For What It's Worth

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

review: the truth about happily ever after by karole cozzo

31145157Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa's perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn't have to do it alone. With her friend Miller's support, she's determined to prove that she's more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she's finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she's ready for something real. ~

Source: ARC provided via ALA


A, mostly, enjoyable read that flips the traditional HEA trope and borrows heavily from pop culture fairy tale references.

Alyssa starts off with her Happily Ever After. She works playing Cinderella at a local theme park and her true love prince, who she met last summer at the park, will be returning for this summer. She’s hoping he’ll put a ring on it and life couldn’t get much better. But once Jake returns things don’t fall back into place as easily as when they started their whirlwind romance.

This book is listed as YA, and while it mostly feels YA, the characters are *new* adults - living on their own and going to college.

What I really enjoyed about The Truth about Happily Ever After:

- I like how this story flipped the HEA concept on it’s head. Your first love is rarely your forever love. You’re young, starting new careers and lives. People change and that’s ok and Cozzo explores that in a really great way. Some relationships are just meant to be summer flings, sometimes people are right for you at that moment in time but not long term. It hurts but you move on to new adventures and loves.

- I also enjoyed the various types of girls that populate this book. Alyssa is full on princess – enjoying pink sparkly things, fashion, sororities, and uncomfortable heels. While some of the other girls aren’t into that at all and there was no judgement either way. And the romance was the same – acceptance for who you are – not who I want you to be.

- There’s a bit of conflict with one of the girls (I don’t want to spoil too much here) and I loved that she wasn’t made out to be a villain. Alyssa and her may not ever become besties but I enjoyed how it was handled in a mature way instead of catty.

- Getting a behind the scenes peek at a theme park was fun! After I had read this, I happened to be down at Disney and saw many of the workers getting ice cream and acting exactly as described in the book when they got off shift so A+ for accuracy lol And I liked the *class divide* between the Princesses and the furs (the people who played the animal characters). 

- There were a lot of great and devoted friendships here. Just like the romances, they ebbed and flowed but I think that’s natural for that age.

Nitpicky things:

- As I said earlier, Alyssa is full on princess. No judgement….but that’s not me lol I just couldn’t relate to that much positivity and girliness. She LOVES being a princess, a sorority sister and sparkle junkie. I. Am. Not. That. Person. lol It was important to set up though – because when her HEA crumbles we get to see another side of her that helps her grow – she stays true to herself but a better version of that and I had a much better time with the second half and a flawed Alyssa.

- The sorority sisters could be snobs. They loved Alyssa’s new male friend, Miller. But as a summer fling – not a commitment guy – because of his lack of money/social stature. It’s hard for me to comprehend how you stay friends with people like that even if those aren’t your own values.

-Alyssa’s weight. You need to have a certain look to be a princess at the theme park and there are frequent weigh ins and body checks there. I believe that probably does happen even if I wish it weren’t true and I like how the author shined a light on outdated beauty standards and the effects that has on teens.

I’m pretty sure Alyssa has an eating disorder?? She obsessively tracks her food,weight, workouts and hides her notebook. Miller brings it up to Alyssa but then also says later that he knows she doesn’t have an eating disorder because he saw her chow down steak. Uh – yeah – that’s not how that works. It was just a weird thread that kept running through an otherwise great story but wasn’t fully explored.

Final thoughts: Cute book with a lot of great themes about friendships and romantic relationships as teens transition to adulthood. It touches on the pressures from beauty standards and hints at bigger problems for Alyssa but didn't flesh that out as much as I would have hoped.


  1. Sparkle junkie, lol. I do like some but not insanely much

    1. I enjoy an occasional sparkly thing but Alyssa and I are pretty different people lol

  2. I agree that I am not like Alyssa at all but I liked her character at all. I am not sure she had an eating disorder but it wasn't healthy how she handled it all for sure. I think towards the end she started to become a little better though. Her sorority sisters were not my favorite but I liked the girls she worked with. I agree it was cute. Great review!

    1. I liked her too. She was a really good person at heart - even if I couldn't relate to her. She reminded me of myself and my BFF in HS lol

      I tend to agree with you about the eating disorder. The pressures were there from her job and I think she was borderline but with other influences, like Miller, she was letting some of it go towards the end.

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  4. I like the sound of this and the HEA theory I agree with. Great review!

  5. Full on princess is a lot to take in. Whew. lol

    1. That's definitely not to say I didn't like her! But I just can't relate to that type of personality. But she does change a bit in the second half.

  6. Bummer the idea of Alyssa having an eating disorder of some sort wasn't addressed more. I don't think I could fully enjoy all the pink and princess either. LOL Glad it was a nice one overall though.

  7. Ooh didn't know Karen had a new release. Loved her previous book How to Keep Rolling After a Fall so would like to check this out. Sounds like an interesting enough story, and I love books about friendships and not just romance. Will like to see how the story plays out with the character having image issues among other things. Thanks for your honest review. Glad you liked it for the most part.

  8. Sounds cute, I'll check my library for it later on :)

  9. sounds a little too girly for me, I think the MC would irritate me

  10. Yea, the princess thing is why I probably wouldn't have looked at this one at all. You do make a compelling case for it even though I'm not like that at all either. Hm... might have to try it just to see if I find something to really like about it.

  11. This sounds like a good read although I'm not sure about the YA with adults, why not make it NA and be done with it? But I haven't read a similar story so that's a plus, great review!