This was the first time I’ve ever read a Colleen Hoover novel to completion. I’ve started a few, but the quality of the writing has always deterred me within a few pages. I was attracted to this because of the issues tackled, such as abuse, domestic violence etc. Plus, when new-adult is well done I love it and I know that Colleen Hoover is one of new-adult’s most prolific authors.
When I first started this I wasn’t wholly impressed, I mean, it opened on a rooftop meeting between Lily and Ryle, the books leading characters. I immediately thought, oh no, another clique ridden book by Ms Hoover, but regardless of this and the fact that the male lead had a strange name (a troupe in new-adult that drives me mad) I continued and pretty soon I loved it.
The book started out in a linear progression, but soon enough it diverged into what is typical of a lot of new-adult books, chapters narrated in the past. In present day Lilly was opening a flower shop and starting a relationship with Ryle, while in the past she was filling her journal with letters written to Ellen DeGeneres whose show she watched religiously. Through these journal entries, letters, whatever you want to call them, we find out about her abusive father who frequently hits her mother. During this time in her childhood she develops a friendship with a homeless boy who’s staying in the abandoned home next door. She begins helping him by giving him food and blankets and their relationship (typically) grows into something more.
This is a book that’s best you go into knowing little about because to give too much away would ruin the impact of certain developments. And when I say they have an impact I really mean it. This is not an easy book by any stretch, but it dealt with the topics it covered delicately and in a way that speaks to the reader.
I’ve never read a book before that delves so thoroughly and satisfactorily into the inner thoughts of victims of abuse. It handled it so convincingly and with such humility, that regardless of the amount of clique, I’m going to give it four stars. There were other problems too, like how Atlas wasn’t given much depth, but mostly it was the amount of clique-ridden plot manoeuvres.
I don’t remember the last time that I cried while reading a book, but I did on this occasion. Well, I cried during the acknowledgements section, but it still counts. It was so gut-wrenching and honest I would defy anyone not to cry at this bit.
No review would do this book justice without mentioning what a fantastic character Lilly was. She was so well-developed, sympathetic and real that I defy anyone not to love her a little.