Romance author Colleen Hoover gained popularity this year on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Now, millions of people around the world have read her novels including “It Ends With Us,” “Ugly Love” and “All Your Perfects.”
Hoover is a self-published writer. Her books are sold independently through web stores like Amazon, which can benefit new authors. However, librarian Sima Thomas said an author who self-publishes often makes her wary.
“I was concerned when I saw that Colleen Hoover was self-published because you can’t tell if she is a good writer,” Thomas said. “She didn’t have to get past the doors of getting an agent or getting published.”
While Thomas said self-publishing could be a great avenue for new authors, it can also be a way to avoid going through the typical path that creates a reputable writer.
But even without a publisher, Hoover’s popularity has grown. Thomas said she noticed Hoover’s popularity when, since the beginning of last year, students started asking if the library carried her books.
Thomas said she was initially unsure about bringing the books into the library, specifically Hoover’s most popular book “It Ends With Us” which contains graphic depictions of domestic abuse and gender roles, and she said she disagrees with the way such mature content is represented in the book.
“It felt really regressive in the way it portrayed gender and gender roles within relationships,” Thomas said. “I felt like the abuse was glorified, that the abuser was given a lot of mitigation.”
However, the requests for her books kept coming, so eventually, Thomas added them to the library’s collection.
Junior Grace Corrigan said she is interested in and has read some of Hoover’s books, her favorites including “Ugly Love” and “It Ends With Us.” Corrigan said she enjoys how Hoover creates scenarios that are immersive and detailed.
“I like how detailed they are, and they depict very specific moments very well, so you can always imagine what is happening,” Corrigan said.
While Thomas may disagree with how the characters in Hoover’s books are represented, she said she still understands their success.
“It’s escapist. It’s chill, ” Thomas said. “It’s easy-going reading … I love books like that.”
The escapist and chill vibe resonates with readers like Corrigan who said the plots of Hoover’s books create an immersive environment.
“The storylines are the most interesting to me,” Corrigan said. “They keep me very intrigued, and I never want to put the book down.”
Thomas believes Hoover’s popularity is largely due to social media. Around the same time students came into the library looking for books by Hoover, Thomas discovered BookTok, a part of TikTok that recommends, reviews and reads all kinds of books.
“I discovered that on Instagram reels and on TikTok, there’s BookTok,” Thomas said. “I discovered the two things separately and then realized that that was really fueling the popularity and the widespread knowledge of Colleen Hoover.”
As far as why Hoover’s books resonated with readers on social media, Corrigan said it’s the romance aspect of Hoover’s books that got people talking via social media.
“Personally, I kept seeing videos about Colleen Hoover on my TikTok and Instagram feed about girls raving about these books,” Corrigan said. “I had to see what the fuss was about, and now I’m hooked.”