I recently completed this book I (temporarily) DNFed back in August: The Happy Ever After Playlist. Not to say I didn’t like it (I actually did enjoy it), but around 40 pages from the end, I realized I know exactly what is going to happen, so why bother.
You see, what I’ve seen is that stories that are romance-centered have the same general story arcs:
We begin with two love interests. They either meet, meet-again, or… the point is we begin with a relationship that a potential romance can be built from. Over the course of much of the story, the two get to know each other better. They fall in love, as is customary. Life is good. They are in their own little happy bubble. BUT THEN, conflict arrives in their lives head-on. This conflict has been building in the background throughout the story. One love interest must have had some idea of this developing conflict, as it must affect them and their relationship personally. This conflict is the reason the love birds break-up, separate, or break-contact. After, there is the part where the love interests are broken and sad that their relationship ended. There is regret and the acceptance that they will never find another person better for them. This leads us to the grand finale. One love interest must ultimately have the realization that they need to get their ex-love back because they are the one. And this is where you get the race against the clock. Time is running out and they must reach their one and only before they lose their chance once and for all. Here come those famous airport scenes, those grand confessions of love. In the end, they do get there happily ever after (as far as the story goes).
The problem is that once you’ve read/watched one romance, you know how the next one will go. Especially compounded by the fact that contemporary romance takes place in modern day, it makes everything become repetitive, predictable, and mundane.
I’m not saying that I don’t like the genre, it just makes it a lot harder to find a romance that stands out. It all depends on the characters and how well their chemistry comes across. Or maybe it’s just a lucky draw or my specific preferences? My favorites: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and The Decoy Bride (movie). Both guilty pleasure rom-coms that I highly recommend!
The Happy Ever After Playlist – Mini Review
* The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez is the second book in a series, but can be read as a standalone.
I will admit that I do prefer romantic comedies and this wasn’t exactly one. I do remember laughing during the first half of this book but they weren’t incredibly memorable laughs. The latter half was more drama-filled. I would classify this as a contemporary romance.
This book did portray grief in a realistic manner (female MC has lost her fiance prior to the beginning of story) and it also incorporated the goings of the music business and the topic of fame with the male MC. The romance between the two MCs was sweet and didn’t make me cringe as much as it could have which is a compliment.
I definitely recommend The Happy Ever After Playlist if you like the romance genre!