I have personally recommended It Ends With Us to everyone in my life since reading it last year. I can’t stop!
I went into the book not knowing anything about it (isn’t that the best?) so I genuinely had no idea what the story was about.
I went in under the pretense of thinking I was reading a light-hearted romance… boy was I wrong!
It Ends With Us is a story that follows Lily Bloom and her relationship with two love interests – Dr. Ryle Kincaid and Atlas Corrigan – one from the past, one from the present.
After witnessing her mother be abused by her father throughout her life, Lily is determined to make a fresh start in Boston. But will her past catch up to her?
If you loved reading It Ends With Us as much as I (and the rest of the world) did, I’ve found seven books similar to tear your heart to pieces all over again. Enjoy!
If you love It Ends With Us, then you’ll love books like Wish You Were Here, Queenie, It Starts With Us, In Five Years, When We Were Infinite, Love and Other Words, and The People We Keep. Check out our list of 11 books to read after It Ends With Us.
Themes In It Ends With Us
It Ends With Us follows our main protagonist Lily, who has had anything but an easy life.
Growing up, she witnessed her father abuse her mother repeatedly, the incidents getting worse each time. Lily was powerless to stop it – but that doesn’t touch the guilt she feels.
Meeting the gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle on top of a random building could be the start of a new life for Lily. She opens her flower shop – everything seems to be going too well.
Ryle is assertive, arrogant, and beautiful. He’s also got a sensitive side that only Lily sees. They’re head over heels in love, what could go wrong?
Ryle does have one strange rule, though – no dating. Lily, somewhat confused but definitely in love, goes along with it to please him.
Despite the budding romance in front of her, Lily can’t help but explore her past through diary entries, detailing her first love, Atlas.
He was her first love, and they shared something that no outsider would ever understand.
As Atlas makes a reappearance, Lily’s new life is threatened. But out of her two love interests, is Atlas really the one to fear?
It Ends With Us delves deep into themes of jealousy, generational cycles, and emotional abuse.
While you might think it’s a love story, the reality is that it goes much deeper to show the reader what is and isn’t love, and how self-sacrifice is not the answer to any relationship.
The book certainly touches on challenging themes, and it is not without its trigger warnings.
Still, I think that Colleen Hoover did well not to impart judgment on these topics, only imparting understanding and awareness through believable character development.
Books Like It Ends With Us
Wish You Were Here – Renée Carlino
After reeling from It Ends With Us, I was desperate to find another book that made me feel the same way again. Enter Renée Carlino.
Her writing style is almost identical to Colleen Hoover’s, and the way she tells the story holds it all together so beautifully.
Trust me, this is the kind of book that makes you look at the time, wonder how it’s already 2 am and pulls you right back into the story. You won’t be sleeping once you start Wish You Were Here!
This book isn’t as dark as It Ends With Us, but it does explore similar developments that keep you hooked. I would recommend this to anyone who is nervous to start It Ends With Us due to the trigger warnings.
Wish You Were Here follows Charlotte, our main character that has a one-night stand with the glorious Adam. It feels like the start of a love story… in the moment. So why is he acting so distant the next morning?
Out with the old, in with the new – Charlotte begins a budding romance with Seth. Seth is charming, lovely, and handsome, so why is her night with Adam still playing on her mind?
Charlotte sets out for answers and finds out more than she could have ever imagined about Adam and his closed-off nature.
This complicated story follows her decision to stay with Seth, simple and kind, or follow Adam’s brooding mystery.
Charlotte and Lily have much in common – they’re both determined to follow their passions before heartbreak gets in the way.
- Heart-warming love story that will have you rooting for the characters.
- Great writing style that is similar to Colleen Hoover’s.
- Some people didn’t like the personality of the protagonist.
Themes: Love, outlook, reflection, fate, and second chances.
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is a character that I will forever hold dearly in my heart, and her devastating yet uplifting story is one to treasure.
This book makes you care deeply for the main character and gets you invested in their life story – much like Lily in It Ends With Us.
Queenie struggles to make choices to enrich her life, determined to change it for the better.
As a young Jamaican British woman, whose recent breakup has rocked her into an unstable and insecure mindset, she must find some sense of peace.
This breakup is affecting her work life, friendships, and more, leaching into every aspect of life. On her journey back to peace, she meets a new love interest that treats her terribly.
The themes that Candice Carty-Williams explores are very similar to those Colleen Hoover touches on, and you have a real sense of companionship with the main character.
You want to be there for her, watching everything in graphic detail through her eyes, wishing her nothing but the best.
Queenie embarks on a heart wrenching love story with herself, learning how to trust those around her again, but most importantly, how to trust herself.
- Empowering tale of self-love and trust after trauma.
- These characters are flawed and believable, and you’ll be rooting for them throughout the entire book.
- Darker themes might not be suitable for everyone.
Themes: Love, trust, friendship, misogyny, racism, mental health, abuse.
When We Were Infinite – Kelly Loy Gilbert
Next up is a Young Audience (YA) romance that spends the majority of its time in a high school setting. Don’t let that put you off! This is a lovely story about friendship, loss, and inner peace.
There are many differences between It Ends With Us and When We Were Infinite, but the similarity really stood out to me. They are both books with huge themes of friendship.
Allysa, Ryle’s sister and Lily’s best friend, is one of the most compelling characters in It Ends With Us.
While technically a side character, Allysa’s inner turmoil when choosing between her brother and best friend is one of the most compelling aspects of the book.
If you enjoyed these moving scenes as much as I did, I highly recommend When We Were Infinite. There are complex personalities and deep-rooted friendships and it will really resonate with people of all ages.
Beth, our main character, is grateful for her amazing friendship group at school to take her away from her troubled home life. But nothing lasts forever, and trauma interrupts their idyllic time together.
Jason experiences violence at home, forcing Beth to face her own traumas in her once-safe school setting.
Beth and her friends must face their upbringings, parental trauma, and more. Will friendship be enough to shine through the darkness of their admissions?
- YA story that captures the feeling of high school friendships perfectly.
- Touches on tougher themes that might be able to help younger readers.
- Not everyone will enjoy young adult fiction.
Themes: Found family, abuse, friendship, love, generational cycles, and parental trauma.
In Five Years – Rebecca Serle
In Five Years is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story, very similar to It Ends With Us. If you went into the latter thinking it was going to be a love story, I’m sure you were in for a big shock.
That shock factor comes around again in In Five Years – this is much different to the love stories you’ve read before.
If you like a book to cry to, this is the one for you. I was sobbing like a baby by the time I finished reading, and I don’t cry much at books at all. The last book that had me that emotional was It Ends With Us!
Much like many Colleen Hoover books, In Five Years also works best if you go into it blindly. That’s why there are so many vague reviews of it on the internet – we don’t want to spoil it for you! Still, here’s a brief summary of what you’re in for…
Dannie Kohan, a successful lawyer in Manhattan, wakes up one morning… only to find that it’s five years in the future. She’s in bed next to a man who isn’t her fiancé, and she’s obviously very confused and upset.
She spends an hour with this unknown man before returning back to her original timeline, where she has to cross paths with him again.
I know, I want to tell you more! But you’ll really enjoy the reading experience more if you go into it without any preconceived notions about what will happen, so that’s all I can say. You’ll just have to read it for yourself – trust me, you won’t regret it.
- Tear-jerking story of love and loyalty.
- The mystery will have you staying up into the early hours to find out what happens next.
- The open ending might not be to everyone’s taste.
Themes: Friendship, love, loyalty, friendship, and romance.
Love And Other Words – Christina Lauren
Love and Other Words is a story following our main protagonist Macy as she recounts the tale of her summers in a holiday home with her father after her mother passed away.
It is not technically a love story, but rather a book detailing love, loss, and family ties.
It resonates with It Ends With Us through the dual timeline, with each chapter alternating between then and now.
We follow Macy and Elliot’s budding friendship as they navigate through high school, spending weekends in the closet library that Macy’s dad had built for her.
They bond over books and spend the best part of their teenage years together until something tears them apart.
Elliot and Macy are each other’s first and only love, and when they reunite 11 years later at a coffee shop, they must work together to piece back what they once had.
After Macy’s decade-long silence, the reader is left wondering what on earth could have happened between them.
The dual timeline is amazing because it amps up the suspense and desperate need to know what happened between them.
In one chapter you’ll have a warm and fuzzy flurry of a childhood love story and favorite words, then you’ll be thrown into a present-numbing reality the next.
This is essentially a story of what could have happened between Lily and Atlas if Ryle hadn’t gotten in the way. It is a heartbreakingly romantic novel that touches on themes much deeper than a traditional love story.
- Time jumps between each chapter keep the story fast-paced and interesting.
- The love story doesn’t overshadow the other themes of family and trust.
- Time jumps aren’t to everyone’s taste.
Themes: Love, romance, loss, grief, parental bonds, friendship, guilt, trust, and coming-of-age.
The People We Keep – Allison Larkin
Next up I have a heart-wrenching love story to keep you reading well into the early hours of the morning. Our female protagonist April Sawicki is a budding songwriter, living in a motorhome in a small town in New York.
Set in 1994, she sets out on a trip of a lifetime. ‘Borrowing’ her neighbor’s car to get away from her abusive father, April finds herself in Ithaca and quickly befriends a coffee shop owner and the regulars.
With the help of the people she befriends, she begins to piece herself back together, learning more about family, trust, and love than her father ever taught her.
Her friends help to ease her cynicism and pervasive nature, teaching her that she is wanted in the world.
I really loved the snippets shown throughout The People We Keep of April’s songwriting, and how it changes from start to finish.
It reminded me of Lily’s letters to Ellen DeGeneres in It Ends With Us, and how we got to see two different sides of the main character.
This book is all about finding a new family and how you can change your life purely by changing the people you keep near.
- Found family trope is a fan favorite.
- We’re shown song lyrics to deepen the story and character development.
- Some of the twists were predictable.
Themes: Found family, love, relationships, parental abuse, outlook, and trust.
It Starts With Us – Colleen Hoover
That’s right, you read it correctly. If you loved It Ends With Us but wished you’d seen more of Atlas and Lily’s love story, then this book is for you.
Written as a fan service, Colleen Hoover released it as a love letter to her fans who so desperately wanted to see a happy ending for the two main characters.
Still reeling from her divorce and trying to work out the dynamics of co-parenting, the troubled young mother yearns for the best life for her baby daughter.
Lily won’t let Ryle keep their daughter overnight, so she is struggling to navigate her new life on very little sleep.
The dual narrative gives us a look into Atlas’s life and how he must face his estranged mother and brother he knew nothing about.
While maintaining all the different aspects of their respective lives, Lily and Atlas attempt to rekindle the love that they once had for each other as teenagers.
This story is the perfect juxtaposition to It Ends With Us, proving that everyone deserves an innocent love like Lily and Atlas.
While this story doesn’t add anything to the original It Ends With Us, I couldn’t help but sob a little as Lily finally got her happy ending. Take that, Ryle!
- A fan service to leave the characters with a happy ending.
- A lovely romance that will have you swooning along with the characters.
- It felt rushed and unnecessary at some points.
Themes: Love, found family, trust, friendship, betrayal, redemption, and abuse.
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
I’m sure that you’ve all heard of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars by now, but it is a book that I keep coming back to time and time again.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy and prepare the tissues.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a teenager who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. At a cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters.
He’s there to support his friend, also diagnosed with cancer, and they hit it off after recommending a book for each other to read (see also “Books Like Den Of Vipers“).
Throughout this unforgettable love story, the characters face grief, loss, and more challenges than is ever fair for two teenagers to battle.
They travel to Amsterdam to meet Hazel’s favorite author, who turns out to be less than favorable.
While living their exceedingly ordinary life together, Hazel and Gus make the most of their friendship and relationship.
Trust me, I bawled my eyes out. This might be a young adult novel, but I still read it to this day to feel that heartbreak all over again.
If you’re craving the pain that It Ends With Us gave you, this is the book for you.
- A YA book that explores harder topics like cancer and mortality.
- Excellent writing from bestselling John Green.
- Not everyone will enjoy YA fiction.
Themes: Love, loss, grief, illness, friendship, coming of age, life and death, family, isolation, and courage.
Seven Days In June – Tia Williams
Eva Mercy had no plans to meet someone at a literary event, until Shane Hall entered the picture. They write two starkly different genres, but the chemistry we see on the panel is more than just a professional pairing.
That is painfully obvious to the reader, everyone in the room with them, and even Eva and Shane themselves.
But one thing that their audience doesn’t know is that they have actually met before, spending one week in June, 20 years prior, falling madly in love.
Attempting to play it cool, Eva and Shane must hide their feelings until the panel is over. But with another seven days ahead of them stuck together, they must face their feelings from when they were teenagers.
Eva tries to navigate the twists and turns that come with trying to trust the man that broke her heart as a boy.
I loved this book from start to finish, and it had me swooning just like It Ends With Us did.
The twists are very similar to Colleen Hoover’s, and this story feels like another example of what Lily and Atla could have had if we didn’t have Ryle to deal with.
- A second-chance romance that will leave you swooning.
- Great character development from the two main characters.
- Some of the cultural references felt forced.
Themes: Motherhood, mothering, generational baggage, disability, substance abuse, love, grief, broken home, and found family.
The Stationary Shop – Marjan Kamali
This book is slightly different from It Ends With Us in the fact that this is a historical novel, The Stationary Shop follows Roya, our protagonist that works in a (you guessed it) stationary shop.
Roya, who is a lover of romance, is set up with a customer by the shop’s owner. The setup in question? Bahman, a persuasive activist, and lover of Rumi. There’s an instant connection and a quick engagement, but are things too good to be true?
The night before their wedding rolls around and they agree to meet in the small town. Before they know what’s happening, a riot is breaking out and they lose each other in the chaos.
Roya searches high and low for Bahman, but she cannot find him anywhere. Devastated, she must move on with her life and pursue an education in California, where she meets a new man and falls in love.
After a 60-year life together, fate gives Roya a push in the right direction to reconnect with Bahman. Now is her chance to ask the questions that have been plaguing her for the past six decades.
This book felt similar to Atlas and Lily’s story, with fate always finding a way to bring young lovers together again. While the themes don’t reach as dark as It Ends With Us, this is a lovely alternative for those who love historical fiction.
- Excellent for anyone interested in historical fiction.
- The suspense will have you gripped to your seat.
- Not that much character development to work with.
Themes: Family devotion, loyalty, loss, power, love, secrets, determination, and resilience.
Dating Dr. Dil – Nisha Sharma
It Ends With Us features a love-phobic doctor (Ryle), and didn’t you just love the mystery of finding out why he was so scared of a relationship? If so, this is the book for you.
Dr. Prem Verma hosts the popular Dr. Dil Show. Meanwhile, Kareena Mann is a romantic that just loves love.
While trying to keep her parents from selling their family home, they tell her that they can keep the house if she gets engaged within just four months.
Kareena and Prem find themselves engaged in an online battle, forcing negative attention on them both.
With the high stakes for both of them, Prem agrees to convince Kareena that they belong together – a twist set up by her meddling aunties.
At first, there is nothing they can agree on. But the longer they spend together, their passion turns to something other than indifference.
- Fast-paced romance that will have you love to dislike the characters (If you love the romance genre, check out Books Like Shameless).
- An easy read perfect for summer.
- Some thought that the writing was oversimplified.
Themes: Marriage, religion, love, hostility, misogyny, betrayal, and equality.
Thanks for reading! It Ends With Us is a powerful and moving book that will leave you reeling for days afterward.
That feeling can be difficult to come by with books, so I hope that you’re excited to read some of the 11 recommendations I have listed above!
Queenie is an excellent book that covers some of the darker topics seen in It Ends With Us. If you enjoy reading about these topics in a non judgemental way, Queenie is an excellent book for you.
On the other hand, Wish You Were Here is similar in structure to It Ends With Us but without the themes of domestic violence. It still features a love triangle and some heart-wrenching scenes, so get the tissues out!
In Five Years offers a refreshing mystery that will leave you sobbing your heart out at 3 am. Isn’t that what everyone wants out of a book?
Any of the 11 books I’ve included in my article today gave me the exact same feelings of anger, love, and distress as It Ends With Us. So, which one are you going to pick up first?
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Age Appropriate For It Ends With Us?
It Ends With Us is appropriate for Mature Adults aged 17 or over. This is because it contains adult themes including domestic violence and explicit content.
Is There A Second It Ends With Us?
Yes, the sequel to It Ends With Us is called It Starts With Us and was released on October 18th, 2022.
It follows Lily and Atlas rekindling their relationship and navigating the pressures of family and jealous ex-husbands.
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