Colleen Hoover’s It Ends with Us: ending, explained

It Ends with Us

Released in August 2016, It Ends with Us became an emotional fan favorite and still is getting great reviews. Let’s find out what the end of this novel holds.

The article contains spoilers!

Lily’s present life where she meets Ryle

Lily Bloom is just sitting on a rooftop in Boston when some guy comes up there thrashing patio chairs. They both fall into easy stranger conversation telling Naked Truths. The guy, Ryle, a neurosurgeon in residency, tells her that he wants to sleep with her.

That doesn’t happen though. They both have different approaches in life. Lily is looking for her one love whereas Ryle isn’t and is satisfied with one-night stands.

After the talk, Lily is determined to follow her dreams. She buys a store to open her florist business. That’s when she meets Allysa, a rich girl obsessed with Pinterest and decorating. She makes Lily hire her and they get on working. Due to an accident, Lily finds out Ryle is Allysa’s brother.

Ryle wants her but she is scared for her heart. They go back and forth with this until one day it comes to a head. Ryle admits he wants a relationship with her.

Lily’s past told through her journals

Lily’s past is shown through her journal. Entries of how her father used to abuse her mother, how her mother used to tolerate it. Feelings of helplessness and fear. She used to address her entries to Ellen DeGeneres as she loved her show.

Those journals also contained her first love, Atlas Corrigan. A homeless, neglected biy, living behind her house secretly. She used to help him with food, clothes and they soon became inseparable. Until one day when her father found out and beat him up bloody. All these entries are spread throughout the book.

Her past colliding in her present

Lily takes Ryle to Bib’s, a new restaurant, where she was meeting her mother. That’s where she sees Atlas, taking her order. She is shaken and when they talk, Atlas admits he’d been seeing someone too. They part.

Things go forward and everything seems good until it isn’t. One night Ryle accidentally pulls out a casserole from the oven without a holder, burns his hand, splattering everything. In her inebriated state, Lily laughs and Ryle backhands her across the face, yelling the importance of his hand. She hits her head and is triggered. He apologizes repeatedly and swears it won’t happen again and that he’s not her father. Hurt and confused, Lily forgives him with a warning.

Atlas coincidentally sees the wounds when they come back to his restaurant and confronts Lily. Lily assures him that Ryle is a good guy. But Ryle catches them together and after a fight, they rush off back home where Lily explains her past.

Some days later, Atlas comes to Lily’s shop and pastes a sticky note with his number under Lily’s phone cover. He asks her to call him whenever she needs help. Weeks pass and on one night when meeting Ryle’s family, they both decide spontaneously to get married in Vegas.

Post marriage bliss and more complications

Their married life is going well and they’ve resolved their issues. But one fateful night Ryle finds Atlas’s number and goes in a rage. After yelling, he storms off and when stopped, he pushes her. She falls down the stairs with that push.

Next day, after help from his sister, he tells that when he was 6 years old, he accidentally shot is older brother in the head. After that incident, he went to therapy but still goes in blind rage. Lily, confused and still hurt, understands his state and they agree to stop an argument, cool off and then talk again.

The final straw in their relationship

Lily and Ryle move in Allysa’s building. Just one-week later Ryle somehow pieces two and two together from Atlas’s latest interview. He is angry and hurts Lily bad, almost raping her and head-butting her.

As soon as he falls asleep after apologies, she calls Atlas, who takes her to the hospital where she finds out she’s pregnant. She stays with Atlas for a while and realizes he never had a girlfriend to begin with.

Ryle tells Lily he’s leaving for his program in England for 3 months. She moves back and spends time with Allysa and her niece. Allysa feels something off and confronts her. Lily breaks down and narrates everything. Allysa urges her to leave him. And so does her mother.

The baby and the ending of the novel

Ryle returns from his program and find Lily pregnant. He seeks forgiveness but Lily refuses to make a decision on their marriage until the delivery. Slowly, she starts getting him involved with the pregnancy and when she finally delivers a girl, she tells Ryle that she wants a divorce.

Ryle understands and they both come into a co-parenting agreement. She finally breaks the pattern for her daughter. 11 months later, Lily again bumps into Atlas. She confesses that she’s now ready for a relationship and they kiss.

In the author’s note section of the book, Hoover explains her mother going through abuse, her own childhood and that this novel was an outlet for that. She meant the book to be empathetic and empowering for women facing domestic abuse and to educate people.