"My heart? Go ahead, Colleen break it into a million pieces! My sanity? Sure, take that too!"
This is an exact quote of mine after finishing this book (though, personally, I think it can apply to all Colleen Hoover books).
This story was enlightening, earth-shattering and so very important for so very many reasons. I don't want to go too far into depth about what this book is about because I think it's best to go in blind as you get to experience all of the.... painful things as a surprise. What I will tell you is that it is extremely hard-hitting and we follow a very dynamic set of characters.
I can't find the words to do this story justice but I do know that everyone has to pick up this beauty of a book. You'll thank me later.
SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD
This book started out a lot happier than the end and it went a lot darker than I was expecting- meaning it hit me right in the feels when I wasn't expecting it- meaning it hurt even more than usual.
I loved how Ryle and Lily met. It was cute, flirty and in that moment, I fell in love with Ryle. Hard. Which, again, made everything more painful in the long run.
Lily's eulogy was epic- savage, yes- but completely epic nonetheless. It established an instant like towards her and how sassy, stubborn and fierce she was.
On the night of their meeting, we introduced the concept of a naked truth and I just love that.The idea is so necessary in today's society and this premise became so important in their relationship and their future- it threaded through the book beautifully.
When first reading Ryle's character in this opening sequence, I related to him so much. I'm very career orientated and often wonder whether I'm too selfish and success-orientated to have kids. It was just nice to see that idea (worry?) put down on paper.
We leave them with a thorough disappointment but as soon as we saw Alyssa, I knew she was his sister. I absolutely loved Alyssa- she was loyal, funny and she was such a true friend that it made me want to give a her a massive hug. Her presence was so important for Lily- she was a rock for Lily and really helped her through everything.
I was so proud of Lily when she opened her flower shop. It was so sweet to see her live her dream and take risks for what she wanted.
Ryle was so freaking smooth in the first half of this book, which ultimately made it harder for me in the end. When Ryle sent her the flowers saying 'make it stop' and the way he actually begged her for sex? Colleen Hoover knows exactly how to write a swoon-worthy guy for the purpose of making her readers' hearts break.
I loved it when Alyssa and Marshall got pregnant! Considering that they were struggling to have a child, I was so super happy for them. Questionable name choice, though...
A little way into the book, we delve into old diary entries (or letters to Ellen) centring around this new Atlas guy that was previously mentioned in a conversation with Ryle. I wasn't a massive fan of these chapters primarily because I loved Ryle at the time.
As we got to know Atlas and his past with Lily, I began to like him more but..... I was still on the Ryle train!
As soon as she mentioned the heart that Atlas gave her, my brain slammed two wires together and I knew... I just knew that it was the tattoo that she had. And also, it was on her collarbone at the place Atlas liked to kiss! That was all kinds of adorable.
I still loved Ryle at this point. Them getting married was a bit quick in my opinion but I loved their flirty relationship and I was completely and utterly aboard this ship.
We have the first accidental push from Ryle and that's when the book suddenly shifts tone because we can see where this is suddenly going... how history is on repeat. And it's terrifying!
When Ryle promised that he'd never hurt her again it was... easy to believe him! I genuinely don't think he meant to do it- it wasn't vicious at all- but it's just the mistakes that change everything.
When Atlas came back into the picture- as a chef- I was a bit annoyed because I was team Ryle and I didn't want to sway over to another side... but you don't always get what you wish for.
And even when Atlas confronted Lily about turning into her mother, I was still in denial! I agreed with Lily in thinking that he'd never do it again and... it must have killed Atlas to see Lily going through that after everything that happened with her mum and dad.
I began to ship both couples at this moment but, Ryle more? I honestly think that it's because Ryle was more fun and flirty- it was much easier to fall in love with him.
But then the hitting happened again, and the dread that filled me when it happened was so piercing and bruising to my soul. I've never experienced something like that before.
Colleen makes you so easily fall in love with Ryle- cool confident sexy Ryle- and then has him make mistakes like many men (and women) do out there. And it's scary to see how easily you could be in that situation- complete trust and love with someone until they hurt you. Ryle'd pushed her twice now. I know she loves him but... she needs to leave him. He can't just keep saying sorry. It's hard for the reader because it feels like you're in this situation. And that makes it so hard but I know what I'd have to do but it breaks my heart when he's apologising for it.
I felt so torn; I had no idea whether I would give Ryle a second chance if I was in this situation. We so often think, 'oh, they're being abused- why don't they just leave?' but this truly highlighted how it's not that simple in the slightest. It really opens your eyes to the real reasons as to why 85% turn back to abusive situations- that's an insane percentage! They, like Lily, can say one more time and forgive. It would be easy to leave when they're mad but when they're genuinely apologetic and sincere in their regret? It's harder and it can happen to anyone... falling in love with a seemingly perfect person and ending up in an abusive relationship. It's scary.
I understand that Ryle had a traumatic childhood but...I didn't know whether to forgive him. It was sweet when he decided to give up his career to stay in Boston and bought that apartment but.... I wasn't sure I entirely trusted him. There was a little niggle at the back of brain telling me that he'd just do it again.
I'm glad I'm not Lily because... I don't know what I'd do. I'd like to say that I'd be strong enough to leave but... it's hard! I completely understand the want to fight for your marriage to work but... where do you draw that line?
I knew he'd find her journal and find out about the tattoo!! And god, as soon as he hurt her.... I was done.
I was so freaking happy when she sneakily left Ryle in bed and, of course, she was going to go straight to Atlas' side. It was sweet when he took her to the hospital but that bombshell, though!!
When we find out that she's pregnant... I wanted to cry. It was horrific and I kind of felt physically sick. Just when I thought my heart couldn't withstand anymore heartache!
It was nice that Lily had a bit of time to recuperate with Atlas. I was so mad at Ryle- freaking coward just flying off to England when he's gone too far.
I love how Lily played poker with Atlas' friends and let it slip that Atlas had made up that girlfriend he kept talking about!! I loved that because as soon as Atlas had said that, I'd literally scoffed and knew he was making it up.
It was so adorable when Atlas was all 'you should fall in love with me' and then leaving dramatically. At that point, I had no idea what Lily was going to do and what she'd tell Ryle.
I really appreciated Issa in this section of the book- more so than ever before. Lily completely needed that scene when she confessed what Ryle had done. Issa is such a supportive friend and is a rock for Lily to lean on despite it being her brother (the guy that they'd named their kid after!) that's done something horrible. I loved Lily and Issa's relationship and it made me want too cry all the friendship and happy tears!
It was also very hard to see Lily talking to her mum about the situation. It was such a close subject for her mother and watching them go through it together once more was heart-breaking.
And then...... we have the scene that ultimately shattered my heart into a million pieces.
When Lily had given birth to her beautiful daughter and Ryle was so f-ing thankful and genuinely in awe of his daughter.... I really thought Lily would take him back. I didn't want her to but... I just had a niggling feeling that she'd give it a go.
But what came next physically broke me. Their daughter's birth will forever be tainted because of that horrific break up!! I was sobbing at that point, literally too broken in tears. Watching Lily say to Ryle 'what would you do if you daughter came to you crying, saying that her husband had beaten her' and Ryle responding that he'd beg her to leave him.... it was too much for my heart to deal with.
However, I loved the fact that the line 'it ends with us' referenced Lily and her daughter and not just a romantic love- it was a beautiful highlight of the family bond.
I loved that we saw an eleven months later span of Lily's life. Because it made it so clear that divorcing Ryle was the best choice and it was nice to see that everyone- including Ryle- was happy.
I also loved Lily seeing Atlas and finally being ready! I really appreciate that it took a while for them to get together- that it wasn't a situation where, as Lily broke up with Ryle, she immediately went to Atlas' side. It's nice to know that she took the time to focus on herself and her daughter- I truly respected that.
This was such an insightful, poignant read and I can already tell that I'll re-read it many times in the future (no doubt to give me more heart-ache than I need in my life but, nevertheless).
Thanks for making it through this giant review! Feel free to comment your thoughts! Stay amazing!