It’s the end of 2016 and thus the end of Authorology, our monthly column where authors talk about their favorite bits of YA books. Before we go, let’s talk about our favorite endings!
Winger by Andrew Smith. Of all the books I’ve read, the ending to this one shocked me the most. I expected something but not……well…..just read it. It will change you. It will make you cry. It will make you want to be different.
– Joy N. Hensley, author of Rites of Passage
Sarah Benwell’s The Last Leaves Falling. Because I cried for hours but it still left me full of hope. And Chessie Zappia’s Made You Up, because I also cried for hours but it left me smiling—even laughing—too.
– Marieke Nijkamp, author of This Is Where It Ends
Tangles of gold.
A favorite ending is also hard, but I just finished reading the Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty, with A Tangle of Gold as the last book in the trilogy, and it was one of the most satisfying wrap-ups to a series I can think of, being surprising enough that I didn’t see it all coming, but it still all seemed right. It’s the kind of series you finish with a nice sigh.
– Shanna Swendson, author of Rebel Mechanics
I mentioned Teresa Toten in my fave author section and her book The Unlikely Hero of Room 13b is one of my all-time faves. I won’t give away the ending, but I would say that, like the book, it flips the tables on the idea of happy, unhappy. It leave the characters in a different place than where they started, but not with any easy answers or tied-up bows. Heartbreaking in that it seems real. Like real life, the boy doesn’t always get the girl, or at least not in any way that you expect or, perhaps, hope for.
– Kevin Sylvester, author of MINRS
They ended on a similarly bittersweet (more bitter than sweet) but Mockingjay and How I Live Now both have the saddest endings with the heroine left with the broken-by-violence boy who may love her more than she loves him. (In one of the cases, anyway. You can guess which one?)
– Heidi R. Kling, author of Paint My Body Red
Nervy, brittle, broken heart.
The Bell Jar, with its intense, demanding, and captivating narration by Esther Greenwood, was one of my early book-lighthouses. You know, those books that you open and within just a few pages, you know the author (or the character) gets it. They get you. They’ve reached out a fictional finger and touched your exposed nerve. The one that really, really hurts.
Sometimes this is cool. Sometimes it can make you feel emotionally naked, like, “How the hell did they know what I feel like inside?” And you keep going back to the book, again and again, if you are on a dark sea, and need a light to row toward.
Anyway. I loved Esther’s nervy, brittle, broken heart. And the ending is one of my very favorites: “The eyes and the faces all turned themselves toward me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room.”
You know Esther must be okay, because she’s narrating the novel from the future, but you don’t know anything about what happens between stepping into the room and the moment she begins telling her story to you. And I love that, that wobbly mystery. Because life is never not wobbly. It can’t be an open and shut door, a closed file. It’s one of the reasons I chose to leave Charlie Davis up in the air (on a plane) at the end of my novel, Girl in Pieces. I don’t want to know what happens. I just want her there, in that perfect space, with only possibility floating at her fingertips. Guided by that magical thread.
– Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces
I love rereading the end of Corinne Duyvis’ Otherbound because it hits that beautiful spot between surprise and expectation. It goes places with the characters that I never saw coming and yet, in retrospect, they all make perfect sense. Not only that, but it does so without succumbing to any of the painful conclusions that readers of queer novels have come to expect. Otherbound‘s queer and disabled characters live and thrive. They aren’t sacrificed for the narrative good, and this narrative allows their lives going forward to be complex. One character imagines a “happily ever after,” but it’s clear that their futures won’t be that easy, and that might be what makes the conclusion so satisfying.
– Rachel Davidson Leigh, author of Hold