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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

CoHo Controversy

Trigger Warning: Domestic violence (DV), abusive relationships, sexual harassment (SH) involving minors.

It’s no secret that Colleen Hoover has broken the internet as one of the most popular authors of our time. She is one of BookTok’s (the side of TikTok that focuses on all things books) most beloved and most hated authors, however, with popularity comes controversy. 

Her novel, “It Ends With Us”, is possibly the most infamous. The story follows Lily Bloom and her love interest, Ryle Kincaid. At first, Ryle seems like the perfect man for Lily, however, as things move forward, Ryle shows his true self by taking out his anger, stress, jealousy, and frustration on Lily. One can only put on a persona for so long.

Lily grew up with an abusive father so she knew his behavior was unacceptable, yet she went back to him twice. After the third instance, she left for good, but she wasn’t out of the woods. She discovered that she was pregnant with his baby. They worked out an agreement to allow Ryle time with his daughter, so Lilly had to see him as well. 

Readers say that “It Ends With Us” romanticizes abuse because Ryle is painted as a flawed character rather than an abuser. The novel is marketed as a romance novel for teens and adults and many teen readers don’t have as much experience in relationships compared to a more mature audience and are unaware of what is and is not healthy. 

From personal experience, the novel portrays what abusive relationships are like beautifully. It perfectly encapsulates the love, fear, hatred, and anger the victim feels when the person who is supposed to love, care for, and protect them becomes the one that hurts them the most. 

In January of 2023, Hoover apologized for her plan to release a coloring book based on the novel, saying that it was “tone-deaf”. A coloring book based on a novel about abusive relationships isn’t the best idea for publicity, as it may send the wrong message about a book that is already controversial. She wanted to portray Lily’s strength, but the Internet was not fond of this idea. 

The main issue with “It Ends With Us” is marketing. As previously stated, it is marketed as a romance novel for teens and adults. If it were marketed as a drama for adults only, would it still get this much hate?

However, when other works are questionable, it’s difficult to defend Hoover. In “Ugly Love”, the speaker states, “We both laugh at our son’s big balls.” This line is objectively creepy and predatory, and even more so when the speaker is referring to a baby.

Aside from questionable marketing skills, Hoover also received backlash after blocking someone on Twitter when screenshots of her son sexually harassing a minor came to her. 

While this is undoubtedly unacceptable, I am a firm believer in separating the artist from the art, meaning one can appreciate the work someone has done without supporting them as a person.

“It Ends With Us” changed my life and how I view people and their morals. Hoover’s work has me in a chokehold and, despite the controversy, I will be spending more time and money on her books. Once again, in many cases, I see that it’s extremely important to separate the artist from their work. 


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