Colleen Hoover is Overrated

Delainey Root, MVC writer

Colleen Hoover is an American author known for her romance novels. She gained a lot of notoriety after she became popular on “BookTok,” a sub-community on TikTok that focuses on books. She is most known for novels such as “It Ends With Us,” “Verity” and “Ugly Love.” According to the New York Times, she sold 8.6 million print books in 2022 alone. However, I personally do not enjoy her books and their problematic subject matter. 

Hoover’s books tend to have little to no actual plot. They have bad characters with next to no character development and weak storylines covered up with “romance.” The characters are given no real conflict or reason to grow as people; therefore, many characters begin as bad people and end the book with the same toxic and even abusive behavior as they started the book with. Hoover’s books put romantic and intimate scenes at the forefront and ignore the actual storytelling. 

Colleen Hoover also has a habit of glamorizing abusive and horrid behavior to her young and impressionable audience, which is another problem altogether. She often uses violence as an object to add shock value instead of something to be detested. This invalidates domestic abuse survivors’ stories and also makes the far too young teens reading her novels think that the behavior they are reading is okay and appropriate. These children then obsess over these fictional men who have awful behavior, because they are in their favorite book and possibly have one redeeming quality that the children decide to cling to. 

For example, in “It Ends With Us,” the main character, Lily, discusses in her diary how her father beats her mother, and then the book quickly moves on and introduces a boy named Atlas. Hoover then gives Atlas an extreme savior complex, making it very triggering for survivors of domestic violence, but also making girls and boys alike think that the behavior of the parents and the complex that Atlas possesses are appropriate.

The way survivors are treated is completely inappropriate. There is a certain numbness and frankness in the abuse discussed in her novels. Hoover herself does not seem to accept criticism from the people who she is triggering and glamorizing through her books. When being criticized, Hoover has been observed multiple times just blocking the people who are offering explanations of how the books affected them and possible ways to avoid hurting people, claims reports from the Northern Iowan. She also claimed on Instagram stories that the criticism was just “online hate” from “people who know nothing about writing.” Instead of listening or apologizing, she decides to continue her behavior and ignore and take away the choices of survivors who were damaged or offended by her portrayals. 

Another problem with her books is the audience that reads her books. Many of Hoover’s books are rated at 15+ or even 18+; however, they are mostly consumed by young teens and young adults who encountered the books on apps such as TikTok. Even describes Hoover’s books as, “romance and young adult fiction.” The romance books are wildly inappropriate for that age range. The books have very mature and intimate situations portrayed that would not be appropriate for younger teens. 

A lot of the young girls reading her books also fangirl over men with many flaws and often mentally and/or physical abuse tendencies. It can be observed all over social media, especially TikTok, where young girls discuss what guys they love and try to say everyone had their flaws about actually abusive men. Young girls could then begin to think the behavior of these men is okay because they find it attractive or because of how non-seriously it is taken in her novels. 

Colleen Hoover is an author loved by many people and that is okay. It is not a problem to enjoy media that does not have the best storylines or characters, but it is important that the young people who read these books keep in mind that the behavior exhibited is not appropriate. It is a work of fiction. Personally, I will never read Colleen Hoover again and do not enjoy her writing style and lack of sensitivity. 

Colleen Hoover bestselling books, all in a row
Bookshelf with Colleen Hoover books on it
Student reading “It Starts With Us”
“Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover
“Verity” by Colleen Hoover
“It Starts With Us” by Colleen Hoover
(Duncan Schiller)