Why Colleen Hoover’s books are dangerous

The potential effects of her books on young girls

Emily Gluskin, Guest Writer

TikTok has become one of, if not the most popular social media apps. With such a large number of users, all with varying interests, the algorithm is set up so that within an hour, the app finds your niche and customizes your feed accordingly. This results in different sides of TikTok. 

Some people may have their feed exclusively filled with pet videos, and others mini-vlogs of people’s lives. One side of this app has been dubbed BookTok. As the name implies, it’s the side of TikTok for readers, filled with recommendations, reviews, annotating videos and anything else that would interest this crowd.

One popular yet divisive author on the app is Colleen Hoover. Some people will die on the hill on the belief she’s modern-day Jane Austen, and others will beg them to pick up a copy of “Jane Eyre” or  “Persuasion” for a taste of good writing.

If there’s one thing both sides can agree on, it’s that Hoover’s most popular book “It Ends With Us,” has been marketed as a romance novel on the app. In reality, Hoover dedicated that novel to her mother, a victim of Hoover’s abusive father, who was also abusive towards Hoover herself. It is not a romance book. It is a story of a domestic abuse survivor.

The fact Hoover wrote a book about the dangers of abusive relationships and domestic violence makes it so dumbfounding when she writes and glosses over a rape scene in another one of her books, “November 9.”

During a sex scene, a female character explicitly says to stop, and her love interest responds with “I’m trying,” and promptly continues. The rest of the scene is written romantically, even though the female character did not give consent.

When someone gives consent, regardless of gender, they have the right to change their mind, and their partner must respect their wishes. She changed her mind. She did not give consent, and that is the textbook definition of rape.

The effects of this scene not only extend to the scene itself, but its impact on young girls consuming the novel.  Circling back to how “It Ends With Us” was marketed as a romance despite being a domestic abuse survivor story, this scene can be easily misinterpreted.

Young girls are on this app and can have this book recommended to them. They can read this positive portrayal of rape and internalize it as something that is okay. Young girls can carry this mindset into adulthood and can be trapped in toxic relationships and suffer from life-long trauma.

The worst part of this situation is not the potentially harmful book that is being promoted. It’s that TikTok is practically an echo chamber, where no one is allowed to express negative opinions about the book. 

People who call out the book for the aforementioned problematic content or express their opinion of not enjoying the book as a whole are harassed by Hoover’s fans. This echo chamber only reinforces the idea that the overall content in the book is okay in the minds of young girls.