dives into his life situation as his past family problems surface and family members he has cut ties with, and even one he had no idea existed, re-enter his life.

Throughout the book, readers witness the progression of Lily and Atlas’ relationship as they face various problems in their lives, although this time it’s heartwarming to see them go through it all together.

“And if we somehow had fun together at such a low point in our lives, I wonder what we might be like at our peak,” Lily said, thinking about her relationship with Atlas.

One of the aspects I liked about the first book, “It Ends With Us”, was the meaning of the title, used as the last line of the book. Lily says through tears as she holds her newborn daughter, “It stops here with you and me. It ends with us”, after she asks her husband for a divorce.

Hoover deals with cycles of abuse, and the meaning behind the title represents the end of the cycle of abuse in Lily’s life that began with her mother, continues with her, and that she wanted to ensure ended with her daughter.

I was glad to learn the deeper meaning of the title sequel. Although Atlas played a big role in the beginning of Lily’s life, a new life begins again with Atlas and Lily in the sequel, as they start a family of their own.

I won’t spoil a new character that touches on how the title ties into the story, but revealing the context for its deeper meaning adds even more to the happy ending that readers will fall in love with.

“We’ll be on our brand new, tiny family tree – one that starts with us.”

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