Happily Ever Afters and Why I Like Them

A common critique I see for concluding books in series is that the final book is too picture perfect, too happy, and thus too unrealistic. I used to voice concerns about this in books too. I'll admit that I shaved off rating stars because of the sickeningly sweet happily ever after I found too common and too unappealing in books.

Now as I reflect on my life so far, amid the few tragedies and downfalls, all the times that things didn't go my way, I realize that at the end of each bad event there was an upswing. Something great happened as a result!

And now I wonder, why do people not like perfect endings? There is so much death and destruction and sadness in our world right now, what's wrong with the heroes being victorious in the end? What's wrong with the main character leading a satisfying and content life?

I want to see the characters in a book have a happy ending after all the trials and tribulations that eat away at their lives. Isn't that what you want for everyone, for them to be happy?

So let's explore some series enders.

Happily Ever Afters: You'll finish this book with a grin, a sigh, maybe an onslaught of happy tears.

Open Ended: This ending is a bit confusing or not completely an HEA. It looks promising and good things are on the horizon, but we readers didn't get that validation!

Finished: This book is completely finite in how it ends. You know what's going to happen or it has already happened. It's probably equal parts shocking, sad, and confusing.

Do you prefer a happily ever after or a not quite perfect ending? Or a devastating one? Or an open one?
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. No matter how cliche it is, I definitely love a good HEA! You're right...there's enough bad stuff in this world and sometimes I just wanna escape it!

  2. I read to immerse myself in an enjoyable story. For me it's not enjoyable unless there's at least some form of a HEA. I'm interested to see what others will think of this. Great post Rachel!

  3. I love happy endings! I know many people say happy endings aren't realistic but it's fiction, it doesn't necessarily have to be, right? And life isn't always bad so is it actually unrealistic to have a happy ending? I don't think so! :) And as you said, the world is often a sad place so why shouldn't books have happy endings? It makes us happy and the characters! It's a win-win situation. :D

  4. I *definitely* prefer happily ever afters, though I don't have a problem with simply hopeful and promising endings like Uprooted and The Winner's Kiss had. That said, some amazing novels I've read could not have ended happily without staying realistic, or really delivering a message.
    Great post, Rachel!
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

  5. Honestly, I feel like there's two types of happily ever afters: one being perfect while the other can be too unrealistic. I think I like to see some collateral damage in the very last book because if everyone survives, it just seems off. Or at least make the main characters lose something in order to gain victory.

    But I honestly wouldn't want my favorite characters to die lol. I'm all for happily ever afters. And I tend to turn away from books if I hear there isn't a happy ending. I often turn to books when my life isn't so great. It's like my escape so I definitely don't love reading books that's are depressing :o

  6. I love happy endings, though sometimes I do think things go a bit too well. The Blood of Olympus, for example, ended happily, but it just didn't seem realistic. I don't really have much of a preference of the type of ending I like most, I just want it to end the most realistically, if that makes any sense.

  7. Honestly, I can get behind a happily ever after. Like you said, there's already a ton of trauma and tragedy in the world and even in these stories, so it's not too much (in my opinion) to want these characters to be happy in the end! But I'm also not against an open ending. It's nice to have the opportunity to imagine my ideal ending for myself!

  8. I am defintely a happily ever after girl myself. I love knowing that my beloved characters have good endings. I loved the ending in Some Kind of Perfect. :)

  9. I enjoy realistic endings, and if that means that some characters get to have their happy ending that is absolutely amazing. But if at the end of the book ALL characters somehow find another character and everything is picture perfect, nobody dies (even if there was like war or something going on) then I will be disappointed. Not because I don't feel like characters deserve a happy ending but because sometimes there needs to be bad things in order for the happy things to be really happy. But of course it really depends on the series.


I read, value, and cherish each and every comment. Although I don't have time to respond to most of them, I make every effort to comment back on your blog! :)