If you are a Colleen Hoover fan, you must be knowing who Atlas Corrigan is, right?
Lily Bloomwood’s first love, long before she met Ryle Kincaid, gets a major role to play in this sequel to It Ends With Us.
And here we are, seeing Lily and Ryle navigating their co-parenting relationship until Atlas resurfaces after two years of separation, leaving Lily excited about a second chance at true love. But with Ryle still very much present in their lives, things get complicated real quick.
With alternating perspectives between Lily and Atlas, this novel, filled with emotions upto the brim, picks up right where its prequel ended, giving readers a chance to understand Atlas’s past and witness Lily’s journey toward a new life filled with love and navigating the complexities of a jealous ex-husband.
In this discussion guide, we’ll have a look at some book club questions for It Starts With Us and why it’s a must-read for anyone looking to find out whether giving someone a second chance is worth it or not.
And in case you want to read what the book is about and know my opinion, I have a detailed blog post here – It Starts With Us Book Review.
The post might contain affiliate links. For more information, read our disclosure. Also, these questions contain spoilers.
Book Club Questions For It Starts With Us
- The theme of “family” plays out in various ways in the novel. Lily’s family background is explored through her experiences with her abusive ex-husband and her struggles as a single mother. Atlas’s family is also a major focus, particularly his estranged relationship with his mother and the introduction of his younger brother, Josh.
Do you think the novel has explored the complexities of family relationships, the impact of past trauma, and the importance of chosen family in a proper way?
- The prequel to this book, was able to find its place once again among the bestsellers in 2022 (inpite of being published much earlier), all thanks to the BookTok challenge. In fact, Publishers Weekly stated that in the first half of 2022, it even outranked Where the Crawdads Sing.
Do you think the publication of It Starts With Us is in direct correlation to the success of its predecessor?
- Ryle, upon discovering evidence of Lily’s night with Atlas, becomes extremely aggressive and storms off in a fit of rage. He starts sending Lily a series of verbal malignant text messages in the days following his outburst, and then eventually shows up at her work.
How much did you start hating Ryle based on these particular incidents?
- Lily reveals that she has a tattoo on her shoulder that was inspired by Atlas. The tattoo is a symbol of the connection they have had since they were teenagers and serves as a reminder of their bond.
Was this an “awe” moment for you while reading this novel, because I surely blushed after reading this particular part?
- Atlas is frustrated with his mother’s lack of concern for his brother and the potential legal trouble she faces if Josh does not return.
Do you think it was a matter of his mother’s refusal to accept responsibility, or is there something deeper at play in her relationship with her sons?
- Throughout the course of the book, Lily learns how strong she is and discovers her own inner power that is capable of taking care of those around her – including Ryle – despite how difficult it may seem at times.
Is this a sign that, as women, we sometimes underestimate ourselves and what we are capable of?
- Lily’s journey towards self-discovery and empowerment greatly affects her relationship with Atlas. Through her experiences with Ryle and her childhood trauma, Lily has learned to doubt herself and to be hesitant to trust others. However, her relationship with Atlas allows her to begin to heal and trust people again. As she gains more confidence in herself and learns to trust her own instincts, Lily becomes more comfortable in her relationship with Atlas and is able to fully embrace their deep connection.
Do you think that this newfound sense of self-empowerment allowed Lily to be more assertive in her interactions with Ryle and to pursue her own happiness, even if it means causing conflict in her relationship with him?
- Remember that part where Atlas attempted to reason with Ryle and asked him to stay and discuss his problems, but Ryle refused and stormed off instead?
Was this a sign of immaturity, or was this a sign of Atlas’s reluctance to confront his own problems? In your opinion, what could Atlas have done differently in order to better handle the situation?
- When Atlas’ mother visited his home, he asked her to end her parental rights to Josh so that he could live freely without fear of being taken away again.
Was it wise for Atlas to make such a request of his mother? What other solutions could they have explored instead?
- Through Atlas’s adoption of Josh, both brothers are able to experience the family unit that they never had before, and they find stability and love in each other. Atlas also provides Josh with the space and support he needs to navigate his own relationship with his father and protect him from further exploitation.
Discuss how Atlas gained a newfound hope for the future and confidence in his ability to navigate past trauma by caring for and protecting Josh.
- For Lily and Atlas, parenting Emerson and Josh serves as a way for them to practice these skills and, ultimately, heal from their respective traumas. By offering the children the care they never received, Lily and Atlas learn to trust their instincts and take control of their lives.
I personally feel this is an act of reparenting i.e. providing someone with the love, care, and support that may have been missing during childhood. What’s your take on it?
- By the end of the book, Atlas’s relationship with his mother has significantly improved as she agrees to remain in contact with him and attend family dinners every week.
Is this a sign that no matter how much we are angry with our parents, we should always confront them and try to work through our differences?
If you liked this set of questions, here are some other things for you to explore.
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