Colleen Hoover, Are Fans Hooked or Horrified?

Colleen Hoover, Are Fans Hooked or Horrified?

Brooke Hopewell

Colleen Hoover is an American author who writes romance novels. Hoover recently rose to fame in the early months of 2022, as her book, “It Ends With Us” became a popular sensation on “BookTok.” The novel includes three main characters, Lily, Ryle and Atlas. 


Roughly half of her readers love her books, while the other half does not. Why is this? Despite said book having been ranked a best-selling novel in 2022, some commenters on TikTok and journalists on the internet have concluded that Hoover’s writing style is poor. 


Some ‘BookTokers’ have also poked fun at Hoover naming one of her characters ‘Lily Blossom Bloom,’ and yes, she did name the protagonist that. Continuously, Hoover’s writing has been compared to a 14 year old writing ‘Wattpad’ stories: confusing, rushed and traumatic. Commenters also note that Hoover writes the simplest dialogue for her characters and turns it into an unnecessarily poetic quote. Regardless of these remarks, the question of whether Hoover actually deserves these comments is a hard question to answer. 


Hoover’s best-selling novel “It Ends With Us” is seen by some readers as toxic, unhealthy and blatantly tone deaf to women that have been in abusive relationships. Hoover’s books often use trauma for shock value rather than directly addressing the issues occurring. The story “It Ends With Us” raises concerns if Hoover’s fans genuinely like her books or are just too terrified to put the book down. 


As Hoover’s novel blew up on TikTok, posts regarding the story “It Ends With Us” had numerous comments that stated how some women could “fix” Ryle, the main antagonist and Lily’s love interest, who is an abusive boyfriend towards the main protagonist. Along with other comments stating how Ryle “isn’t a bad person: he just does bad things.” Although there is a large majority of Hoover’s fans who love her books, those fans are not seeing the bigger picture that is portrayed in her novels.  Hoover’s books misguide the youth, set unrealistic expectations, and are harmful to young women’s perspective to relationships and their viewpoints on what a “healthy relationship” is.


Hoover essentially romanticizes domestic abuse that occurs in relationships. This theme of abuse can be seen throughout the novel as Lily is seemingly blinded by her love for her boyfriend and despite being abused, stays with Ryle for a prolonged time. While the book shows a somewhat real life scenario of what actual victims go through when in abusive relationships, the showing of awareness towards relationships like these are glossed over and romanticized. 


The romanticization of toxic behavior in “It Ends with Us” is not the first time Colleen Hoover has done this. In a multitude of Hoover’s novels, there are apparent themes of toxic masculinity, women being solely dependent on a man for emotional development, abuse, stereotypical “macho man” behavior and enablement of mistreatment in relationships. Is Hoover trying to subtly raise awareness for abuse towards victims that have experienced such events in her writing or make it seem like a “romantic” trauma bonding experience for said victims? Regardless of the answer, Hoover has some of her fans absolutely horrified by her writing.


Another one of Colleen Hoover’s novels, “Ugly Love” is about a young woman named Tate who falls in love with Miles, a man who wants nothing more than a physical relationship with her. Throughout the story, Tate’s whole character development is dependent on her relationship with Miles. Once again, Hoover displays how her characters need a man to grow. Towards the end of the book, Miles’s past is revealed and Hoover writes it in a way that excuses Miles’s toxic behavior to Tate, like his own trauma outweighed using someone who loved him like a doormat. Hoover’s “Ugly Love is a story that shows how women are walked on by men, depicting toxic relationships as acceptable to her audience. 


These displays of women depending on men for character development, staying with their partner despite facing domestic abuse, playing the damsel in distress role, and the female protagonist being in toxic relationships in general then the relationship being repaired through physical intimacy are all common themes that are apparent in Hoover’s books. This display of toxic literature is harmful to project onto teens who read Hoover’s books, a mindset of staying with a man for love despite numerous signs showing why a woman shouldn’t stay can be embedded into young girls’ minds. Allowing for these young women to think that they should be in relationships where they are mistreated for love. 


After personally reading “It Ends With Us,” the overall novel was very…unimpressive to say the least. From the first time Lily and Ryle met, which happened to be right after Lily’s father’s funeral, who was abusive to her mother, Ryle told Lily that he wanted to sleep with her and Lily spilled out her deepest feelings to a man she only met about 15 minutes ago. From that point on, Lily and Ryle started seeing each other more. When Lily and Ryle were sharing a meal together at Ryle’s house, Ryle injured himself which caused Lily to laugh. Ryle immediately acted and hit Lily across the face, causing her to fall back, hit her head and have a noticeable wound. Ryle started to apologize and tell Lily that he made a mistake, Lily convinces herself that it was just a mishap and continues to stay with him.


That wasn’t the first time Ryle acted violently towards Lily.The final straw was when Ryle had gotten suspicious of Lily’s relationship with Atlas. Ryle got extremely violent and the situation ended in a near assault. At that point, the book had to be shut. Deciding what was worse is still a hot debate, between Ryle’s disgusting character or Lily still staying with him after seeing all the red signs. The book overall was a one out of five stars. From the bad style of writing, pathetic attempts at poetic quotes and the cringe-worthy mature scenes in the book. All in all, the novel was flaming trash. The majority of the fans who read “It Ends With Us” absolutely had to be hyping the novel up surely for the purpose of there being mature scenes in the book because if time could be rewritten to where this book was never published, the world would be at peace.


After thorough research has been conducted, the question of whether fans are hooked or horrified can be answered. The answer? Fans are horrified, no doubt about that. Now, no one is advocating hate towards an author, but Hoover most definitely deserves some harsh constructive criticism: one, for using abusive relationships as “romantic” storylines: two, writing tasteless literature and hiding that unimpressive writing with mature scenes to boost her stories. Hoover needs some serious work on her novels if this is the type of content she loves to put out.