A Beginner's Guide To Colleen Hoover Books Ranked From Best To Worst
Colleen Hoover is one of the most well-known authors right now, with her books absolutely smashing sales records and dominating social media. Many even credit her for re-igniting a forgotten love of reading, as a multitude of her books are fast-paced and easy to get lost in.
Although certainly talented, Hoover faces her share of controversy. Not all of her books meet the mark, and some are even accused of glamorizing abuse. To help you decide which ones are worth the read, here is a ranking of the best Colleen Hoover books based on storyline, characters, and dialogue. This way, you can enjoy the best of what the author has to offer and, maybe, leave the rest behind. Happy reading!
The Best (And Worst) Colleen Hoover Books So You Know Where To Start
A thrilling psychological thriller, Verity veers away from Colleen Hoover's usual genre but it's one of her best pieces of work. It follows the story of a struggling writer, Lowen, who accepts a job working to finish the remaining books in a very successful series of novels after the original author passes away. The job becomes much more than Lowen could ever expect, with a horrifying truth emerging through her work.
When I say this novel keeps you on the edge of your seat from page one to the very end, I mean it. It's one of those books that leaves you thinking about the ending long after it's been closed shut. The only thing to be wary of is reading it at night, as the seriously creepy storyline will have you tossing and turning.
For those who tend to steer clear of Colleen Hoover books thinking they're cheesy or predictable, this story will surely challenge that notion. Hopeless is an engaging and thought-provoking story about a seventeen-year-old named Sky who lives a bit of a sheltered life. However, her worldview is completely changed when she meets a boy with a bad reputation named Dean Holder. Through her time with him, she begins to remember things about her childhood that make her question everything she thought she knew and uncover the truth about her upbringing.
When I first finished Hopeless, I went through major withdrawals after becoming so emotionally invested in the characters and their journeys. With so many twists and turns, the reader is left desperate for more, and Hoover delivers with a sequel called Losing Hope that is equally captivating and a novella called Finding Cinderella which expands the literary universe.
Note: This book does require a content warning, as it deals with potentially triggering subjects such as sexual abuse and suicide.
3. November 9
November 9 went viral on TikTok, and I'm honestly not surprised. Pushing the envelope in terms of what a love story entails, the book tells the story of Fallon and Ben who meet one another for the first time the day before Fallon is set to move across the country. The two spend that entire day together, November 9, and ultimately decide that they'll meet up every year on that same day and reunite. All the while, Ben who is an aspiring novelist is using their story as inspiration for his latest work. As things continue to grow between the duo through their yearly meet ups, Fallon begins to wonder if this story will have a happy ending after all.
What makes this such a stand-out among Hoover's work is it's raw depiction of things like insecurity, complicated parental relationships, and the difficult nature of forgiveness. It has been deemed controversial, however, as some find the plot twist at the end to be unforgivable. Whether you end up loving it or hating, it's definitely a Colleen Hoover book to check out and form an opinion on.
While I'm tempted to put All Your Perfects closer to the bottom of the list simply because of how much emotional whiplash it delivers, I can't deny that it's one of her best books. It's a raw and honest story about a couple, Graham and Quinn, as they navigate a challenging topic for many — infertility. Their struggle with having a child pushes them to revaluate their relationship and decide whether they can move past years of resentment, miscommunication, and secrets.
Although, All Your Perfects is one of Hoover's most heart-wrenching pieces, It remains many readers' favorite. It is rare that a romance author is so beautifully able to capture the reality of the difficulties of a romantic relationship. For many, the book allowed them to feel seen and heard in a way that no other book had before.
It Ends With Usis a complex novel that will soon make the leap from page to screen with its movie adaptation starring Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni. You know they always say that the book is better than the movie, and this book sets the bar high. It is about a woman named Lily who meets a seemingly "too good to be true" handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle. As she begins to fall head-over-heels for him, her first love, Atlas, reappears and makes her rethink her feelings for Ryle.
The book and its prequel, It Begins With Us, both take the reader on an evocative journey filled with twists and turns. The series went completely viral on TikTok and inspired many women with its message of bravery. It does deal with sensitive subjects, such as abuse, that should be taken into consideration before reading.
Nominated for a 2020 Goodreads Choice Award, Regretting You is an excellent read that navigates the complex nature of mother-daughter relationships. Skillfully transitioning from a present-day narrative to flashbacks, the book tells the story of Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara. When Chris, Morgan's husband and Clara's dad, tragically passes away, the two must learn how to co-exist without the man who served as the family anchor.
Through their struggle with grief, they uncover some secrets about the people they thought they knew. The book is high up on the ranking, as it is a complete page turner and the twist at the end will have your stomach dropping. It is a poignant read that challenges the reader's views on family, grief, and resentment.
7. Heart Bones
Heart Bones is a YA novel that serves as one of the best books to get out of a reading slump. It tells the story of a girl named Beyah Grim who has had been dealt a difficult set of cards, to say the least. She grew up in a life of poverty and neglect but worked diligently to secure herself a full-ride scholarship to college. Her mother dies the summer before she is set to attend, and Beyah must go life with her estranged father for a time. Frustrated and eager for the summer to be over, Beyah has little tolerance for the wealthy and brooding boy next door, Samson. However, their chemistry is undeniable and they start up a casual summer fling.
In typical CoHo style, the book is more than just a cheesy romance novel. Beyah and Samson are forced to confront the challenges of their past in order to move on and grow as people. It has a prime spot on this list because of its unforgettable depiction of the reality of trauma and its implications.
8. Never Never
Never Never is a three-part series in which Colleen Hover collaborates with fellow author, Tarryn Fisher. The duo creates an unforgettable series of novels about life-long best friends, Charlie and Nash, who have been in love with each other since they were fourteen years old. One day they wake up and all of their memories, such as their first date, first kiss, and first fight, have vanished, and they are now strangers. Although they no longer feel a connection to one another, they are the only ones who can crack the case as to why they are left without any memories.
One of Hoover's more underrated pieces of work, the Never Never series provides an excellent take on the nature of fate. The cliffhanger at the end of the first book leaves you reaching for the second before you know it. Each book in the series makes you question your existing beliefs on love and captivates you from beginning to end.
Reminders of Him is a riveting and heartbreaking story about a troubled young mother looking for redemption after serving five years in prison for an unfortunate mistake. When she returns to the town where the incident occurred, she looks to be reunited with her four-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, no one is willing to allow her back into her daughter's life, and her only ally becomes a man named Ledger Ward.
This book is in line with what Colleen Hoover is best known for, emotional romances with strong characters and dialogue. The main character's growth and forgiveness towards herself is admirable and inspirational for readers. If you end up picking this one out to read, I recommend picking up a box of tissues along with it.
Layla takes the concept of unconditional love and puts it to the ultimate test. The book is about a man named Leeds who is madly in love with a woman named Layla. He thinks he is going to spend the rest of his life with her, but an unexpected event leaves Layla in the hospital. When she leaves the hospital, she's not the same Layla — in significant ways — that he knew and loved, and he finds himself drawn to another woman.
This book proves that Hoover can dominate in the thriller space, as it delivers the mind-blowing unforeseen plot twists that the genre demands. It leaves you feeling just the right amount of uncomfortable and creeped out to still want to turn the page to find out what happens next.
11. Too Late
Similar to Verity, Too Late proves that Colleen Hoover isn't just a romance writer — she's great at thrillers, too. It is about a woman named Sloan who gets caught up with a notorious drug trafficker named Asa. She starts working with him in order to help pay for her brother's care, and becomes financially and emotionally reliant on him in the process. Asa begins to develop an unhealthy obsession with her that turns dangerous. As this is happening, an undercover agent enters the picture, and Sloan feels an immediate attraction to him. However, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place because if they get together, Asa is sure to kill him.
Too Late definitely belongs in the thriller category, as it is unbelievably addicting and scary. It also weaves in elements of romance that help balance out the darkness a little. The book feels like a strong blend of both of Hoover's strong suits, thrilling storylines and romantic characters.
12. Without Merit
Without Merit is an interesting one of Hoover's books, although it might take a little while to get into. It's a haunting story about a family who lives in a repurposed church. They're anything but ordinary, with the mother once having cancer and the father being married to the mother's former nurse. Merit, one of the siblings, is the one to uncover a family secret that she cannot ignore, and she sets out to expose it and then leave the family for good.
The premise of the story is definitely unique and keeps you on your toes. The complaint I — and many readers — have with it is that it deals with many tough subjects, like suicide and depression, but doesn't give them the weight they deserve. With so much going on, it seemed like these huge things were being brushed away to hurry the plot along.
Note: This book does require a content warning, as it deals with potentially triggering subjects such as depression and suicide.
Although this novel falls in the lower half of this ranking due to its slightly one-dimensional characters, Confess actually does have a number of redeeming qualities. It's about a twenty-one year old woman named Auburn Reed who was forced to face the reality of losing everything important to her. Unwilling to give up, she sets her sights on rebuilding her life and ends up meeting an artist named Owen. She soon discovers that Owen is keeping a huge secret from the world — one he's unwilling to confess.
If you're trying to decide which Colleen Hoover book to pick up first, this wouldn't be my recommendation. While the storyline is interesting, the book is hard to get into at first. In the sea of Colleen Hoover books, it's definitely not one of the worst but it feels a bit unmemorable.
14. Maybe Someday
Maybe Someday starts off as a story you may have heard before. A twenty-two-year-old named Sydney is on top of the world...until she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Distraught at first, she quickly finds herself attracted to her mysterious neighbor, Ridge. The two can't ignore their passion for one another and find themselves falling deeper and deeper.
Unfortunately, the premise feels a bit tired, and many readers felt disappointed in the way women were talked about throughout the novel. It also felt like it was romanticizing cheating at certain parts, making it hard to stomach. Overall, some of the characters redeem the subpar plot, but it's definitely not at the top of this ranking. Neither are the two sequels, Maybe Not and Maybe Someday.
Slammed introduces readers to 18-year-old Layken, who is is trying to remain strong for her mother and younger brother after the unexpected death of her father. She meets a 21-year old neighbor named Will Cooper who helps her regain hope, but things take a turn when a startling revelation threatens to drive a wedge between them.
If angsty teenage love stories are your thing, Slammed may be the choice for you. Unfortunately, the book didn't do a great job of depicting the mature heroine that Layken claims to be. At times, she severely lacked emotional maturity and seemed to take advantage of Will's care for her. While totally awful, this definitely isn't one of Colleen Hoover's best, and it's sequels aren't much better.
16. Ugly Love
Ugly Love went viral on TikTok...but not for the greatest of reasons. The book is about Tate Collins, who meets an airline pilot named Miles Archer. They don't exactly like each other as people, but do share one thing: undeniable attraction for one another. Once they both discover this, they decide to have a friends-with-benefits type of situation. Miles has two rules, though, that Tate must follow in order for them to continue to be together: don't talk about the past and don't expect a future together.
Based on the premise alone, the book isn't really the greatest love story of all time. It really leans into gender stereotypes, and the relationship that unfolds is not one that is aspirational in the slightest. Some of the lines are also down right cringe-y (and TikTok hasn't been shy about pointing these out). I'd have to say that even though not all of Colleen Hoover's books are slam dunks, this one should be a hard pass.
What's your favorite Colleen Hoover book? Let us know in the comments!
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