It Starts With Us doesn’t deliver the drama we expect

The shoe never drops in Colleen Hoover’s new novel

The novel delivers what fans asked for: a happy love story.

After months of anticipation and years of wondering how Lily and Atlas end up together after the end of Colleen Hoover’s hit novel, It Ends With Us, the sequel It Starts With Us has finally been released to answer all our questions.

It Starts With Us came out on Oct. 18. and tells the story of how Lily and Atlas navigate their relationship after Lily’s divorce with Ryle and the birth of her daughter.

We all knew Atlas and Lily’s relationship was inevitable; it was only a matter of how Hoover would illustrate their journey. What obstacles would come their way? Does Atlas have a dark and gloomy past? Will Ryle become a prominent threat to their relationship?

With these questions in mind—plus knowing Ryle and Lily’s past and how Ryle feels about Atlas—there were many opportunities for conflict, a plot twist, or some sort of drama. After all, it is a Colleen Hoover book.

As I read, I wondered when the other shoe would drop. I waited for that moment when I’d have to put the book down, take a deep breath, and get ready to soak up all the drama.

But as soon as I started to feel it building, the proposed conflict was resolved or worked through in a reasonable and quick way. If you’re looking for a book lacking the dramatic conflict you’d usually find in a CoHo book, then this might just be another one to add to your favourites.

What makes a book memorable is its emotional pull—on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments and plot lines that have you so invested you forget you’re reading a fictional story. Colleen Hoover’s other novels—like Regretting You and Maybe Someday—are full of those moments.

This book is nothing like that.

There’s never a ‘gasp’ moment, nor any drama that isn’t swiftly resolved. Everyone knew Atlas and Lily were going to end up together, but that’s all we got: them, together.

This isn't to say this is a bad book. Colleen Hoover is a successful writer for a reason. The book is just a very easy and straightforward read. It’s also exactly what the fans asked for: a continuation of Atlas and Lily’s love story.

For readers who love a good fictional boyfriend, Atlas was clearly written by a woman—the dream guy with characteristics most people pine for. He delivers the I’ll-wait-forever-for-you character trope that connects with hopeless romantic readers. So, for those who are here for that, this book will be the be-all and end-all.

On top of this, we get a few glimpses back into the past, with Lily’s journals and memories serving as great reminders of why the two are so perfect together. Plus, I did enjoy reading more about Atlas, his story, and how he got to where he is. It was nice to recall how they met, what they shared, and why they fell in love and formed such a special bond.

But for me, that’s all this was: nice.

It Ends With Us had more substance than its sequel, but if you enjoyed that read, I’m sure you’ll feel somewhat similarly about this one.

Lily and Atlas have a sweet journey, despite any minor conflict they have to overcome. But if you’re pining for more twists and turns paired with a romantic hero, Colleen Hoover has plenty of other novels for you to choose from.

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