It Starts With Us Book Club Questions & Discussion Guide

The highly anticipated sequel to one of Colleen Hoover’s best-received novels, It Ends With Us, is finally here. It Starts With Us picks up with Lily and Atlas directly after their chance encounter at the end of It Ends With Us. Just like its predecessor, It Starts With Us grapples with the serious topics of overcoming abuse, fighting for the love you deserve, and breaking the cycle of generational trauma. If your book club loved It Ends With Us, you’ll love our It Starts With Us book club discussion guide. 

In this discussion guide, you’ll get a quick book synopsis, some It Starts With Us book club questions, and selected reviews to keep your discussion going long after you’ve finished reading. When you’re ready for your next read, make sure you check out the 3 books like It Starts With Us at the end of this discussion guide. 

Book club questions It Starts With Us, Colleen Hoover book cover.

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It Starts With Us Synopsis

It Starts With Us, Colleen Hoover

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband.

10 It Starts With Us Book Club Questions 

These questions have been tailored to this book’s specific reading experience, but if you want more ideas, we also have an article with 101 generic book club questions.

  1. What do you think is the significance behind the title, It Starts With Us?
  2. What parallels do you see between Atlas’s family and Lily’s?
  3. “Choices helped me to realize that sometimes the hardest decisions a person can make will most likely lead to the best outcomes.” What hard decisions did Lily and Atlas have to make? Did anyone else in the story have to make hard decisions?
  4. Do you think Lily made the right decision by not revealing the domestic abuse in her custody battle? If you were in Lily’s position, what would you have done?
  5. In It Starts With Us, we see Ryle’s same anger issues, but not to the same level we saw in the first book. Do you believe him when he says he has changed?
  6. Colleen Hoover said It Starts With Us would answer all your questions about Atlas. Do you understand Atlas better? What questions are you still left with?
  7. Do you feel sympathy for Ryle?
  8. “But that’s the issue, I guess. We’re people. We’re human. And humans can sometimes be disappointing.” While this novel is a love story, it also focuses on the love between family. Do you think Sutton will be a better mom for Josh?
  9. Do you think Ryle will ever be able team up with Lily and Atlas to participate in an effective and nurturing parenting team for Emerson?
  10. Are you satisfied with the ending of Lily and Atlas’s story?
  11. BONUS QUESTION: Do you think It Ends With Us needed a sequel?

Selected Reviews for It Starts With Us

“If you love Atlas individually, or Lily and Atlas as a couple, this is the book for you… However, I don’t feel like a sequel was necessary. The ending in It Ends With Us was perfect! It left us to imagine our own ending for Lily, and it was realistic! This book was strictly written for BookTok. This doesn’t happen in real life. Women don’t always have a Prince Charming waiting for them after they escape an abusive relationship.”

It Starts With Us shows the after-effects of abuse in every form. It shows how realistic, how tragic, and how even a happily ever after is still shadowed by the ache and reminder of abuse… It Ends With Us was about Lily and her journey to end the cycle of abuse. It Starts With Us is about Lily and Atlas navigating life after ending their own cycles. We’ve reached the shore turned into you can come home now.”

“I was so excited about this book. I ran straight home and read the entire thing on release night… Unfortunately, I was so bored and underwhelmed with this book… Overall, this just didn’t have heart, and the plot felt cliche and generic. This didn’t have the romance and angst and punch I’ve come to love from Colleen. It was nice seeing my favorite characters, but it just left me a bit disappointed.”

“The last book may not have been perfect, but it will always have a special place in my heart! Even though I’m usually quick to call a sequel unnecessary, I’m so happy we got this book because it filled in a lot of the gaps from the last book… Colleen Hoover may raise eyebrows every now and then with her character’s decisions, but she knows exactly how to squeeze your heart in the right places. I love that for her. I will humbly be waiting for her next book.” 


Use our guide to find dozens of book ideas for your group.

3 Books Like It Starts With Us

If you liked the It Ends With Us series and want to do more Hoover, but aren’t sure where to start, then check out our list of ALL Hoover books, in series order, ranked, rated and with a synopsis for each. We also have a list of books similar to It Ends With Us. We also have individual book club guides for It Ends With Us, November 9, Verity and Reminders of Him. We’ve also got guides for Emily Hendry’s Book Lovers and People We Meet on Vacation.

Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid 

“In this powerful novel about the cost of greatness, a legendary athlete attempts a comeback when the world considers her past her prime.”

Carrie Soto used to be the best tennis player the world had ever seen, but 30 years later, Carrie has to watch someone else take that title from her. Never one to back down from a fight, Carrie comes out of retirement in one last attempt to reclaim her title. If you admired Lily’s strength in It Starts With Us, you’re sure to fall in love with Carrie Soto. 

We’ve also got book club guides for Reid’s Malibu Rising, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & the Six.

Things We Never Got Over (Knockemout #1), Lucy Score

Naomi ran away from her wedding and slammed right into Knox, the bearded bad-boy who doesn’t do drama. But when Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, he was left with no other option but to help her pick up the pieces. Just when it seems like Knox is about to return to his simple life, their plans take a turn for the worse and put them in real danger. If you’re looking for your next tragic love story, consider checking out Things We Never Got Over. 

The Truth About Ben and June, Alex Kiester

“A heartfelt debut that explores the complexity of a modern-day marriage when a new mother vanishes one morning, and her husband must retrace events of their recent past to bring her home.”

Ben thought he knew his wife, June, but once she disappears he learns that he actually knew nothing about her at all. In order to find out where June went, Ben needs to understand why she left. Told in the alternating POVs of Ben and June, this couple is sure to stay in your heart– just like Lily and Atlas.

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