Does it end with us?


Angel Harper

Ryle Kincaid and Lily Bloom from It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Ryle is kissing Lily on the forehead, while she has a look of disdain.

Lily Blossom Bloom was the name of the protagonist. The moment I read that name, I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy this book.

“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover is a novel that follows Lily Bloom as she balances her new flower shop, her relationship with a neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid and the return of her first love, Atlas Corrigan.

I first heard of it on TikTok, but then I saw the book on Youtube, and at school and in the store. At some point I got so annoyed seeing it that I decided to purchase it, just to see what all the hype was about.

Reviews of the book were conflicting. Some said it was a “romantic masterpiece with a heartbreaking plot twist.’’ But others claim that the book is an “incredibly predictable, highly overrated book with uninteresting characters.” As I started to read, I sadly found myself agreeing with the latter.

Overall I think the book was not worth the hype. It wasn’t show-stopping. It wasn’t horrendous. The plot was interesting, and I did like some of the characters. However, Hoover’s writing style held the book back and stifled my enjoyment.

Even though I liked some of the characters, namely Marshall and Lily’s mom, everyone else was either forgettable or unlikeable.

Ryle Kincaid, one of Lily’s love interests, was the most interesting character. However, I do have a problem with certain aspects of how his character was portrayed, which I believe explains how he is perceived.

When I looked online, I was bewildered with how many people loved Ryle and hoped he would get back together with Lily. They just blatantly ignored his abusive and manipulative behavior toward her.

Ryle is written as a sympathetic character who can’t control his anger. This is often used to excuse his abuse towards Lily.

He purposely pushed her down the stairs and attempted to sexually assault her. But to his fans online, he is just a traumatized man who needs help. While that is true, it does not justify his behavior.

This is where the main problem lies: people romanticize Ryle’s behavior.

They claim that he was the victim in the relationship. So naturally, I started to wonder, why? Why do people believe that Ryle and Lily’s relationship wasn’t abusive?

Well, the answer is the way couples are portrayed in media. In TV shows, movies, books etc, abuse has been depicted romantically.

The media plays a crucial role in shaping and reflecting social life. When people view intimate partner violence (IPV) as charming and swoonworthy, they perceive this behavior as normal and desirable.

This is a problem because the likelihood of IPV occurring may increase because of beliefs about romance developed through media. The target audience of this media is young girls and women, and this can harm this demographic in particular.

Common misconceptions about intimate relationships among women include: endorsement of the ideology of romanticism, highly valuing romantic relationships and  the belief that jealousy is good.

The endorsement of the ideology of romanticism is promoting the feeling of romanticizing aspects of your life. This is usually done when the reality is less than ideal. Women are taught to covet a romantic relationship so much that they are often blind to their partner’s toxicity.

Young girls frequently view romantic relationships as a top priority. This is a problem because this causes them to neglect other forms of relationships and even responsibilities in favor of a romantic relationship.

Despite my criticisms, I do like the message Hoover was trying to convey about breaking the cycle of abuse and violence. I wish that Hoover would’ve given more nuance to it and taken more time to explore the characters. The book felt a bit rushed at times and ended up doing the opposite of what it set out to do.

“It Ends With Us” unintentionally contributes to media that normalize abusive behavior and relationships.

But what now?

With this knowledge and new perspective, people should be more aware of what type of media they are consuming. Avoid TV shows and books that depict abuse in a romantic light, and think more critically about the media you consume.