This is a common discussion topic among writers, and readers as well. Readers discuss this to express their ideas on their 'idea endings', and writers talk about this to decide the perfect endings for their fantastic stories and adventures. Ultimately, we're all discussing this one thing: What makes a good ending?
Anyone who goes for 'Hopeful' or 'Bittersweet' endings is because they think HEAs are lame, 'cheesy, and unrealistic. But here's the catch people: you don't read books to be 'realistic'. We all read to escape. It's the one thing that is same for all of us, anyone who reads and loves reading.
The reason we read is to get happily ever afters. We want happiness, and some of us can only get it from reading. We already have enough 'reality' by living. The purpose of reading is not to be realistic, but to keep our brains from drowning in misery and end up in depression. I'm not exaggerating.
I'm a total sucker for happy endings. I get so drawn into the book, it always devastates us when we read bittersweet endings like Fallen and the Legend series. And there are authors like bloody Marie Lu who LOVES to pull little stunts like that (I will never forgive her for that. Both series she wrote has one hell of a bittersweet ending). Even BOTH of my favorite series, Air Awakens by Elise Kova and The Black Mage by Rachel E. Carter, had a bittersweet ending. I can't even have least one good ending to lean on to and not die emotionally from, but no. They just think it's so good to have their little twist endings.
Now, I understand authors write bittersweet endings because like readers who don't like HEAs, they want 'different' endings. They don't want cliches. And I respect that (But can it please not be my favorite series).
I used to think that way too. I'm always complaining how 'oh, I want to see more bittersweet endings', and 'I'm so sick of cliches'. Until the day I crashed face first into my first bittersweet ending. And I was like; NEVER AGAIN.
All I'm trying to say here is that I understand perfectly and respects anyone who prefers Bittersweet endings over HEAs, because that's their own opinion. But understands that HEAs are important to story telling, and their very existence is the reason bookworms uses reading as an escape. So please, stop saying that Happily Ever Afters are full of shit. They really are vital to a reader's happiness. They're the anecdote to life, a hope for us to see a bitter world than the ones we are trapped with. Everyone read books for happy endings.