So you just finished reading It Ends with Us and now looking for ways to fill the hole in your heart formed by CoHo’s crafty, heart-wrenching yet uplifting novel? Thankfully, there are many affectionate and empowering books like ‘It Ends with Us’ to squeeze onto your bookshelves.
Just like It Ends With Us, many of the books on this list grapple with heavy or less talked about issues with a dash of romance. While remaining others have romance as the main focus with different subplots. Nevertheless, this carefully curated list of books holds the power to bring you on the edge of your seat. And the best part is some of them are by Colleen Hover including her latest Reminders of Him.
[Jump to 25 Books Like It Ends With Us]
It Ends With Us: The Surreal Rise of Colleen Hover
Colleen Hoover is enjoying her unexpected meteoric rise, even though she isn’t sure how she became TikTok’s heartthrob and a favorite go-to romance writer for millennials and GenZ. It all started with her first self-published novel Slammed and its sequel Point of Retreat in 2012, both of which grabbed a bestseller spot on the New York Times list. Surreal, isn’t it? That’s what CoHo said in an interview.
Her much-hyped and most recommended book It Ends With Us, which was published in 2016, is still on the tip of many tongues. It’s a brave novel about love and trauma and examines how the cycle of abuse can be passed down from one generation to the next.
About It Ends with Us:
The novel is told from the perspective of Lily Bloom, an eccentric florist who is starting afresh in Boston. While setting up the business, her heart melts for an angsty and arrogant neurosurgeon Ryle who equally cares for her. But as their romance takes off, Atlas, her first love and the past she left behind reappears on the scene and threatens the life she has built with Ryle.
Sequel of It Ends with Us:
The much-anticipated sequel of the book called ‘It Starts With Us‘ is scheduled to hit the shelves on October 18, 2022.
It Ends With Us (Movie):
“Jane the Virgin” star Justin Baldoni is adapting Colleen Hoover’s romance novel It Ends With Us for a movie. He announced on TikTok (October 2, 2021) about the completion of the screenplay and that the movie is in the active development phase (IMDb).
25 Books to Read if you Like ‘It Ends With Us’
Fill your void with these 25 books like ‘It Ends With Us’, many of which evoke similar emotions. As a caution, where required I’ll mention graphic and moderate trigger warnings for those who may need heads up.
1. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Christina and Lauren’s (yep, they are two different persons) novel Love and Other Words is a heartwarming story of first love, heartbreak, and finding your way back to the one you’re meant to be with. Unlike It Ends With Us, this one is an actual romance.
The novel follows Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos, who meet as teenagers and fall in love passionately. However, a misunderstanding forces them to go their separate ways, and they don’t see each other again for over a decade. When they finally reconnect, they realize that the love they shared all those years ago is still there, and they must find a way to overcome the pain of the past to be together. Similar to It Ends With Us, it’s a story about two people who are deeply connected and their love is one that will stay with readers long after they finish the book.
Content Warnings: Death of parent, cheating, sexual assault
2. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Log Shot is a deeply emotional, soul-piercing masterpiece that shatters heart into countless pieces and then offers redemption as CoHo did in It Ends With Us. Kennedy Ryan’s thought-provoking standalone is a forbidden love novel from the Hoops series set in the uber-competitive world of the NBA. Iris is a sports marketing student, and August is a shining star in college basketball. One evening they meet each other by chance and instantly connect through intriguing conversations. They share dreams of the future as if they would never see each other again. When it’s time to part ways, August decides he can’t just let her go. That’s when Iris reveals she has a boyfriend, who is none other than his most formidable enemy on and off the court, Caleb.
Long Shot is brutal just like It Ends With Us. It’s a story of Iris, and love, and her making a choice. But when it comes to the portrayal of heavy themes such as domestic abuse, Kennedy Ryan does a far better job.
Content warnings: Domestic/sexual abuse, gaslighting.
3. Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino
Imagine your childhood best friend/first love writes a book about the two of you and your traumatic childhood together and then publishes it after not speaking to you for years and years. Emotionally visceral, Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino is a novel that you’re bound to fall in love with. Emiline is an adjunct writing instructor with a lackluster literary career. When a mysterious debut novel takes the literary circle by storm, Emiline begins to read, only to discover that the novel is based on her past. She assumes who might be the writer. Will she muster up the courage to confront Jase Colby?
If you’re in the mood for more second-chance romance after reading It Ends With Us, then do give this one a shot. It unspools in the same manner as It Ends With Us but the flashbacks or past are revealed to the readers as Emiline reads Jase’s novel — yes, a book within a book format.
Content Warnings: Child abuse, addiction, alcoholism
4. One Day by David Nicholls
I still remember falling in love so deeply with the characters but was floored to know it was published in 2010. How could I possibly miss this beauty? Both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, One Day by David Nicholls follows the relationship between Emma and Dexter. They meet and spend their graduation night together, on July 15th, but it’s friendship that sparks. On every anniversary, for one day we get a peek into their lives as they come together and fall apart on and on. This absolute timeless classic book is equally devastating and beautiful just like It Ends With Us.
Content Warnings: Alcoholism, death, addiction.
5. The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
Life isn’t very sweet for 16-year-old April Sawicki. She’s living in a motorless motorhome that her dad won on a poker bet in a town that she’s never felt she belonged in. Her mom abandoned her when she was a little girl and her dad left her to fend for herself, all his time preoccupied with his new family. April’s only joy comes from playing guitar and writing songs in her worn notebook that will remind you of Lilly’s endearing letters to Ellen in It Ends With Us. After a fight with her dad, April packs her life belongings and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to create a life that’s hers.
As riveting as It Ends With Us, Allison Larkin’s The People We Keep chronicles the people April meets on her journey to discovering herself and the lengths we will go to garner a sense of belonging. If you’re looking for a book that will make your heart do somersaults, this is it.
Content warnings: Abandonment, sexual assault, Death of parent, Child abuse
6. Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander
One of the most compelling books like It Ends With Us, Nick Alexander’s Things We Never Said is a bittersweet, emotional tale of love, loss, nostalgia and heartbreak that you won’t be able to put down. You’ll care for the characters like you did for Lilly.
When Catherine learns that she is dying, she decides to leave her husband Sean a box full of envelopes, each containing a snapshot and a cassette tape, in which she recounts every secret she ever kept from him, every unspoken thought whether loving or treacherous; the things they never said. Through the series of recordings, Catherine shares their long love story, but will Sean recognize the story being told? Although the greater part of the story is about the grief that the family is facing, it doesn’t feel like a sad note. Rather, it is filled with a pack of emotions that one could experience in their own or loved ones’ lives.
Content warnings: Suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, death in family.
7. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Devastatingly beautiful, One True Loves is a must-read if you loved It Ends With Us. As teens, Emma and Jesse meet, fall in love, and marry. Jesse, however, goes missing following a helicopter accident and is presumed dead. After three years, Emma returns home and reconnects with a childhood friend, Sam. They begin dating, fall in love, and finally, get engaged. But everything changes when a few months after their engagement, Jesse is discovered and returns home.
Taylor Jenkins (who penned the bestseller Daisy Jones & the Six, in case you didn’t know) skillfully drives the relationships and brings so much suspense that the readers will find themselves torn between the two. And no matter how much you want to avoid it, someone is going to be razed emotionally. This, like Reid’s other works, is a fantastic read that I would love to recommend.
Content warnings: Death, suicidal thoughts, medical trauma.
8. The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
Since we strive to promote diversity and inclusion in books and literature, our list would be incomplete without this elegant story from the Middle East. The book begins and ends in present-day Boston but in between, we are taken to 1950s chaotic Tehran, Iran.
Stationary shopkeeper Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite customer Bahman, a young passionate activist with a burning desire for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry. Roya, who is a daughter of progressive parents, falls deeply for him and they both frequent the stationary shop. As their love blossoms, they get engaged despite the rejection of Bahman’s mother. They plan to marry soon. But, unfortunately, the day coincided with a coup d’etat and Bahman never showed up. Sixty years later Roya accidentally comes across Bahman. She has questions: Why did he leave her stranded? How did he forget her? Enthralling yet poignant, it’s a magically written story of love, loss and grief that shatters your heart into a million pieces. Hard to recover from, The Stationery Shop is a book that will make a permanent home on your shelf.
Content warnings: undiagnosed mental illness, mention of a self-induced abortion.
9. Purple Lotus by Veena Rao
Purple Lotus symbolizes rebirth and this novel lives up to its name. It’s an absorbing and thoughtful story about family, love, cultural expectations, domestic abuse and discovering self-worth.
Tara was just eight years old when her parents left her behind in South India and moved to Dubai with their younger son. She grew up with her grandparents and Schizophrenic uncle, deprived of parental love. Succumbing to societal pressure, at the age of 28, her parents married her off to a tech executive, Sanjay in the US. Contrary to the hopes she had about her life getting better after marriage, things go awry. Her past has become her present. Miserable Tara accepts the help of kind-hearted American strangers and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and finds her true love of life. While the pain and sadness of Tara’s story resonate with Lilly of It Ends With Us, Veena Rao’s Purple Lotus has themes of women empowerment and self-realization at its core.
Content warnings: Domestic abuse, abandonment.
10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Filled with deception and secrets, We Were Liars is a mysteriously painful read, much like It Ends With Us. The story is deftly executed and will have the readers on the edge of their seats.
Every summer, four liars of the title visit a private island that belongs to the super-rich Sinclair family. Protagonist Cadence Sinclair, aged 15, is accompanied by two other grandchildren, Johnny and Mirren, and an outsider, Gat with whom she falls in love. At the end of that summer, she meets with an accident. Some kind of memory lapse or illness, she can’t remember what happened, how or why. All she knows is that she was found at the beach all alone, dressed in underwear. Quizzing herself with the possibilities of what happened, she decides to search for an answer. All of the migraines don’t stop her from returning to Beechwood for summer seventeen. However, things aren’t quite the same as they were before…
Content warnings: Racism, animal death, child death.
11. Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes
An uplifting and emotional novel that gives us an inspiring breathtaking scope, showing Me Before You certainly lives up to its soul-stirring popularity.
Quirky Louisa Clark knows things. Like how many footsteps between her home and the bus stop. That she likes working in the Buttered Bun tea shop and how much she might not love her boyfriend. What she doesn’t know is she’s about to come crashing down when she needs to find a new job. Will Traynor knows his accident took away his desire to live. What Will doesn’t know is that Louisa is about to burst into his world. Neither knows they’re about to change the other for all time. Although a romantic story, it’s actually the story of a person who feels lost in life when it was snatched out from beneath them.
As immersive and jolting as It Ends With Us, the book is also filled with laughter and shows that anyone can need anyone to pick them back up.
Trigger Warnings: Depression, rape, self-harm, assisted suicide.
12. What You Wish For by Katherine Center
What You Wish For is a heart melting novel filled with love, laughter and color. Sam and Duncan remember each other from a different life; one where Duncan was carefree and Sam hid in the background. However, when the two are reunited their personalities seem to have switched.
Sam is the librarian at the top private elementary school in a quiet seaside town and Duncan has just been hired as their new principal. While Duncan aims to make drastic changes for the safety of the school, Sam is desperate to keep the whimsy of her school intact.
When the school community spirals into chaos and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love―which is the riskiest move of all. It’s an adorable story of courage, taking chances, and finding joy within yourself and all around you — even in the midst of tragedy.
Content warnings: Mass/school shootings, death (of parent), gun violence.
13. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Thought-provoking, self-challenging and completely transporting, Small Great Things is as heart-rending as It Ends With Us. It explores race, prejudice, and motherhood in a pretty daring way. The story revolves around Ruth, an African American labor & delivery nurse, who is faced with an unavoidable situation when a baby of white supremacists parents goes into cardiac arrest. She is the only one there, but barred from touching the baby. Conflicted on whether she should intervene or obey the hospital’s orders, Ruth performs CPR. As a result, she is charged with a serious crime. Picoult’s ability to create such full and vivid characters makes for a complex but enriching read.
Content warnings: Suicide, Hate crime, Racism.
14. Bright Side by Kim Holden
Praised and recommended by Colleen Hover, Bright Side by Kim Holden is one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about. Kate Sedgwick’s life has been far from ordinary. She’s been through a lot, yet she’s always remained bright and positive (her best friend Gus called her Bright Side for a reason). Kate is a strong-willed, humorous, intelligent, and musically skilled young woman. She’s never believed in love, either. So when Kate moves from San Diego to Grant, Minnesota, for college, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. They’re both aware of it. They all have their own reasons for fighting it, though. And Each of them has a dark secret. And when secrets are disclosed, Some will help you heal…Some will put an end to you! If you’re looking for a hit-you-in-the-feels-with-humor-mixed-in book, I HIGHLY recommend Bright Side.
Content warnings: Death of parent, eating disorder.
15. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Filled with so many great lessons and messages, They Both Die at the End will stick with you for a long time. The book revolves around two teenager boys Rufus and Mateo, who receive a call from Death-Cast saying they are going to die within the next 24 hours. They are total strangers brought together through an app called Last Friends. Although skeptical at first, they push each other to make the most of their End Day and live the last day of their lives as their truest selves. Although you know Rufus and Mateo’s fate from the title, there’s a lot for you to learn about them as people. In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a masterwork from noted novelist Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, was hailed as “profound” by the New York Times.
Content warnings: Death, gun violence, car accident
16. Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Things We Know by Heart is an endearing and emotional read with a gut-wrenching premise. It’s an unforgettable story about loss, grief, and learning to move on. But it’s also about romance, the first (and second) love. About finding that person when you least expect it. When Quinn’s lover, Trent, dies in an accident during their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the fragments of her now-unrecognizable existence. Whoever got Trent’s heart, on the other hand, has opted to remain silent. If you are into love stories and feelings of those deep fuzzy emotions you will love this author! She writes books that really bring out those feelings that you can’t put down once you start reading. It’s an amazing story that makes you appreciate life and family!
Content warnings: Death, grief, chronic illness.
17. Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino
It takes a truly special book to make us cry, and Wish You Were Here did it for me. This story is all that lost feeling many of us experience upon entering adulthood—figuring out your career and passions, as well as navigating the dating world. Then, one evening you meet the man of your dreams, and embark on a magical night, only to wake up to him being aloof and cold. What happens when you can’t shake that special connection you felt? So begins an epic love story that will make you feel all the feels. If you’re looking for a book with Colleen Hoover vibes, there’s nothing better than Renee Carlino’s Wish You Were Here. It’s a must-read if you like: second chance romance, selfless love, living in the moment, self-discovery and family relationships.
Content warnings: Death, cancer, sexual content
18. Waiting For A Star To Fall by Kerry Clare
Dubbed as a skillfully told story for our times, and a humane examination of power and betrayal, this coming-of-age novel comes with a lot of food for thought. Brooke orbits from working for Derek to becoming friends, to falling in love. Set around the #MeeToo movement, when allegations of sexual abuse are leveled against political superstar Dereck Murdoch, Brooke is left alone to pick up the pieces of what she once was. Still ambivalent, Brooke must sort through everything she dreamed about her life with Derek and her happily ever after. Emotionally challenging and poignant similar to the Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, Kelly Clare gets brutally honest while portraying the main lead that makes Waiting For A Star To Fall Down unputdownable.
Content warnings: abortion, toxic relationships.
19. Delphine Jones Takes a Chance by Beth Morrey
Beth Morrey’s sophomore novel Delphine Jones Takes a Chance (Em & Me in the UK) is an adorable and feel-good story of the new beginnings. Delphine Jones was a wunderkind, celebrated for her intelligence by her peers and teachers alike. But at age 16, she got pregnant and gave up on her dreams. She dropped out of school and since then her life has been in a rut; working dead-end jobs, and taking care of her depressed father and her smart 11-year-old daughter, Emily. Wistful about her teenage years and her boyfriend Adam, one-day things spiral out after having an ugly encounter with a customer from the past. This opens new doors and fresh opportunities for 28-year-old Delphine if she is willing to grasp them.
Overall, it’s a bittersweet story of love, loss, personal growth and second chances with an incredible glimpse of the mother-daughter bond. If you wish to read something lighter after It Ends With Us, then Beth Morrey is worth taking a chance.
20. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a difficult, heart-stopping but necessary work because everyone deserves to live a “normal” life. Being a teenager—what more do I need to say? A challenge in itself right? But in contrast to other teenagers, Norah can’t even leave her house, her mind prevents her from doing that. While she tries to get their grocery delivery from their porch without actually leaving the house, she meets her new neighbor, Luke. Cute, her age and talkative. Against all odds, they become friends and develop feelings for one another. But worries set in—shouldn’t he date someone who can do all the fun things with him & isn’t tied to the house? A solid, easy read for those who are looking to get an intimate look at today’s mental health issues through the lens of fiction.
Content warnings: Self harm, mental illness, panic attacks/disorder
21. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
A dragon short of genre compendium; YA romance, survival, murder mystery and legal thriller might not spring to mind when looking for more books like It Ends With Us. But trust me, if the demographics of southern wetlands fall in your territory, then Delia Owens’ unusual debut Where The Crawdads Sing is an excellent pick.
The story revolves around Kya, or the marsh girl, who lived a difficult life. Abandoned by her family, and secluded from the world, she learned to care for herself with the barest of necessities. She found friendships in the marsh and became an expert in the area. Years later, a man was found dead around the marsh. All fingers point to Kya. Was she involved, or was it an accident? Between watching her life unfold, and following along with the investigation of a possible murder, this book captivates you with an exquisite ode to nature, a poignant coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are all molded by our past selves as children and that we are all exposed to nature’s beautiful and destructive mysteries.
Content warnings: Domestic abuse, sexual assault, racism, child abuse.
22. The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
Chances are that you might have already read Where The Crawdads Sing. But if seeing it on a list of books like It Ends With Us has created another crater for something similar then just pick The Girls in the Stilt House.
Atmospheric and engaging, The Girls in the Stilt House is Kelly Mustian’s debut Southern novel. It follows the story of friendship, family, motherhood, survival and finding your voice. The book follows the intersecting lives of two young girls, Ada and Matilda, raised on the Trace in 1920s Mississippi. One dark night and its events bring them together. They form a fragile bond only to face the dangers of bootleggers and corruption all while trying to survive in the world on their own. They both stumble, find their strength and figure out how to make lives for themselves without relying on others. Emotionally along the lines of It Ends With Us, this novel is a heart-tugging tale of resilience, survival, and redemption that deserves to be on your shelf.
Content warnings: Death, racism, sexual assault.
23. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Tia Williams’ Seven Days in June is by turns tender, hilarious, and intensely sensuous, with its astute observations of Black life and the predicament of modern motherhood, as well as the effects of motherlessness. Eva is a writer attending an event when she runs into Shane, a ghost from her past. They share a rich history, but each has their own narrative. However, in the end, can love save them both? Eva’s experience as a member of Brooklyn’s Black literati, her desire to hide generational tragedy from her daughter while still commemorating their ancestors, and the ways in which fate pulls individuals together are all beautifully captured in Williams’ work.
The novel’s structure is difficult, but eventually satisfying, as it paints a picture of a multi-layered universe. An enticing and emotionally uplifting ride with a second chance trope, highly recommended for all Colleen Hoover fans!
Content warnings: Self harm, Drug abuse, Alcoholism.
24. Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney
From the celebrated author of the Normal People and bestselling debut Conversations with Friends, Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney can be a good pick if you’re wondering what to read after It Ends With Us.
Beautiful World Where Are You follows four friends Alice, Elaine, Simon, and Felix, as they navigate relationships—both romantic and platonic—in their late twenties/early thirties. They desire each other, deceive each other, unite, and then break apart. They are concerned about sex, friendship, and the world in which they live. Is it possible that they’re standing in the final bright chamber before the darkness, witnessing something? Will they be able to believe in the existence of a beautiful world? Rooney has cleverly intertwined real world issues in a subtle way. It’s refreshing to have a fiction novel in your TBR pile that highlights the imbalances in our society and what the characters think about it.
Content warnings: Suicidal thoughts, sexual content.
25. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover’s Reminders of Him is heavy, devastating, and emotional but pure, funny, and inspiring. It is as much of a life story as a love story. After serving five years in jail for a horrible mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, seeking to reconcile with her four-year-old daughter. However, the bridges Kenna demolished are proving to be hard to rebuild. No matter how hard Kenna tries to prove herself, everyone in her daughter’s life is attempting to keep her out. Kenna now has to find a way to forgive herself for her past faults in order to establish a future filled with hope and healing. The book takes readers on an emotional journey, leaving us wrung out and conflicted at times. It’s one of the truly recommended books to read if you loved It Ends With Us.
Content warnings: Car accident, Death, Suicidal thoughts.
It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
An obvious pick for the fans after It Ends With Us is CoHo’s much-awaited sequel It Starts With Us whose cover has already been revealed. This time around, Hoover expands on the Atlas’ side of the story and what comes next for the characters. The novel is set to hit the bookstores on October 18th, 2022.
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