BOOK CLUB: It Starts with Us

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It Starts with Us, by Colleen Hoover is the much anticipated sequel to It Ends with Us.

If you want to read this book, I recommend you start with It Ends with Us. In that book, you learn how teenage Lily meets and befriends Atlas, who at the time is homeless. 

It tells their story and how they get to know each other and physically drift apart, but they still hold on to each other emotionally. Many years later a chance meeting on the street is where It Starts with Us picks up the story. 

Atlas now owns two restaurants and is busy making his own way in life, while Lily is a single mother and is working hard to keep her daughter safe. At the same time, she’s trying to rebuild her confidence and strength after splitting with her husband due to his anger issues, and ongoing domestic violence.

This is a story of love and hope, and shows the strength someone needs to be able to take the step to leave a domestic violence relationship.  Lily’s desire to make sure that her daughter is safe, and have her understand that DV is not acceptable, is what pushes Lily to stand up to her ex.

Colleen Hoover has a magical way with words. Her books are always ones that I hate to put down and once I reach the last page I am left wanting more. After reading It Ends with Us I so badly wanted more and to see Lily happy after all she had gone through. It Starts with Us has given me that happy ending.  This was a weekend well spent.

If there’s someone you know who loves reading and you are hunting for a gift idea for Christmas, then I strongly suggest that you buy both of these books. I know you won’t be sorry.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or abuse, you can contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you like this book, we recommend you read One of Us.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: It Starts with Us

  1. It Ends With Us is one of my favourite Colleen Hoover books…however I was a bit sceptical about wanting to read this…I knew it was mainly written as tic too fan fiction….but I also couldn’t resist seeing where Lillys and Atlas’s journey ended up.
    I’ll be honest and say it’s an enjoyable read….but for me it didn’t have the same amount of depth as the first one and I feel the characters were delivered a little short….. it was an easy read though …and I did enjoy getting to read more about Atlas and his past ….I do love their relationship and how he has kept loving Lilly for years and years….. I wasn’t wowed but enjoyed it all the same

  2. It Starts with us by Colleen Hoover is a sequel to the best-selling novel It Ends with Us. I didn’t read It Ends with Us and knew little about the novel, so I read this as a stand-alone book.
    The main characters are Lily and Atlas, the story is told through their voices, taking turns by chapter. Set in Boston, USA Atlas is a chef who owns two restaurants and Lily is a florist. The novel opens with vandalism to one of Atlas’s restaurants and he is reluctant to call the police as he has a feeling it might be personal. Lily and Atlas meet accidentally and its clear that they are still attracted to each other. Lily is concerned how her ex-husband, Ryle, the perpetrator of domestic violence in the first novel, will react.
    This is sadly a far too common story, the victim of the violence being scared of their ex-partner, of blaming themselves, of changing their behaviour in the hope that the perpetrator will be pacified. There is another perpetrator of violence in this novel, Atlas’s mother, Sutton. Its more unusual to read of a mother who is violent but sadly it reflects society.
    There are tense standoffs in the novel and at times it seems to go around in circles but again that reflects what happens in real life. I found myself continually wondering, where is Ryle? when and how will he attack? What about Sutton? When will she appear and what will happen? The novel does show the importance of supportive friends and family in domestic violence situations and the issue of a family member still loving the person who commits violence but realising that their behaviour has to change.
    Reading about domestic violence is not something I particularly enjoy, it makes me feel so sick and angry, but its important to get the message about domestic violence out, that it affects all levels of society, that its never acceptable and its never the victim’s fault and if novels like this help get the message out then that’s good. I agree with Atlas’s comment “How any human can do that to a human they’re supposed to love and want to protect, I will never understand”.*
    Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Beauty and Lace Book club for the opportunity to read this novel.
    *Chapter Twenty-one, Page 186

  3. It starts with us by Colleen Hoover .
    My first book to read by Colleen Hoover and although I never read the first book It Ends With Us i got the jist of the story and characters straight away.
    A marriage tormented by a volatile husband ,a child and divorce. Jealousy parenting and a
    Childhood sweethart .
    All brought together in this well written story .
    A story that will pull at your heart strings as well as bring anger and remorse .
    A great read with lots of colourful characters.
    Thankyou Beauty and Lace for enlightening me with what can go on behind closed doors . Domestic Violence is not just physical but mental as well.

  4. It starts with us follows the story of Lily and Atlas teenage sweethearts, separated by circumstance who bump into each other many years later. Lily has just ended her marriage to her husband who had issues with DV and his temper. She has a baby so while she would love to be with Atlas can she make it work?

    While the story doesn’t touch too much on DV situations nor does it get very graphic, it may not be nice for someone with a sensitivity to that subject to read, but besides that it is a beautiful love story that keeps you rooting for Lily and Atlas .

    Fantastic read, I can already tell I’ll read several times again.

  5. It Starts with Us, by Colleen Hoover is a modern day love story. Heartfelt, inspiring and reading it felt a bit like a nice, warm hug.

    It’s a sequel to the novel ‘It ends with us’, but having not read the other novel I found I could follow the characters and piece together their history quite well, so it can easily be read as a stand alone novel.

    The best thing about this book is the characters. Atlas & Lily’s love story is the main focus, but there’s also the story with Lily’s angry ex-husband Ryle, his family & also Atlas’s mystery relative that comes back into his life.

    I found this an easy book to read, it was written beautifully and had a lovely story line that had you cheering for the 2 main characters. Some of the letters & diary entries between the 2 teetered into schmaltz territory, but it was all part of the fun.

    I’ll definitely be checking out more if Colleen Hoover’s work.

  6. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for my (highly anticipated) copy of It Starts with Us.
    The sequel to It Ends with Us (though you don’t need to have read it to pick the story up) we pick up with Atlas and Lily from Atlas’ version of the story sharing what comes next in their love story.
    Finally managing to have a healthier more civil coparenting relationship with Ryle, Lily bumps into Atlas and agrees to a date. We are introduced to a mysterious character who is not only behind the vandalism of Atlas’s restaurant but also becomes part of Atlas’ life. Parts of Atlas’ past give more insight into him before he met Lily and what happens nest after he leaves her when they were teenagers.
    This is their 2nd chance at true love and their happily ever after.

  7. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover follows It Ends with Us. The book does stand alone well.
    The book is narrated in chapters by Lily, who has left her abusive marriage, and Atlas her first l teenage love.

    Lily and ex husband Ryle have been 2 years separated when she bumps into Atlas.
    Lily has been pondering how she can move on to any relationship when you have a jealous and abusive ex. She realises Ryle will always be in her life as they share a daughter.

    Atlas asks Lily on a date.

    In this story we learn more about Atlas ,his dysfunctional childhood and his current life running 2 successful restaurants .
    When his mother makes contact Atlas finally understands why he was kicked out of home as a teenager.

    There are some great new characters.
    Teenage Theo who gives Atlas some great advice.
    Josh, who to quote him uses “ It starts with us” in his school homework.

    You will need to read this emotional and thought provoking book to find out who is Josh and will Lily and Atlas be able to navigate to a “happily ever after”.
    5 stars from me.

  8. What a magnificent ending to such a sad start to a story with the first book “It Ends With Us”. It Starts With Us picks up from the first book and goes through the rocky journey of two people who met as kids and fell in love so many years before and how their lives changed and they took different paths with fate bringing them together again many years later. The characters and story gave insight into how a violent relationship while ended, can still bring heartache and fear into the victim and their family. It shows a mothers love is strong and fierce when dealing with her child from a violent relationship and how with love they can again learn to love and trust. Such a compelling story that it gives hope to many women who are starting again and that with strong support they can rebuild their lives. The story also delves not the struggles Atlas had when he left as such a young boy and returns as a confident successful man and Lily has achieved her dreams of being a florist. Lily and Atlas are both powerful characters and the great hero’s of the book.

    I cant thank you enough for the opportunity to read this book, Colleen Hooper is now a favorite author and I cant wait to see the movie. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for such a great read can’t recommend this book enough as a “Must Read”

  9. Colleen Hoover’s It Starts With Us it seems was long awaited amongst the legions of readers who loved It Ends With Us. In our household, I enjoyed the novel and getting to learn more about Atlas’s past as well as Lily and Atlas’ relationship, while my daughter absolutely devoured the book in two days and loved it to pieces! While an easy read, this book does deal with some darker themes such as domestic violence, an issue all too common in society and one that deserves to be addressed. We would recommend It Starts With Us, and not just to established Colleen Hoover fans. Thanks to Better and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review.

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