The Love and Hate Relationship Gen Z Has With Colleen Hoover


Two viral books written by Colleen Hoover

Lucy Lu, Photojournalist

Colleen Hoover, author of BookTok’s sensations like It Ends With Us, November 9th, and Ugly Love receives a lot of love from her dedicated fan base; however, this also comes with plenty of backlash at the same time. BookTok is a side of Tiktok on many people’s for you pages where people read and give book recommendations in addition to rating books they’ve read. The younger audience seems to love her books while many older readers on BookTok claim she glorifies trauma and abuse in relationships. 


(Warning: This article contains major spoilers for It Ends With Us and It Starts With Us).


The rise of her fame started in late 2021 as her book It Ends With Us was being shared by readers on the platform Tiktok. The book contained a significant twist that was thrilling to the readers and had adored male love interests. However, this all changed as more people started reading her books. In It Ends With Us we are introduced to Lily Bloom the female protagonist who has two male love interests, Ryle and Atlas. She ends up married to Ryle and we see the twist of him being a perfect loving man to someone who is physically abusive. Many readers think placing the book under the romance category underplays the main themes of abuse in the book. 

In addition, there are complaints about Colleen Hoover’s writing stating that it’s “cringy” and unrealistic. Caitlin Vizzone, an eighth grader at Travis Ranch added, “Some of her books sound like Wattpad.” In It Ends With Us, the protagonist is named Lily Blossom Bloom and she just happens to be really into flowers and opens a floral shop. To many, this is found annoying to her character and a cringy play of words. Throughout the novel, we see past letters Lily wrote to Ellen DeGeneres serving as an old diary and a way for us to learn about her past. Personally, I found this part a little odd as she’s writing her life story to a woman in a public show that she does not actually know of and only watches on television. Atlas is one of Lily’s love interests in the novel and we learn that he was her first love. Immediately after she decides to separate from her husband Ryle she bounces back to him and even during her marriage you can tell she and Atlas are interested in each other. People on BookTok have complained that it is unrealistic for her to end things and then literally walk straight into Atlas’s arms as real people take time for things to process. On the other hand, her supporters think it makes perfect sense for Lily’s full name to be very related to her passions, and since Atlas is her “the one” it’s only right to end the book happily with them together.


Due to the book’s popularity, Colleen Hoover and her team have been working hard to make the most additional content and profit out of the story but, so far it’s not going well.  It Ends With Us was announced to come out with a coloring book and this enraged many readers. It received criticism as many on TikTok stated their opinions saying, you can’t possibly illustrate domestic abuse and it wouldn’t make sense for the coloring book to be just filled with pages of flowers for coloring in. The coloring book was soon confirmed to be canceled due to a flood of online criticism from readers. With two love interests in the novel, many readers wanted to dive further into the universe of Lily Bloom so a second book came out in October of 2022. It Starts With Us is a sequel to the first book and agreed by many readers wasn’t as good as the first. The book changes how we know the characters from the first, turning Ryle into a narcissist that was way more abusive and adding unnecessary plots like Atlas having a brother. 


Overall, Colleen Hoover has received a lot of criticism due to her plotlines and style of writing. However, she still has many supporters that love and defend her work. In the end, what we read is all based on personal preference, and just because we don’t like something doesn’t make a person a bad author per say.