Before It Ends with Us, it started with Atlas. Colleen Hoover tells fan favorite Atlas’s side of the story and shares what comes next in this long-anticipated sequel to the “glorious and touching” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestseller It Ends with Us.

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author).


“It is my wish for you to be my fish”

It Ends with Us (IEWU) first read: 5 stars

It Ends with Us second read: 6 stars

It Starts with Us (ISWU) : 4 stars

Did I like this book? Yes I did.

Did I need closure at the end of It Ends with Us? Yes I did.

Was Atlas Corrigan perfect in this book? Yes he was.


But it lacked the intensity of It Ends with Us. But Ryle was much more black and white (or rather all black) than the nuances Colleen Hoover gave him in IEWU. And that disappointed me a little.

Because my recent second read of IEWU made me see him much more nuanced than the first time (even if what he did is very wrong, let’s not argue about it) and it skyrocketed my admiration for Colleen Hoover in writing such a complex, nuanced and rich book.

Yet I understand that it was difficult to write a sequel as intense as the first book as the purpose of said sequel was to give us (the fans) our HEA and our closure.

So, is that goal reached? Certainly and beautifully.

“You can stop swimming now, Lily. We have finally reached the shore”

ISWU starts right where IEWU left us and is all about Atlas and Lily’s second chance at happiness. Their moment is finally here. And it won’t be “just” a sappy sweet romance as Colleen Hoover threw surprises in the narrative.

Surprises that will certainly show us how “Considerate” should be Atlas’s middle name.

Atlas is a protector and a care giver.

He wears his heart on his sleeve and knowing in even more details what he went through as a kid had me baffled and admirative at how he still grew up into a kind, loyal and generous man.

He could have been selfish and he could have turned Lily against Ryle. Yet, even when he supported Lily and barely avoided punching Ryle in the face, he still was considerate to Ryle too.

“I’m convinced you’re the only man on the planet who could get punched and then offer the aggressor advice.”

And he was considerate to another person from his past who, I am not ashamed to admit, I would have thrown under a bus and made sure the driver crushed her a second time…

Atlas is not only sexy and talented but he is practically a saint. And one of the best book boyfriends.

We alternate point of view between Atlas (we learn a lot about his past) and Lily’s.

Lily is a mother now and that will give her the strength to navigate her divorce with Ryle, despite his manipulation to put the blame on her.

She is stronger but I truly appreciated Colleen Hoover for writing about how leaving someone abusive was so hard. And staying away is so difficult that if you don’t have a great support system, people on your side, you fall back into their clutch. This was really eye opening and should avoid that lots of people cast a judgement on abused women going back to their abuser. Because that’s not easy to stay away.

“My choice helped me realize that sometimes the hardest decisions a person can make will most likely lead to the best outcomes.”

All in all, this was the perfect second chance that Lily and Atlas deserved.

Thanks for reading.


Similar Posts

Let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. In some ways I was surprised that CoHo wrote this book because I feel like it’s bound to disappoint readers who loved IEWU. I am tempering my expectations, but even if it doesn’t have the intensity of IEWU, I’m fine with that. I just want more of Lily’s story (and Atlas).

  2. Sometimes I find authors should not write sequels when the first one was amazing (I’m thinking of Me Before You) so I was hesitant about this but I believe you just convinced me it is still worth reading, even if it’s not as amazing as the first. Putting it on my list!