CW: *This book contains mentions of child abandonment, domestic abuse recounted and homelessness recounted*
Colleen Hoover is back again with yet another fantastic publication from the author of one of the best-selling franchises.
It Starts With Us is a sequel to the beloved It Ends With Us. We continue the journey of Atlas and Lily who have survived against all odds to be reunited again.
When I first read the prequel to this novel, I was in awe of the way in which the lead characters were described. Both of them, still young, had faced endless struggles against abuse.
In the next part, we see how Lily had moved on from her traumatic past with her father and her husband Ryle. Now she navigates her life as a single mother with her daughter, Emerson.
It isn’t until one morning that she bumps into her first love, Atlas and all the emotions are flooded back to her. Now she must decide whether to give love another chance or to stay away due to her past experiences.
This book has been one of the most awaited sequels to ever be written. Even the author wrote it as a gift to her readers.
Colleen Hoover writes, on the first page of the book: “This novel was written as a thank-you for the tremendous support.”
What impresses me the most about the plot of this book is that it isn’t just limited to the main characters. We also get an insight on Atlas’s abusive mother and how she became the kind of parent that she was.
A new character was also introduced in this book, much to the readers’ surprise. Atlas discovers he has a teenage brother Josh from her mother’s old boyfriend. Not only he was treated the same, abusive way that Atlas was, but he also fled from home and took shelter at Atlas’s restaurant.
This book explores the journey from overcoming a cruel past and developing into a better, brighter future. Both Atlas and Lily now have successful careers as they both move in their respective directions whilst keeping close contact.
The way the author has emphasized the significance of healing is very impressive. Atlas never forced Lily to be in a relationship with him but instead took his time with her and let her grow on her own.
This book is definitely worth the hype and is something people should read when they want to feel motivated about either a failed relationship with a partner or a parent.
Another interesting part of the book was the bond between Atlas and his brother. Though Atlas had only just come to know about him, he took him in and cherished him like a real brother. This has been a new thing for me since I don’t usually come across step-sibling relationships that are positive.
The way Lily is also trying to be civil with her abusive ex-husband and let their daughter have joint custody is really something that needs to be highlighted in today’s generation. Parents play an important growth in a child’s upbringing and having both parents be with them can enhance a strong personality trait.
Lily also has tremendous support from Ryle’s sister and her best friend Alyssa. Alyssa, being Ryle’s sister, still chose to side with Lily, since she was the victim.
Lily and Atlas decided to give love another shot and bring back the feelings that were once in full bloom.
This book doesn’t focus on cliche romance but instead focuses on all the little steps one has to take that lead up to that relationship. In all honesty, it has to be one of the best novels I’ve read in 2022.
It Starts With Us is more than a book. It is an experience that one should take at least once in their lifetime.