This week’s topic is a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind, so I thought I’d discuss:
Top Ten Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open
I want to attempt this without
many spoilers, but I don’t know how well I’ll succeed…
10. Cinder, Marissa Meyer
|Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction.
Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Though something happened at the end of Scarlet that makes me worry for my favorite young Emperor, the end of Cinder REALLY took me by surprise. I guess I expected, knowing The Lunar Chronicles comprised of fairy tale retellings, that after the ball, things would work out. Instead, I received utter chaos, some heartbreak, confirmation of something I suspected, and… suddenly, the book just ended. It doesn’t feel incomplete by any means, however, I was expecting a conclusive lead-in to book two, and given the HORRIBLE circumstances of the place where everything stops and there are no more pages, I was unprepared. I’m more prepared now for Marissa Meyer’s endings (even if certain parts of them have me freaking out — STAY ALIVE, KAI!), but Cinder drove me insane for the year I had to wait for Scarlet (I needed to know what happened next!).
9. Only the Good Spy Young, Ally Carter
|When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.
Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers — or even her own heart.
In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth.as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.
Only the Good Spy Young was nothing like any of the Gallagher Girls books before it. It actually felt very much like a Harry Potter novel to me (particularly Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) because of the overarching mystery/quest, and the fact that someone’s loyalties were in question. Everything went to hell in the last few chapters, and the ending was exactly like HBP, with Cammie planning to go off on her own and settle things by herself, but just the overwhelming amount of action on top of this completely new direction left me wondering what in the world had I just read once I finished (but in a good way — I needed the next book).
8. Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely #3), Melissa Marr
|Seth wants to be with Aislinn forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.
Keenan stole Aislinn’s mortality to make her a monarch. Now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she’d ever imagined.
In Melissa Marr’s third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and to each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.
Everything that happened in the second half of this novel I did not expect, some of which was frustrating (because my ship was separated, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about Seth OR Aislinn’s choices, and Keenan was driving me insane). In many ways, it was a gamechanger for the overall story, and the ending completely took me by surprise.
7. Living Dead Girl, Elizabeth Scott
|Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.
The ending Living Dead Girl was exactly what I had hoped, but the energy it took to read this novel was exhausting and emotionally-draining. When I finished, I was overwhelmed from the haunting beauty of the prose to the sickness I felt from this peek into the protagonist’s trauma.
6. Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma
|Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives — and the way they understand each other so completely — has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be.
So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love.
They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.
Given the nature of this book, the atmosphere, the fact that once I hit the climax there was no way this could have ended well (and there’s even a warning in the synopsis!), I probably could have forseen that this ending would make me both stunned and sad. But at this point, I was so invested in the lives of these characters (which also was unexpected, considering the subject matter) that I still held out hope. *sigh*
5. Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling #4), Megan McCafferty
|Is the real world ready for Jessica Darling?
At first it seems she’s living the New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, working for a magazine that actually cares about her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with the charismatic Marcus Flutie.
But reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés.
When Marcus proposes — giving her only one week to answer — Jessica must decide if she’s ready to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who’s gripped her heart for years. Jessica ponders this and other life choices with her signature snark and hyper-intense insight, making it the most tumultuous and memorable week of her twenty-something life.
Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie are two of my favorite characters in YA literature. I relate to both of them in various ways, and I absolutely adore their relationship, especially because it is far from perfect, completely realistic, and it fills me with more feelings than I can name. Knowing this, I probably should have expected that somewhere along the way, they’d need time apart to really grow into their own selves. Yet, part of me feels that even some forewarning could not make the last few paragraphs of this book hurt less. (Even when I reread this book, part of me is surprised every time by the way things actually end. </3 )
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter #4, #5, and #6), J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on.
However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first time a novel in this series ended with so much darkness and sadness, so it makes sense for it to be on this list. It started a trend in Harry Potter books for endings that both completely surprise you, and seriously make you cry. I think the series was revolutionary in this way for children’s books because J.K. Rowling was not afraid to go there. She meticulously plotted these books to grow with their audience, carefully making the Wizarding War realistic to the point where she debated with herself which lives to take, which to spare, and which fan’s heart to break. I can justify everything in the Harry Potter series, even if some of these things traumatized me when I first read them. Or made me throw the book into a wall and cry for days. However, part of me will always read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which is the book in the series I have reread the most), expecting an ending where Sirius Black lives (and doesn’t take a part of Harry’s — or my — heart with him). (For the record, I always knew that Sirius needed to be with James, especially reading his every scene in OotP. But I didn’t want it to happen, and Harry’s despair gets to me every time. He was also one of my favorite characters, and OotP is ALL about him, so it hurts more when you get to know a character so well, only to have the author off him at the bitter end. *sigh* And I mentioned Half Blood Prince because even though I suspected for years that Dumbledore would die, I did not expect all the chaos with Draco and Snape. I also had no idea Harry would leave Hogwarts, or anything about horcruxes, and even though I strongly suspected things could not be all that they seemed with Snape, that entire battle sequence left my mouth hanging. Slow clap, J.K. Rowling, for consistently breaking my brain.)
3. Catching Fire and Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #2 and #3), Suzanne Collins
|Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.
Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
I have no idea which of the sequel books to The Hunger Games surprised me more. Catching Fire‘s treatment of Peeta Mellark, one of my favorite characters, filled me with so much anxiety and worry that I had no idea what to expect in Mockingjay. But then again, I can’t even wrap my head around Mockingjay‘s ending because of how much it hurts, and the things it did to certain characters that I don’t think I can ever forgive.
2. Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem (Delirium Trilogy), Lauren Oliver
|They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.
And I’ve always believed them.
Now everything has changed.
Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.
Pandemonium made me question how evil Lauren Oliver could possibly be. Requiem made me wonder where the missing chapters were (because I expected more). But the ending that made me scream, “WHYYYYYY?” and “NOOOOOOOO!” and “HOW DARE YOU?” for days was the ending of the first book in the trilogy, Delirium. This was the conclusion that made me most sad, the conclusion that made me so anxious that I could think of nothing for months until I finally had the sequel in my hands. The characters mattered more to me than any in a long time, and I felt personally invested in their lives. I needed them to survive; I needed them to make it. Requiem and Pandemonium might both have left me shocked at the way things played out, but Delirium was the novel that wrenched my heart straight from my chest and made an utter mess of my emotions. I don’t think I’ll ever truly recover.
1. The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3), Libba Bray
It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.
The Order — the mysterious group her mother was once part of — is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.
If you’ve read The Sweet Far Thing, I don’t even think I need to mention why this book makes this list. Beautiful, brilliant conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies, however, it took some time before I could forgive Libba Bray for… that thing that happened on page 779. I will never stop thinking about it (or crying for Kartik).
Which Book Endings Left Your Mouth Hanging Open?