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Happy Endings Are All Alike

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In 1978 Sandra Scoppettone, who would soon become a well-known mystery writer, published the story of Peggy and Jaret, two high school girls madly in love but find themselves the target of a violent plot to punish them for who they are. Part mystery thriller, part love story, Happy Endings Are All Alike was only the third young adult novel featuring lesbian characters and ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 1st 1979 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1978)
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Creepypasta & Squirrels I'm not sure but I do know the one I read in jr. High had a different cover. I first found it in my school library and remember being shocked they'd a…moreI'm not sure but I do know the one I read in jr. High had a different cover. I first found it in my school library and remember being shocked they'd allow a book with rape to be read by kids. (less)

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“And so what if happy endings didn't exist? Happy moments did.”

Sandra Scoppettone-Happy Endings Are All Alike

Does contain possible trigger regarding a very graphic rape scene.

This book has stayed with me since childhood and I recently had the chance to do a reread and found it every bit as compelling as I did back then..

reading this, one has to remember the book was way ahead of its time. Its about the love affair of two high school girls, Jaret and Peggy. They are close friends who fall in love
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melinda
Recommended to Vicky by: omg what is this, I must read this
This book surprised me because all the lukewarm reviews on here and the date of the book's publication gave me this impression that the story and characters would be outdated. I mentally shelved it with other "lesbian classics" like Rubyfruit Jungle and The Well of Loneliness—books I have hesitated to read for six years now. But for Happy endings are all alike, I like the title, I received the book last night just as I was finishing another book, and for some reason I couldn't sleep, so I ended ...more
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq-ya
for starters: trigger warning for rape.

I'm having a hard time articulating anything about this book, but I'm going to try . I think the writing is occasionally a little clunky (especially at the beginning), but on the whole I think Scoppettone does a really good job, especially with the varied voices. I think there are moments where it gets a little preachy (as one might expect from a YA novel from 1978 about lesbians by a lesbian), but I also think it makes a very conscious effort to realistica
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by: Vicky
I first heard about this book in a summary of lesbian young adult fiction: its origins and how far it's come today. This book was mentioned as one of the books back from the days when characters were punished for being gay. And in this novel, particularly horrifically. So I thought maybe I should stay away from this book for a while. And I did.

Now, having read it, I can say the image I had of the book was completely false. It's not a punishment story; it's an exploration of the extreme homophobi
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I really enjoyed this snapshot of late-70s women's lib as found in a YA novel about lesbians. Of course it seems dated now, but still rings true. It reminded me of the movie "Girlfriends," in terms of its portrayal of young feminists. I loved the line about Jaret vaguely wondering how exactly not shaving her legs was contributing to the women's movement. And there is so much "rapping" going on, and not of the Grandmaster Flash variety. Far out, man. Thanks, Lizzie, for bringing this back into pr ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was great! Amazing that this was written in 1978 as it takes in lesbianism, rape and feminism without being in the slightest bit preachy as well as being totally relevant for today. I know I would have loved this as a teenager and it has such an awesome moral code.
The only bit I didn't like particularly was the diary entries - but understand why they are included.
If I had kids, I'd make them read this!
But I don't - so YOU have to read this! Okay? Okay.
Robert Beveridge
Sandra Scoppetone, Happy Endings are All Alike (Alyson, 1978)

I'm not sure what book the New York Times reviewer who called this a "tensely-plotted thriller" was reading, but it sure wasn't this one. Happy Endings, written before Scoppetone became a mystery vamp of the highest order, is a simple, if somewhat twisted, coming of age tale about high-school romance and all the pain and suffering it entails.

Jaret and Peggy are stuck in the lazy summer before college, in the middle of a romance that's
Happy Endings Are All Alike is a 1970s two-girls-in-love (in a small town) story. It's also a rape-and-beating story, and one that is quite explicit, so be warned.

I appreciated each girl's feelings about her sexuality, and each family member's response to it as well. (Am I as liberated a woman as I thought I was when it's my daughter who's gay?)

Then we have the rape story line intersect the sexuality story line, at a time when the idea of not blaming the victim is new. Susan Brownmiller gets a
3.5 out of 5
I don't know much about the social climate in America in 1970s, but the homophobia and sexism that the two lesbian protagonists face in Happy Endings Are All Alike seem very realistic (i.e., infuriating and quite ridiculous (I hope) by today's standards).

Apparently, this book was groundbreaking when it was first published in 1978 because it not only was one of the first YA books to feature lesbian protagonists, but it also lacked common "dead lesbian" or "eventually cured of homosexu
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Scoppettone's Happy Endings Are All Alike is about the lesbian relationship between Jaret Tyler and Peggy Danzinger over the summer before college in 1978. Like all teenagers, Jaret and Peggy are struggling to define their relationship. Jaret is more assured in their relationship. Her mother, Kay, found out, and is relatively all right with it. But Peggy is still unsure especially with her older sister Claire threatening to tell their emotionally fragile widower father about Peggy's "devi ...more
This is one of those books that I read more for the history than the story itself. I can only imagine how groundbreaking this novel was when it was first published in 1979; not only does it focus on the lesbian relationship between two teen girls (and, altogether, it's painted in a good light), but it also mentions the Women's Liberation movement, too. So, yeah, definitely a book that was probably given the stink eye quite frequently.

The book does have a tendency to come off as dated. The charac
I felt like this YA novel from 1978 got so much right. It is so very 1978, and it is fascinating to see where LGBT issues stood then, and for a book aimed at, I guess, early teens, this wears its feminist credentials proudly, doesn't over-simplify, and flies the rainbow flag. The issues that Peggy and Jaret have to deal with range from well-meaning friends being embarrassed to undress in front of them, liberated parents struggling with their own unexpected prejudices, to the awful attitudes of t ...more
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Somehow, I missed this YA title when I *was* a YA - probably I was busy re-reading MHL or Rosamund DuJardin!

This is an amazing book, all the more so since it was published 30 years ago. It's the story of two high school graduates - both female - who become lovers and then deal with a horrific aftermath that includes the sexual assault of one of them after a quarrel.

It's a bit of a period piece, given the slang and the wholesale adoption of early feminist phraseology, but still an amazing book.
Amy Rae
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Definitely not a happy book, but one with a surprisingly hopeful ending for a pre-Annie on My Mind YA novel about lesbians. The fact that it includes an incredibly traumatic event for one of the lesbians in question--(view spoiler)--is probably part of why it isn't remembered with such warmth and positivity, but the book offers a valuable perspective that addresses a reality of many people's l ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I learned of this book via Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, where the great YA whisperer Lizzie Skurnick raved about it. It's ground-breaking for its time in several ways: as the description says, it's a teen lesbian romance from a time when few existed, and it contains a significant rape subplot.

The story involves the romance between two girls in upstate New York in the summer before they go to college. One is sure she's a lesbian, one doesn't want to commit. It's t
This is one of the books that still makes me crave for some kind of miracle to happen that would reverse the whole sad ending even though the book is about to finish. I was surprised I didn't find a review on it on Wikipedia and goodreads only has 9 reviews so far!, which gave me the false impression that I shouldn't be too excited about reading it. But now I cannot even find proper way to write a review about Jaret and Peggy's story, and feel like throwing bunch of adjectives and phrases to des ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Sep 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013-15
This has got to be the worst written book I've ever read.  It had so much potential, too!  It's full of interesting people--the lesbian lovers, Jaret and Peggy.  The jealous, bitter older sister who wants to learn psychology as a weapon.  The mother who is a little more intelligent than her husband and so treats hims like a son.  The younger brother, trying to struggle out of adolescence without much in the way of a role model.  The good friend Bianca, unfailingly honest as she struggles to unde ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I adore this book. I read this book a very long time ago when I was much younger. A very good look at what it was like to be gay an out in the late 1970s early 1980s. It's like a moment in time that you can go back and relive is many times you want to read the book. I really enjoyed the characters, Jaret especially. She reminds me of myself. I think that when you read a book and there's a character in it that you can really relate to and reflect on is a beautiful thing. Foster's character is bea ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, queer-ya-list
I enjoyed this for what it was: an experience of historical context, rather than reading it as a story I might pick up fresh from the shelf today. The terminology made me chuckle (perhaps because my mother has a tendency to over-use a word/phrase once she has found it, as two characters in the book do).

What struck me was that it had a happy-enough ending when it all wrapped up, which is *still* sadly rare. Things are definitely improving there, but seeing it end with the two together in whatever
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very much a book of the 70s, but a lot of it still rung true. It's sort of staggering how little has changed in a lot of ways. This easily could have been an Issues book (in addition to the girls in love, one was raped), but the characters pushed the story. I liked the various perspectives - Jaret's parents were especially great. Kay was interesting and I could only see Bert (despite the descriptions of how hot he was) as Burt Hummel from Glee. Very similar in their love and support - wh ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Well, it's not exactly The Well of Loneliness, but it is an interesting read from a historical viewpoint. I have to admit that I had a hard time finishing it once I realized where it was heading. The copy I read was actually tear-stained.

A good reminder of how far this country has come... and how far it hasn't.

Popsugar Reading Challenge Item 17: A book a friend recommended. (Thanks, Alicia.)
Dannica Zulestin
I was surprised by how much I liked this book considering a) it's kind of old, published in 1979, and I don't usually like vintage YA, b) it spends a ton of time on polemics and philosophizing and c) it's quite dark in some ways. Yet somehow I sped through it and even the ending left me feeling oddly satisfied and relaxed. So, uh. I'm gonna try to unpack it a bit.

The Dark Stuff
I knew a lot of vintage lesbian lit had dark endings, violence, therapy, break-ups etc but I still was lulled into compl
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, today, the story seems antiquated and all that, but I think it's a good look into a past we shouldn't forget.

I enjoyed reading this book, but the ending seemed forced. I think there should have been a little more elaboration on Peggy's character and her decision making at the end. It seemed like the author wrote a story, was behind her deadline and just finished it without explanation.

But I would recommend this book.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
At first it seemed (to me) like a nice book where no huge twists or drama will play. But then there comes the part where Mid starts his terrible gazinga, and personally I thought at that point it went downhill. I thought it was a bit too extreme and damaging for their relationship therefore impossible to give it a happy ending. (should also mention that the ending was pretty vague as well) It does give you an insight on how homosexuality and sexism was viewed back then.
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Kind of delightfully quaint. That '70s slang makes it feel way more dated than anything I've ever read. Far out, man. Anyway, I wonder what I would have thought of this if I'd gotten my hands on it ten years ago. It's well-intentioned, but not very skillfully written. And there certainly isn't enough actual interaction between Jaret and Peggy to make it worthwhile. Really glad that Jaret didn't hesitate to name her attacker, though. Fuck that guy.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It doesn't matter how many times I read this book I still love it as much as the first time. This was the first book I ever read with a lesbian romance in it, and the characters are as fresh as the first time. It's an interesting g insight to the late 70s while there being bits that still strike just as true today. But Peggy and Jaret are great characters, and the ending is so full of hope!
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
A product of it's time. The language takes me back.
It was a pleasant afternoon escape reading about young love. Unfortunately, there is always a tragedy and the one in this book is often used yet still relevant today.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Nov 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: Shelf Discovery
I can't help thinking this must have been somewhat groundbreaking for its time ... but now it's mostly sort of like a sad (and somewhat angry-making) look at the past.
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Classic lesbian teen novel from 1978. There are cliches, for sure, but it's a surprisingly hopeful book for that time and that topic.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love that Lizzie Skurnick books are bringing back these "classic" YA novels from the 1950s-1980s.
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Also wrote as Jack Early.

Sandra Scoppettone first emerged as one of the best hard-boiled mystery writers using the name Jack Early for her first three novels that included A Creative Kind of Killer (1984) that won the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America for best first novel. She had started writing seriously since the age of 18 when she moved to New York from South Orange, New Jer

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