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This isn’t your average fairy tale or romance book. Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us is a heartbreaking tale about what it’s like finding love and the pain that some relationships can cause. Hoover leaves many teary-eyed and emotional after her main character Lily finds what she thinks is love in Ryle, an arrogant and assertive neurosurgeon who turns abusive. Her story is one of heartache, pain and beauty. If you were a fan of these complex love stories, then you’ll enjoy these other gut-wrenching tales that will have you emotionally invested.
It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
While we fell in love and endured the pain of Lily and Ryle, before their emotional tale, there was Atlas. Hoover gives readers the sequel to It Ends With Us by sharing Atlas and Lily’s love story and how Atlas saw it all. The two let go only to find one another in the future, and everything in between will shape who they are and how it all ends.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The theme of high school sweethearts in It Ends With Us also shows up in One True Love. When Emma Blair marries Jesse, her childhood love, life for the two of them is blissful. They travel the world until one day, Jesse goes missing on their first wedding anniversary. Now Emma must start over, and years later, she does with her longtime friend Sam. Emma and Sam get engaged, allowing her to feel love again and remove the pain of losing Jesse. But once Jesse is found safe and alive all these years later, trying to return home to Emma, she’ll have to decide on the past or the present—and determine who’s her one true love.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
The passion and pain found between Lily and Ryle in It Ends With Us matches the prose in Open Water. In a pub in Southeast London, two strangers meet. A young Black photographer and a young Black dancer become friends, both living in a city that rejects but also celebrates them. As they learn about each other, they share their experiences of being unwanted and violated for the color of their skin. This connection makes their friendship deep—until they ultimately dive deeper into love. But will their love last amidst the fear and violence around them?
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Told in shifting timelines of the past and the present, Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos go from best friends to lovers to strangers. Macy keeps her life carefully constructed and content. She’d prefer to keep her past in the past. Her memories are guarded by one tragic night that has left Macy silent for decades. When Macy and Elliot run into each other, Macy’s careful bubble dissolves, and she’ll have to face the past and the love she still has for Elliot. The intense love between Macy and Elliot might remind you of the love in Hoover’s It Ends With Us.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is straddling two worlds. As a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, she isn’t quite fitting into either culture. Her job at the national newspaper constantly reminds her of who she is and how she doesn’t fit with her middle-class peers. On top of that her relationship with her white boyfriend Tom recently ended, pushing her to find comfort in all the wrong things, including shady and cringy men. The further she goes down this dark and dangerous path of bad decisions, the more she finds herself wondering who she is and what she truly wants from life. As Lily had a difficult choice to make in It Ends With Us, readers will also find Queenie’s choices just as challenging as she battles with mental health and where her life is headed.
Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander
The revelation Lily encounters in It Ends With Us is also found in Things We Never Said. Sean recently lost the love of his life Catherine. What she leaves behind is a box of cassette tapes and envelopes filled with recordings of their life together. But the more Sean listens and reads, the more he’s not sure of the story Catherine is relaying. Her words, while they were filled with love and care, they were also honest and brutal. The more secrets and unspoken thoughts she reveals, the more Sean will question what he knew about his wife and their life together.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Edie is currently a mess. She experiences depression and has a dark sense of humor. She struggles as an artist in New York City with one dead-end job after the other. Anything that has true meaning to her, she somehow finds a way to mess it up. But then she meets a white middle-aged married man named Eric. He has a suburban family with an adopted Black daughter and a wife who is somewhat okay with an open marriage. At first Edie isn’t sure of the arrangement with this family, but with little options to her life, she soon finds herself diving into Eric’s home and family.
Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey
If you enjoyed the romance between Lily and Ryle in It Ends With Us, then you’ll enjoy the romance between Rosie and Jane in Read Between the Lines. Rosie is a big fan of books. She took over her mother’s Manhattan bookstore, and the books have become her new home. Rosie even gets the chance to read her favorite author Brie. What’s even more, she’s sparked an online relationship with that very author. Jane Breslin is a businesswoman by day and the author Brie by night, who just so happens to enjoy her budding romance with Rosie the bookstore owner. But when day and night clash, and Jane’s family terminates Rosie’s business, Jane’s secrets might be too much for Rosie to handle.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
The past never truly stays in the past. Not for Lily in It Ends With Us, and certainly not for authors Shane Hall and Eva Mercy. Single mother Eva is a best-selling author, while Shane, ever the recluse, is also an award-winning novelist. When Shane shows up to New York much to everyone’s surprise, he unexpectedly meets Eva at a literary event. The sparks fly and their chemistry reminds the two of their shared night many years ago. Over the next few days of summer Shane and Eva rekindle what once was—but can Eva truly give her heart back to Shane, or will the past be too much for her to move forward in the future?
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