There’s no doubt that one of the main must haves for a romance novel is the HEA – known as the Happy Ever After. One of the main reasons I read romances is for that alone. There are enough shitty and depressing things that happen in real life.
Since most romance novels have a HEA guaranteed, I don’t bother to be a spoiler whore to find out what happens in the end. And because of that guarantee, I know that I won’t be surprised with a horrible ending with one or either of the protagonists dying.
So you could have hit me over the head with a shovel last night when I was happily reading what I thought was the most lovely YA romance, when within the last 5 pages, WHAM!
The heroine died suddenly.
I was like, NO WAY.
So I re-read the scene again, and then my NO WAY turned into a OH NO FUCKING WAY.
From looking at the cover and reading the blurb, IMO it was marketed as a YA contemporary romance. It had a cheery bloody cover. Why would you market it as a romance and have the heroine die in the last 5 pages! Don’t you know the HEA rules?
Then someone mentioned to me on twitter last night – after I vented my anger and disbelief to other romance lovers – about a bait and switch. And I think in this case, it totally was. You bait the reader with the cute happy cover along with the cute blurb. You make the story as lovely and cute as possible, then at the very end, WHAM. You pull an almighty stinker without any warning.
So now I’m wary about YA contemporary romances, and I’m now going to become a spoiler whore. So thank you very much author who shall now be known to me as the ‘authorwhototallyruinedthebookIwasreadinglastnightandturnedmeintoaspoilerwhore’.
But don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with books that have protags dying. I just choose not to read them. But when a book is marketed as a romance, am I wrong to expect a happy ending?
So my fellow readers, what say you about the HEA? If you see a book marketed as romance, do you expect to have a HEA?