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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

It Started With It Ends With Us

What makes Colleen Hoover so famous and so polarizing
Colleen+Hoover+Books+are+so+popular+that+people+will+buy+stickers+of+her+books%21+Above+is+an+example+of+Etsy+Seller+MasonMade2015+who+sells+these+stickers.+
MasonMade2015
Colleen Hoover Books are so popular that people will buy stickers of her books! Above is an example of Etsy Seller MasonMade2015 who sells these stickers.

In 2020, many teens ran out of TikToks to watch and TV shows to binge, turning instead to what their parents had been begging them to do for years — read. Very few turned to the classics and rather trashy, quick, easy-to-read romance novels gained popularity. Colleen Hoover quickly became the most famous author amongst them. 

Hoover’s books have an inexplicable magnetism to them. Many would credit the almost unimaginable storylines, dynamic characters, and variety of tropes. 

Some students, like Laine Jeffrey (‘25), are most drawn in by her “storylines” and the ways she has composed them. “Even after reading many different authors, Colleen Hoover is still my favorite,” she said. Alex Ozarski (‘24) agreed with this, and said “I like her books because she’s the only author I’ve ever read that makes me forget I’m reading and keeps me in the story.” Lily Gover (‘24) added, “They’re the kind of books that just keep you going and you don’t want to put it down.”

Hoover’s most famous book quickly became It Ends With Us, which was published in February of 2016. The book revolves around Lily Bloom and her toxic neurosurgeon boyfriend Ryle Kincaid. When her high school boyfriend Atlas Corrigan shows up, he changes the dynamic of Ryle and Lily’s relationship. The book was so popular that people posted themselves crying on TikTok over the ending, and the book sold over 4 million copies

Hoover has sold over 20 million copies of her books, including Verity, Reminders of Him, Ugly Love, Without Merit, It Starts With Us, and November 9 – more than Dr. Seuss ever sold and more than the number of Bible copies sold in 2022, according to News24. By the end of 2022, Hoover held six books out of the top ten in the New York Times bestseller paperback list. Her influence has been so dynamic that she made it to the Time Top 100 Most Influential People list in April 2023. 

Hoover’s success can’t just be credited to her writing; social media has played a large role. The hashtags #ColleenHoover, #ColleenHooverBooks, and #CoHo have over 2 billion views combined on TikTok. Not only that, Hoover is known for regularly interacting with fans on social media and using it as a marketing tool for her books. In a recent photo that she posted on June 17 giving a sneak peek to fans of her new book, she replied to many fans’ comments. Although her comments varied in length, many were made as an attempt to start a conversation around her new book. By using social media, Hoover can promote her books and keep readers coming back for more. 

Hoover writes primarily about love and the different ways two people can fall in or out of love. 

Her stories are of love so damaged and fragile that it feels like it’s always about to explode. Her books also touch on topics that many other fictional authors shy away from when writing a romance novel — abuse, sexual assault, and violent death. However, for many people, her stories encompass the non-glamorous side of human experiences with love. One user from TikTok commented, “As someone who is a victim of [domestic violence] I love her books.” They continued, “I think they’re real.”

With Hoover’s success, she has also faced mountains of criticism, but not all of it centers around the content itself. 

Some claim that Hoover glorifies abuse and highlights it, while others say that it’s important to talk about these topics when talking about love. Otherwise, it can be challenging to understand how or when to leave a relationship. For example, throughout It Ends With Us, Ryle assaults Lily and then gaslights her to make it seem like it wasn’t intentional and she was deserving of the abuse. 

This book is based loosely on Hoover’s own experience with her parents — her mom was abused by her dad for many years. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hoover tries to depict how hard it was for her mother to leave her father, even when it was the right decision for her babies. For many, leaving an abusive relationship is not as simple as just breaking up. According to Women Against Abuse, an organization dedicated to helping women break out of abusive situations, there can be a multitude of factors including danger, the repercussions on children, fear of isolation, the cycle of violation, hope of change, a lack of resources, and social barriers. 

More specifically, much of the criticism around Hoover is about her writing style. According to The Duke Chronicle,although easily digestible, [some] have argued that Hoover’s writing is subpar, elementary, and sounds like it belongs on Wattpad.” Lily agreed with this but added, “Even though they aren’t super sophisticated they still have themes that make you think deeply.” 

Much of Hoover’s criticism has also been based on her actions. 

After Hoover’s success with selling It Ends With Us, she decided to follow it up with a children’s coloring book. This received a lot of hate with people criticizing Hoover because the book had violent descriptions of sexual and domestic assault that they believed shouldn’t be broadcasted to kids. However, once faced with the backlash, Hoover apologized and took the coloring book out of production. 

The coloring book was developed with Lily’s strength in mind, but I can absolutely see how this was tone-deaf,” Hoover said in a statement to her Instagram story. 

More than that, the conversation has circled around whether or not her books are worthy of praise. One of BookTok’s — the side of TikTok that rates and reviews books — fiercest debates is about whether or not the books deserve praise. On a video ranking Colleen Hoover’s books, one commenter writes “Colleen Hoover is actually such a good author I don’t know why people hate her so much.” Right underneath is another comment written, “personally I think her books are WAY overrated.” 

So this brings us to the age-old question — who has the right to say if a book is good or not? 

 

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About the Contributor
Leila Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
This is Leila’s fourth year on the staff and her second as Editor-In-Chief. Leila loves The Tower as much as she loves field hockey, peach Snapple, the newest trend, mango vitamin water, her dog, Better Buzz coffee, and Sweetfin Poke. When Leila isn’t writing for The Tower, stressing out over her next test, or playing field hockey she enjoys watching the Chargers with her dad on Sundays, reading, and going shopping with her sister. She primarily writes about sports and the world around us and never is afraid to share her ideas with the staff or the publication. With her second year as Editor-In-Chief, she hopes to have more guest writers and conversations surrounding The Tower than ever.  

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