Publisher: Atria Books
Date: August 2, 2016
Buy the Book • Goodreads
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
I’ve read quite a few of Colleen Hoover’s stories, some have been hits for me and others misses. I didn’t go into this with a lot of expectations and now that I’ve read it I’m not certain how detailed I should be. This book is an experience, a very painful one. It succeeds at bringing you inside a situation most only observe from the outside. Once there you may not understand why this is happening any better than the characters do, but you will have trouble not feeling their confusion, betrayal, and how miserable a decision can be to make even when it is clearly the only sane one. No one is black and white here, it would be easier to judge and write them off if they were. Instead I was left with compassion, deep sorrow, and satisfaction at seeing the main character, Lily, make a choice that serves as an example of strength, love, and good judgement.
This story does not follow the line that any of her previous books do, and I think that may be really important for some readers to know ahead of time. If you tend to go into a book and start shipping right away… don’t do that here. Romance is not the point this go-round, nor is wish-fulfillment. It is a story about trauma, relationships, and consequences. I would say it has an important message, but that doesn’t feel like the write word. It takes you on a very up and down journey and I suppose the message is all in how you process it.
Hoovers novels are always full of humor and lovable characters and this one is no exception! There were many high moments, scenes full of laughter and the sweeping rush of falling in love – which made the soul crushing reality of this book that much more painful and yet also helps put you in a place of empathy as opposed to judgement. I would definitely read the authors note at the end once you have finished, clearly this was a very personal story and I think you will miss out on some valuable perspective without it. One of Hoover’s best books and totally singular in tone in comparison with her other works. Highly recommended.