Tori Miller | News Editor
*Warning: Contains mild spoilers for “Verity” by Colleen Hoover*
Plastered all over BookTok For You pages and in the front stands of every bookstore across the nation is the name Colleen Hoover. Blowing up and becoming a self-published phenomenon, Hoover has made waves for her quick-read romances with gripping plot twists. But are her books really as good as everyone makes them out to be?
For those who have been living under a rock, Hoover is a New York Times bestselling author with famous titles such as “Ugly Love” and “It Ends with Us.” While most of her stories use romance as the focal point for marketing, all of her books deal with deeply triggering domestic issues. Having darker and deeper themes in a book isn’t inherently a problem, but the marketing of her books leave out details revealing the truth about CoHo books— they only depict toxic relationships instead of the swoon-worthy romances that social media promises.
As an avid reader, I know how annoying it is when someone claims they don’t like an author but have never read their work. To hop on the Hoover-hype train, I decided to read “Verity” last month to better understand what everyone was obsessing over. “Verity” is regarded as her best work of literature and the one that stood out compared to her other novels. If this was the case, why did the book receive a one star rating from me on Goodreads?
The plot was predictable. The characters were uninteresting. The story tried to make me root for a husband to cheat on his wife, which I would never condone in a million years. There was nothing “romantic” about the story between Lowen and Jeremy, so why was this marketed to me as a romance book on social media? Although “Verity” was an incredibly fast book to read, there were so many problematic elements scattered throughout the book, which have been recognized in her other pieces of work as well.
If this was supposed to be her best book, I’m terrified of what her other books are like. What genuinely terrifies me the most though is the young audience of TikTok seeing BookTokers recommending Hoover as a revolutionary modern romance writer and a way to read books quickly. If 25% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10-19, I’m scared that younger readers will read these books (which contain explicit scenes) and set CoHo’s poorly written men as the standard for romance in the real world.
Before all the romance-book-reading girlies come for my throat for dissing something they like, I’m not saying anyone who enjoys Hoover’s writing is wrong or doesn’t have valid opinions. The purpose of this article is to make you stop and think about the repercussions of Hoover’s marketing team on future generations of romance writers and readers. If you want a good modern romance book, read something by Christina Lauren or Emily Henry instead.