Colleen Hoover part one: the woman, the myth, the legend

Grace Schutte

More stories from Grace Schutte

May 10, 2023

What started out as a random book thrift in Vancouver, Canada turned into one of my favorite reads of the year.

Over the last year or so, yet another author has been shot into the stratosphere of popularity, breaking expectations, people’s banks and reading fasts. That author is none other than Colleen Hoover. 

Hoover is a romance author, some of her most notable titles being “It Ends With Us,” “Verity” and “Ugly Love.” If you’ve ever set foot in a bookstore, you’ve probably seen her colorful titles on display tables, endcaps and in the hands of many teenagers and middle-aged ladies. 

I had a front-row seat to the Hoover craze as I watched from the safety of the registers as the ladies hunted down the remaining copies of “November 9” with a glint in their eyes. It’s a highly underrated book, and only true Hoover fans read beyond the big three TikTok recommendations. 

You see, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t read any of her stuff. 

I know that mitigates what I go on to say in this article, but I have borne witness to what Hoover’s books do to people. It has been a true phenomenon worthy of documentation, and I must give my two cents. 

Like the rest of us, I first caught wind of Hoover’s rising fame through TikTok. What’s new? But not only were my typical go-to gals singing Hoover’s praises, but Hoover herself — the Colleen Hoover in the virtual flesh — was out there on my For You Page with her own account. 

I can’t say she was promoting her books as much as she was being a silly gal with relatable content and bookish jokes here and there. I knew nothing about her, but, wow, I liked her. 

As go most trends in my life, I held off reading her books. I got busy or was occupied reading other things like “Howl’s Moving Castle” and cereal boxes and never got around to it. You know how it is. 

But in a great change of events, Hoover began popping up in my life in other ways: She had gotten to my friends — my non-reader friends, and they liked it. 

When I tell you, I have never lived through a shock more core-rattling than this. 

Two of my closest friends who liked reading, I guess, (their words, not mine) found themselves messaging privately about what they’d read so far, what they thought about this scene or that guy, without me, so as not to spoil me when the time came that I picked up her stuff as well. 

I was overjoyed. Oh, yes. Finally, some non-English student friends I could talk about books with in a way that didn’t involve philosophical theory debates and the western canon. Huzzah.

And it wasn’t happening just to my friends, either. There were new customers coming into Books-A-Million every day, looking for her. We had a “Verity” drought for a few weeks because the publisher had to make more — we were selling too fast. 

When that was the case, I started giving the “similar” recommendations, throwing out names like Emily Henry, Penelope Douglas, Ali Hazelwood and Talia Hibbert — anything to satiate the Hoover hoards. 

Having come out the other end, I have a hypothesis based on the reviews and critiques I have seen and heard, and it goes as such: Non-readers love Colleen Hoover; reader-readers think she’s fine. 

I am bestowing upon myself a mission. I will read some Hoover within the semester and test my idea. As a self-identifying reader, we will see if my theory holds true. 

Until then, happy reading, all.

Schutte can be reached at [email protected].