It Starts with Us is a sequel romance novel by American writer Colleen Hoover, published by Atria Books on October 18, 2022. The sequel was first announced in February 2022 and Colleen Hoover wrote the novel as a “thank you” to fans of the first novel.
The novel pursues from where It Ends with Us ended and center’s on the relationship between Lily and Atlas.
The love story pursues with Atlas Corrigan and Lily Bloom through It Starts with Us nearly a year after they come across each other. she had a daughter Emerson with her ex-husband and neurosurgeon, Ryle Kincaid, is 11 months old now. Lily and Atlas ran into each other surprisingly on the streets of Boston but the encounter is short and sweet because they are both running late for work. After dropping Emmy off with Ryle, Lily returns to work but she unable to stop thinking about her run-in with Atlas. However, she is unsure to text Atlas anticipating the negative response of her abusive ex-husband and father of her child.
Atlas talks to his friend’s son, Theo, about what happened with Lily. Theo motivates him to text her, but when Lily responds rather shortly, Atlas gets disappointed and confused. When Lily returns to her apartment that evening, she finds her ex-husband Ryle and daughter already inside her apartment. Ryle reveals he wants to start having overnights with Emmy like father do usually but Lily denies and says Emmy will not be allowed to stay at Ryle’s apartment overnight until she can speak. She also asks for her apartment key back that Ryle has, and he grudgingly gives it up.
Atlas’ restaurants are being vandalized two times but he chooses not to report it to the police because he discovers only some foods missing in restaurants. He relates to the vandal because he has experience too was once a hungry homeless kid. While inspecting some of the vandalism, he receives a call from his perverse and wicked mother, who he hangs up on and immediately blocks her number.
Atlas brings lunch to the Lily’s flower shop. While he is there, out of the blue Ryle comes in shop. Lily gets nervous & anxious about his reaction to seeing Atlas there, so she hides Atlas in a closet and after Ryle leaves, Atlas and Lily agree to talk on the phone later. While on the phone later, Atlas asks Lily for a date and she agrees. While on the way to the restaurant for their date, Lily falls asleep. Instead of waking her up, Atlas engage himself by reading some of the journal entries that Lily wrote about Atlas when they were kids. When Lily awakens, she finds out they missed their reservation for date and feels sad.
Lily leaves her daughter with her best friend and Ryle’s sister, Allysa, for her date with Atlas. When Lily returns from the date Ryle is there with Emerson watching Finding Nemo on T.V. Ryle is angry because he is upset about that Emerson’s middle name, Dory, is dedicated to Atlas because of the relevance the movie had to Lily and Atlas when they were kids.
Atlas’s mother, Sutton, shows up at one of his restaurants and reveals to him that he has a younger brother named Josh and she cannot find him. Later that night he waits at one of his restaurants, ready to confront the vandal if he/she returns. The vandal returns and Atlas discovers it is his 11-year-old younger brother. Atlas takes him inside the restaurant but calls Sutton the next day. Atlas decides to return Josh to his mother but before he leaves, he sees Sutton abuse Josh like she did to him. Atlas does not want Josh to stay with their abusive and wicked mother so he immediately takes Josh back to his house.
Atlas brings Lily lunch again, a couple of days later. While there, Lily invites him to a friend’s wedding. When Atlas pickup Lily for the wedding he notices the heart tattoo on her collarbone and after knowing truth about tattoo they kiss and Lily tells him he was the reason she got the tattoo. After the wedding, they return to Lily’s apartment and spend quality time with each other. Atlas must leave in the morning because his younger brother Josh is at his house so he writes Lily a note. Ryle shows up at Lily’s apartment and sees clothes
around her living room. Ryle gets jealous and angry and aggressively pushes Lily and she leaves her apartment scared and picks up her daughter Emmy from mother’s house. Lily and Emmy go to Atlas house. While Lily stays there, they become a pompous couple.
Ryle sends Lily aggressive and inappropriate texts throughout the days following the incident. After some time, he shows up at Lily’s flower shop looking for Lily. Lily lets him know that she will be talking to a lawyer about his custody of their daughter because of his aggressive behaviour. He leaves the flower shop angry and Ryle then goes to Atlas’s restaurant and unnecessarily pick a fight with him. Atlas does not engage and instead tries him to take down. Ryle is still frustrated and angry but ends up leaving.
Emerson has a birthday party and while there, Ryle asks Lily to talk but Lily declines and refuses to speak with him alone. she asks Allyssa and her husband, Marshal, if they would be there for Lily while she talks to Ryle. They agree. When they start talking, Lily tells Ryle he needs to attend anger management classes and be supervised while he is with their daughter Emerson. Ryle is enraged and disappoint but agrees to her terms.
Meanwhile, Josh denies his mother’s requests that he come live with her when she appears at Atlas’s house. Josh show determination on living with his father in Vermont. Atlas takes Josh to see his father but Josh decides after watching his father from the car that he wants to live with Atlas and Atlas decide to meets with their mother at his one of restaurant and asks her to give her all parental rights to him of Josh. He also suggests they meet up for weekly family dinners at Atlas’s restaurant. Sutton ultimately agrees.
6 months later, Atlas asks Lily to move in with him and she happily accepts. A year and a half later, Atlas arranging everything is for his and Lily’s wedding with Theo. He excitedly goes over his vows, which include a reference to Finding Nemo.