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It Ends With Us Is Cool And All, But Hollywood Is Sleeping On Colleen Hoover's Most Cinematic Book

Spoilers for "It Ends with Us" and "Verity" ahead.

If you've been on what the kids call "BookTok" or in an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore any time recently, you've probably spotted the brightly-hued covers adorned with flower petals that signify a work by Colleen Hoover. Though Hoover has been writing best-selling books for over a decade, TikTok led to a huge boom in her success in 2021 — particularly for her 2016 novel "It Ends with Us."

Now, unsurprisingly, that book is being adapted into a film, with Blake Lively attached as the lead alongside "Jane the Virgin" star Justin Baldoni as her divisive (to say the least) romantic interest (Baldoni optioned the book originally and will also direct the film). Of course, Hollywood has taken an interest in one of Hoover's most popular books. Like "Fifty Shades of Grey" before it, adapting "It Ends with Us" all but guarantees that fans of the novel — Hooverheads? Can we call them that? — will eagerly flock to movie theaters to watch Lively and Baldoni act out their favorite story. But should "It Ends with Us" really be the first Hoover adaptation that hits the big screen?

What is It Ends with Us even about?

"It Ends with Us" focuses on the relationship between florist Lily Blossom Bloom (yes, she'll be played by Lively, and yes, that's really her name) and Ryle Kincaid (Baldoni, and that's also really his name). After the two randomly meet on a rooftop where Lily is brooding after her father's funeral and Ryle is enjoying his apparent favorite pastime of kicking a bunch of outdoor chairs, they end up brought together by his sister, Allysa, who gets a job at Lily's flower shop (again, these are their names). When Ryle and Lily strike up an unexpected romance, though, things quickly turn sour when it becomes apparent that, just like Lily's late father, Ryle is a domestic abuser. Add Lily's childhood love Atlas and a whole bunch of letters to Ellen Degeneres into the mix, and you've got "It Ends with Us."

As for that title, it refers to Lily's outlook when, after marrying Ryle and suffering numerous instances of abuse at his hands, she discovers that she's pregnant. Deciding that the cycle of abuse will end with her and her daughter, she leaves Ryle and pursues a relationship with Atlas, leading to Hoover's 2022 sequel "It Starts with Us."

So, what about Verity?

If you think "It Ends with Us" sounds plenty cinematic, wait until you hear about "Verity." This dark story is told from the perspective of Lowen Ashleigh, a down-and-out writer who gets a well-paid offer to write under the name of popular mystery author Verity Crawford. According to Verity's husband Jeremy, his wife is totally incapacitated after a tragic car accident (which followed the deaths of their twin daughters), and someone needs to finish her series ... that someone being Lowen. Not only that, but Lowen has to move into the old, eerie Crawford home to look through Verity's notes, at which point she finds diary entries that tell a different story entirely.

With huge "Haunting of Hill House" energy, "Verity" would be much more suited to a big screen adaptation than "It Ends with Us," particularly because it takes so many twists and turns. After Lowen reads diary entries that reveal Verity's hatred of her own children and role in one twin's death, she grows suspicious of the woman, especially when she notices signs that the bed-bound Verity is actually moving around the house. Once you throw in that Lowen and Jeremy get involved right in front of a "catatonic" Verity and a few more murders, baby, you've got a movie.

Should It Ends with Us even get an adaptation?

Arguing over whether "Verity" or "It Ends with Us" should be adapted first is all well and good, but if you aren't terminally online, you may have missed the debates raging over the latter property lately. In writing "It Ends with Us," it seems as if Hoover wanted to bring the very difficult issue of domestic violence to light and start a conversation, but she's started a couple of very off-putting ones in the process.

One aspect that's rubbed critics and readers the wrong way is the outright romanticization of Ryle, a successful, handsome surgeon who gives Lily everything she wants in life. This issue might only get worse with an actor as beloved as Baldoni — who charmed fans of "Jane the Virgin's" Rafael Solano — in that women might find themselves entranced by a character who is, ultimately, extraordinarily toxic. Another is the way that Hoover herself treats the material, which could definitely be viewed as a bit flip. In early 2023, Hoover made headlines in a bad way by announcing a coloring book based on "It Ends with Us," and to say that didn't go over well is a gross understatement. It was later canceled, and Hoover apologized.

In the end, it feels troubling to bring "It Ends with Us" to the big screen: depictions of domestic abuse are difficult to portray, and this project in particular runs the risk of glamorizing it entirely. If Lively or Baldoni decides to make a heel turn when it comes to a Hoover adaptation, we just want them to know that "Verity" is right there.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.