3 Sentence It Starts With Us Summary
Colleen Hoover’s “It Starts With Us” is the sequel to her popular book “It Ends With Us”, which takes readers on a journey through life after domestic abuse and divorce of Lily & Atlas. The book is a lighter read than its predecessor, chronicling the relationship between Atlas and Lily as they start anew. Fans of the first book will be pleased to learn more about Atlas’ past.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
Actual Book Length: 323
First Published in: 2022
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the book:
It Starts With Us follows the story of Lily Bloom and Atlas Corrigan, who unexpectedly reunite on the streets of Boston. After seeing a vandal stealing food from one of his restaurants, Atlas decides not to call the police, showing empathy for the stranger. Atlas eagerly awaits a text from Lily while she worries about her abusive ex-husband Ryle’s reaction to her dating again. After confiding in his coworker’s son, Theo, Atlas texts Lily but is disappointed by her short response.
Lily returns home to find Ryle in her house, and they argue over her refusal to allow him to keep their daughter overnight. Atlas surprises Lily at her florist shop with lunch, but they must hide when Ryle arrives unexpectedly. Later, Atlas calls Lily and asks her out on a date, and she agrees. Lily shares her concerns over Ryle’s hatred of Atlas due to their past relationship as teenagers, and after Atlas insists, she reads him a portion of her teenage journals.
The next day, Atlas discovers his other restaurant vandalized and receives an unexpected phone call from his estranged mother, which he ignores. Despite her worries, Lily goes on a date with Atlas, and they bond over their past and present struggles. However, when Atlas kisses her, Lily panics and leaves, revealing that she is a survivor of domestic violence. Atlas realizes that he must earn Lily’s trust and respect before pursuing a romantic relationship with her.
After Atlas witnesses vandalism at one of his restaurants, he empathizes with the vandal and chooses not to call the police. Meanwhile, Lily struggles with her abusive ex-husband’s reaction to her dating again. Lily shares her concerns with Atlas, who surprises her with lunch and asks her out on a date. They share their teenage history, and Lily reads Atlas a portion of her teenage journals.
After a third night of vandalism, Atlas writes Lily a note about his history and shares it with her on their date. Lily falls asleep on the way to their date, and Atlas reads from another journal. After their date, Lily finds her ex-husband at her friend’s house, and he grows aggressive.
Meanwhile, Atlas discovers that he has an 11-year-old brother named Josh who is missing. When Josh appears as the vandal, Atlas takes him in and protects him from their abusive mother. Lily invites Atlas to a wedding, and they kiss for the first time as adults. Afterward, they discuss their past. Ryle, Lily’s ex-husband, pushes her when he discovers evidence of her night with Atlas. Afraid for her and her daughter’s safety, Lily escapes to Atlas’s home.
Atlas and Lily become a couple and discuss her custody battle with Ryle. Ryle sends her abusive texts and then shows up at her work. Lily informs him that she will talk to a lawyer about his custody of their daughter, and he storms off to Atlas’s restaurant where he punches him. Atlas comforts Lily and later she spends the night with him, sharing her plan to stage an intervention for Ryle. They discuss their future together.
Atlas’s mother demands to take Josh with her, but he refuses to go and instead goes with Atlas to see his father in Vermont. After seeing his father and learning about his past abuse of Atlas, Josh decides not to reunite with him. Lily meets with Ryle and his family and tells him he must attend anger management classes and have supervised visits with their daughter. Atlas asks his mother to relinquish her parental rights to Josh and invites her to family dinners.
Six months later, Atlas asks Lily to move in with him, and she accepts. On move-in day, Ryle drops off their daughter without incident. A year and a half later, Atlas prepares for his wedding day with Lily, and he writes his vows, including a reference to Finding Nemo, committing himself fully to Lily.