Colleen Hoover’s negative impact on readers

Colleen Hoovers negative impact on readers

McKenna Bosch, Staff Writer

Colleen Hoover rose to fame in 2020. Her book “It Ends With Us” received raving reviews on Booktok, a community of readers who review and recommend books on Tiktok. Hoover flew to the top of the #1 New York Times Bestsellers list, with 25 of her over 30 books receiving Bestsellers titles. Hoover’s books fall into the genre of romance novels. Hence, her audience is primarily teen girls and young adult women. Several of her #1 Bestsellers depict toxic and dangerous relationship behaviors. Is this something we want to be marketing to impressionable women, most of whom are entering into their first relationship? Is this the example we want to set for these girls?

The problematic storyline of “It Ends With Us”…

SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Hoover’s book “It Ends With Us” has sold over 4 million copies and remains on the Bestsellers list after 76 weeks. The book itself focuses on Lily Bloom and Ryle Kincaid’s relationship. Even from the beginning of the book, we see exactly how unhealthy this relationship will prove to be. During their first meeting, Ryle expressively tells Lily how he (as a neurosurgeon) has no desire to form a relationship with her. Despite this, their attraction grows for each other, leading them to form a romantic relationship. One in which Lily and Ryle fall madly in love. Throughout the book, Ryle becomes more and more abusive. His lack of anger management begins to get taken out on Lily. His anger goes so far that he hits her, pushes her down the stairs, and sexually assaults her. She ends up in the hospital at his hands. Every time this happens, Ryle apologizes remorsefully and claims it was an accident. Yet, intended violence is never accidental.

I deeply respect Hoover’s attempt at writing sensitive topics from the victim’s point of view. However, I struggle with the sloppy plot points and writing. Her book felt rushed. The prominent focus was romance rather than the toxic behavior patterns Ryle exhibited. The red flags were clear from the beginning, and choosing not to focus on those created a rift in the story that I didn’t appreciate

This story is written to depict abuse and realistic emotions. However, the writing felt artificial and weak. Lily’s explanation for forgiving Ryle was sloppy and rushed. It focused too strongly on the love he showed her after hurting her. It felt like Hoover threw a band-aid over the abuse in the book and called it good. Every character has received a happy ending, including the abuser, who does not deserve it. Hoover’s intent in writing was only to preserve the romance. When in reality, Ryle should have taken responsibility for his actions. In consequence, it felt trashy.

The biggest issue with Hoover’s books…

These books are promoted and read by an audience that is young and impressionable. Reading these stories without understanding the deeper meaning causes room for misconceptions and dangerous ideologies. Throughout the book, Hoover writes as though Ryle’s reactions are acceptable because his love for Lily overshadows any bad moments. We can even see on the back of the book, where Hoover writes, “Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most”.

The romance and fantasizing of her male characters cause readers to accept those behaviors as “mistakes” or “deserving of second chances”. When in reality, those relationships are abusive. They have the potential to lead readers down a continuous cycle of emotional and physical trauma. Young girls should be able to read a book like this and know that “Love does NOT come at a price”. Hoover’s writing preaches to girls that men who hurt them deserve second chances. This is not the truth. When will Colleen Hoover recognize that the words she writes have a negative impact? When will she take responsibility for HER actions?