The Student News Site of St. Thomas Aquinas High School

The Shield

The Shield

The Shield

Senior Tatum Grimes eliminates Senior Maggie Payne.
WATER WARS
December 11, 2023
When Love Gets Ugly
When Love Gets Ugly
December 11, 2023
2023 State Champs!
Winter Sports Preview
December 11, 2023
A thrift shop showing the benefits of smart shopping
Smart Shopping
December 11, 2023
Christmas Movie Top 10
Christmas Movie Top 10
December 11, 2023

When Love Gets Ugly

The controversy around Colleen Hoover and her books.

With Tiktok in her back pocket, Colleen Hoover has quickly become an author known by readers worldwide. It wasn’t hard for her career to take off, starting with the release of her debut novel “Slammed” in 2012. The novel was a huge success and quickly set the tone for her growing writing style. Readers instantly loved the relatability of her stories and her ability to capture the essence of everyday life. As Hoover’s reputation grew, she started to release works with emotional topics such as love, loss, and personal growth. Challenging her characters with emotional hindrances in her novels makes the characters seem real, enabling her audience to feel a connection to her stories on a deeper level. 

   There are two sides to everything, and along with the fame and popularity of her books comes controversy. Many view her books as problematic due to the themes of abuse and toxic relationships. “Hoover Haters” makes the argument that Colleen Hoover is using her platform (mostly consisting of teen girls and young women) to romanticize abuse, making it seem like a toxic relationship is what girls need to have that passionate, book-tok romance that so many read about. 

   It Ends With Us (spoilers ahead) is one of the novels that is talked about the most by her fans and critics. It is very popular due to its resurgence on social media, mainly TikTok. The novel takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, and details the story of Lily Bloom who falls for neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid. The two start a physical relationship that quickly develops into more. Things are going well between them, Lily even thinking Ryle might be the man of her dreams, until Lily’s childhood love, Atlas Corrigan, appears after years of no contact. Atlas being homeless at a young age and Lily living with her physically abusive father made it impossible for the star-crossed lovers to be together and they were eventually separated. Ryle, a man who seemed so easy to fall in love with, shows a new side of himself after the return of Atlas. His first instance of violence is pushing Lily out of jealousy, and as the bursts continue, they turn more violent, eventually ending up with Lily laid out at the bottom of the stairs after a violent encounter with Ryle. Lily does leave Ryle but not before she discovers she is having his child, deciding to keep him a part of their future daughter’s life. 

The events of the novel are very traumatic for all characters involved and the “happy” ending that comes at the end makes critics skeptical of Hoover’s choice to write about a topic so heavy as abuse. With the knowledge that her readers are mostly young women, is it fair to say that Colleen is using her platform to romanticize abuse? Yes, Lily does choose to leave her abuser, but critics argue that they don’t think it was necessary to keep Ryle in her story after everything he put her through physically and emotionally. Yes, Lily got her happy ending with Atlas but does the novel’s message and focal points make it okay?  

   Statistically speaking, nearly 20.9% of female high-school students report being physically and verbally abused by their significant other (NCADV). 

The toxic and oftentimes abusive behavior that Colleen Hoover writes about is portrayed through her main characters and could be dangerous for young readers who don’t fully understand the book’s content. This lack of understanding could lead young readers to believe that being involved in a toxic relationship is normal.       

   Colleen Hoover’s best-selling 2014 novel, Ugly Love has also been met with controversy for similar behaviors portrayed in It Ends With Us. The main character, Tate, falls for Pilot Miles Archer, but their interactions are transactional throughout the novel, never anything more until the end of the book. Overall, the stereotypes that Colleen Hoover writes her characters around might be problematic and are often considered damaging to the minds of young,  impressionable readers. 

   Again, there are two sides to every story and Colleen Hoover stands firmly with her side.  After the release of It Ends With Us, Hoover opened up about her childhood and shared with her readers that she, herself, experienced abuse first-hand, being a victim of her own father’s rage throughout her childhood. She then admitted that It Ends With Us was inspired by her experience. Critics are quick to judge her for her writing style without considering the possibility that her writing is a way to express herself and the events of her life in an influential way. Having first-hand experience with a dark topic such as abuse makes it harder to criticize her for incorporating them into her novels. The critics have a lot to say about Hoover, but as she continues to open up about her past it’s important to consider her story and what made her portray love as so ugly.       

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Shield

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maeve Sloan, Reporter
Maeve Sloan is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas. This is her first year as a reporter on The Shield.  At Aquinas, she participates in managing the rugby team. Out of school, she likes to hangout with friends, listen to music, and go to the gym. Maeve is very excited to be writing for The Shield this year.
Alexandra Ridge, Reporter
Alex Ridge is a Senior and Reporter for The Shield. It is her first year on staff. Outside of school, Alex spends most of her time with her friends, finding all kinds of things to do around the KC area. Along with The Shield, Alex has also taken on her first year as a part of the yearbook staff, so she will spend a lot of time reporting her observations to the Aquinas student body and is excited to take on the task.
Donate to The Shield

Comments (0)

All The Shield Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *