First of all, I am SO not a reviewer of books.

This is not a review.  It’s a compilation of my love of this book and why I love it and what things I love it in spite of.

Okay, it’s a review.

I think lots of aspects of being a “writer” have made it harder for me to be a “reader.”  I used to enjoy pretty much any piece of literature, regardless of plot imperfections, grammatical errors, and the like. 

Meh, not so much now.

I found some glaring problems with this book.  Characters that appeared conveniently, whose plot-arcs were never wrapped up (Eludoxia and the Father on the Train, for example).  I also felt like a lot of the PRETENTIOUS NAVEL-GAZING (thank you, AWers) in the beginning could be cut.  There were also certain things that I wanted from this book that I just didn’t get (*cough*Brian*cough*)

And yet.

And yet Brashares has such a death-grip choke-hold on her characters there was no way for me not to love this.  They do silly, dumb, immature things, though they’re all supposed to be nearly thirty.  They keep their core characteristics that made them the girls we loved in the first four books.  We got the happy endings that we wanted so desperately.  I think that’s the basis for my enjoyment of this novel. 

I got that long-awaited epilogue, where everyone is happy and everything is wrapped up in a nice, neat bow. 

Don’t look at me like that.

I know a happy ending does not a great book make.  I know that sometimes non-happy endings are necessary, and even better.

I don’t care.

I tore my way through this book, and in the end I got a nice, satisfying ending that made me glad I read it.  Which is kind of the point of reading, isn’t it?  To be glad, for one reason or another, that you read it?  Whether or not you got some great insight into humanity, or life, or love, isn’t the whole point to enjoy some aspect of it? 

Well, that’s the whole point for me.