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The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

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March 26, 2024
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Making the ugly too pretty?

The+romance+novel+section%2C+including+It+Ends+With+Us%2C+is+one+of+the+most+popular+at+Barnes+and+Noble+stores
The romance novel section, including It Ends With Us, is one of the most popular at Barnes and Noble stores

     Books have been a big part of people’s lives for a very long time, but they have gained popularity in the last few years. In quarantine, people ran out of things to do, so picking up a new, trendy book was the chosen occupation of time. One book in particular took the world by storm. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover was America’s number-one bestseller for months. This book is for very mature audiences and includes intense topics.  In January of 2022, everyone was reading this story since it was the best seller. This book was top-rated through BookTok, a series of videos and trends on TikTok related to books. It was released in 2016 but didn’t become as popular until the platform made it big. On BookTok now however, many people have strong opinions on this novel and believe it isn’t such a great story and has affected many negatively.

     It Ends With Us focuses on a young girl named Lily Bloom in Boston. The book is entirely focused on her life, switching between flashbacks of her childhood and her present-day life. We learn that she has struggled in her youth with her family and past relationships. Early in the book, we meet a man named Ryle Kincaid. He is a grumpy, stressed man whose busy life is affecting him. He is a prominent surgeon in Boston and has a very wealthy family. Lily and Ryle meet, and they fall in love with each other quickly. However, as the book progresses, we learn much more about their history, and Ryle’s actual self shows. Another essential character comes into the story and affects everything. That character is Atlas Corrigan, who is Lily’s first ever love. They went through a lot together in their teenage years and truly loved each other in difficult circumstances. Lily keeps her old journals from when she was involved with Atlas and reflects on them at certain times in the story. This shows readers how it affected her in the past, and continues to to this day. 

     Domestic abuse is a behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Hundreds of books focus on this topic, whether they are a true story from the author writing it or a fictional story based on actual events. It Ends With Us is marked as a domestic abuse story with romance involved. Many triggering scenes have such a natural feel, making it unsettling. One scene that touched many readers in the story was when the main character, Lily, was pushed down a flight of stairs by her husband, Ryle, after an argument. As she confronts him about it when she wakes up, he denies the accusations and gaslights Lily into thinking it was not him when it actually was. This particular scene is highly upsetting, and it shows how terrible Ryle was to Lily and that this book was highly focused on abuse in their relationship. The domestic abuse shown in this story is extremely noticeable, and this is just one of many examples. 

     As a person who has read this trendy novel, I think this book has many themes and strong points. Many younger people are reading and sharing this book online, though it’s not being shown correctly. There are many traumatic and abusive scenes in this book that are extremely real and terrifying. Readers skip over these parts in the book and completely ignore its purpose. On TikTok, many readers and fans of the novel share their opinions on how it affected them and their interpretation of the storyline.

Many understand that this isn’t just another romance novel following a basic plot; this is a real-life story that must be taken seriously.

Hoover wrote this book about her mother and the struggles she went through with her husband. She tells this story through the eyes of a domestic abuse survivor. Readers share how they believe Hoover romanticizes the abuse factor of It Ends With Us. I think that the author describes the story very clearly and personally without making domestic abuse sound like an acceptable thing. Domestic abuse is a challenging topic to write and talk about, especially if one has gone through it in their personal life. 

     Although there is a large group of people who feel negatively about this book and its topics, there are many who enjoy this book and realize that the abuse is not romanticized. It’s performed excellently by giving the novel a natural feeling. The main character in the book went through so much, and it’s clearly shown in this story without it being glossed over in a way showing that abuse is not actual. I think that BookTok can be toxic, and not everyone understands topics in books similar to It Ends With Us. Thus, I do not believe Colleen Hoover romanticizes abuse in this novel.

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Claire Mallon
Claire Mallon, Staff Writer

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