The Idea of You Ending, Summary & Spoilers from the Book, Explained

By David Thompson Posted:
Anne Hathaway and Marchand Nicholas Galitzine from The Idea of You

Following a controversial ending and the Amazon Prime video movie adaptation trailer of The Idea of You being released, here is a summary of the romance novel.

Robinne Lee's novel The Idea Of You hit bookshelves in June 2017 and was a smash hit among romance and fan fiction readers. This led to a film adaptation getting greenlit on August 22, 2022 starring Anne Hathaway, set to release on May 2.

The narrative revolves around Solène Marchand, a mother and esteemed art gallery owner in Los Angeles. She is drawn to a much younger British popstar, who her 12-year-old daughter adores... yikes.

The Idea of You Book Summary

Anne Hathaway as Solène Marchand and Nicholas Galitzine as Hayes Campbell
The Idea of You

In the Idea of You book, a single mother, Solène Marchand, accompanies her 12-year-old daughter Isabelle to an August Moon concert in Las Vegas where she meets the founder, lead singer, and songwriter, Hayes Campbell. 

Despite their age difference, they feel an instant chemistry and flirt heavily. They have a sexual encounter after a work trip in New York, and she tries to end the relationship due to the pressures of Hayes' fame. 

However, Hayes declares his commitment to her and invites her to join him for the next month in the south of France. 

Later, Lulit Raphel, Solène's closest friend, cautions her about Hayes possibly engaging in relationships with other sexual partners. In addition, her ex-husband Daniel warns her of the damage this new relationship could have to their daughter.

In Chapter 8, they celebrate her birthday in Paris and Hayes shows a newfound knowledge of art and expresses his growing love for her. Hayes makes plans to rent a home with her in Los Angeles, while Isabelle angrily confronts her mom about the rumors regarding their relationship.

Solène and Hayes later meet for the weekend in Miami, but she struggles to trust him after encountering two of his former partners and learning about their relationship being written about on a gossip site. Because of the pressures of his fame, she tries to end the relationship but he refuses and declares his commitment to her. 

They travel to New York for a documentary premiere, where Hayes publicly kisses Solène and introduces her to his parents. She confides in her mother about the relationship before meeting Hayes in Anguilla. 

However, compromising photos of them are released to the public, causing Solène to feel ashamed and return home. 

For Hayes' birthday, they go to Aspen and Solène finally confesses her love for him. During Hayes' tour in South America, Solène faces harassment and death threats. 

In Chapter 16, Solène ultimately ends the relationship again due to their age difference and her responsibilities as a mother, despite him saying he quit the band. Reluctantly, he leaves and Solène ghosts him over the following months.

What Happens During the Ending of 'The Idea of You'?

Unfortunately, The Idea of You ends with Solène and Hayes not getting back together.

The realization during Chapter 17 left many fans upset by the book's ending and put into question whether or not the streaming film would alter their fate.

Fans mention this specific passage from the end of the novel, where Solène explains how Hayes tried to keep reaching out but she "resisted responding" because she "made a choice" even though she still loved him:

“He called me. In the beginning, every day. Multiple times. Although I would not answer. And he texted. At first often, and then every few days or so. It went on for months. These little messages that would paralyze me. And to which I resisted responding. Because I had made a choice. I miss you. I’m thinking of you. I still love you. And then one day, they stopped. Long, long before I had stopped loving him.”

Readers were left heartbroken by the ending, some even say that it lowers how they would rate the book.

While many were drawn in by the engaging storytelling and the main characters' reliability, their investment in the story was shattered upon reaching the final page.

This blindside, unlike many traditional romance endings, turned into frustration and cautioning others to approach it with tempered expectations to avoid similar disappointment.

Due to this outpouring of issues with the book's ending, there is hope for the movie to give readers what they initially wanted out of Robinne Lee's romance novel.

The Idea of You begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on May 2.

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.