‘It Starts With Us’ is a masterful sequel

The book navigates nuance well as it builds on ‘It Ends With Us’


Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Colleen Hoover’s new novel navigates themes of abuse and healing.

Prarthna Batra, Staff Writer

Note: This review contains spoilers about “It Starts With Us” 

If you like to spend your free time curled up with a good book, watch BookTok frequently or simply have been on social media in the past two years, there is no way you haven’t heard of the BookTok queen Colleen Hoover. Her books, “Verity”, “Ugly Love” and No.1 New York Times Best Seller “It Ends With Us” have been on virtually everyone’s Goodreads account and have taken the internet by storm. The novel’s immense popularity built great anticipation for Hoover’s new release and the sequel, “It Starts With Us”. The sequel was published on Oct. 18, 2022, and has already topped the New York Times Best Seller list and Amazon Charts with rave reviews.

“It Ends With Us” is a twisted story of love and abuse. Lily Bloom and Atlas Corrigan parted ways as teenagers because of complicated circumstances, but Corrigan has always held a special place in Bloom’s heart. Bloom begins a relationship with Ryle Kincaid that soon becomes complicated due to the latter’s heavy temper — which is often directed at Bloom. The novel ends with Corrigan, now mother to Kincaid’s child, reflecting on her first love.  

READ: ‘It Ends With Us’ captivates readers

“It Starts With Us” picks up the plot almost a year after the last book ends. It includes Corrigan’s point of view, which many readers had long awaited. Written over 37 chapters, the story of Bloom and Corrigan is a story of hope, fate and how their teenage dreams become a reality. It goes against the typical style of writing that is expected from Hoover — it isn’t full of crazy plot twists and storylines that leave you shocked and in utter disbelief. This story is more about comfort, simplicity and finally finding your peace.

Because Bloom had witnessed her parents’ abusive relationship while growing up, she didn’t want to divorce Kincaid and have her daughter, Emerson Kincaid, go through the same thing. This was a brave and powerful sentiment, but it wasn’t the end of Bloom’s struggles. Healing from being a victim of domestic abuse is hard, painful and definitely not linear. “It Starts With Us” explores the comfort and warmth of a healthy relationship between Bloom and Corrigan but also confronts the harsh reality of what it is like to recover from an abusive relationship. 

Even in a new relationship, the ghost of abuse still haunts Bloom. Some readers might have been disappointed because they were expecting a fully happy ending, but that isn’t always how healing works. Many victims of domestic abuse say that it is a long, imperfect journey and that it will continue to impact your life in many different and unexpected ways. 

Apart from exploring the complexities of moving on from an abusive relationship and the healing that follows, Hoover pleases her readers with the happy ending they were craving, and more importantly, the happy ending that Bloom and Corrigan deserve. The sequel leaves readers with the message that negative experiences don’t define who we are or the paths of our lives. It gives us hope that we will all find our happiness and light again.

If you enjoyed reading “It Ends With Us”, you absolutely will enjoy the sequel “It Starts With Us”. It completes the incomplete story of Bloom and gives readers and the characters involved the happy ending they deserve while exploring difficult and complicated subjects of abuse, domestic violence and assault. 

Happy Reading!