[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

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

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

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

fragile eternity - 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

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

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

fourth comings - 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 and the order of the phoenix - jk 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

mockingjay - 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

delirium - lauren oliver

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I’ve always believed them.

Until now.

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

the sweet far thing - 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?



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. megtao
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 10:04:59

    I remember when Cedric died and I was just so…surprised because before then the danger wasn’t real and then to have that happen it was just…ahh I still can’t believe it really.


    • aimee
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 16:34:01

      Maybe I was always a little cynical, but even though I DID NOT SEE IT COMING AT ALL, Cedric’s death didn’t become “real” to me until I saw the Goblet of Fire film. (My brother, on the other hand, who was actually a Harry Potter fan before I was, was traumatized and his elementary school class had a funeral for Cedric and everything, lol.) Maybe it’s because GoF has that entire dark opening too, and I always have a voice inside my head whispering, THIS WILL NOT END WELL, even if I choose to ignore it half the time. So OotP always hits me more because I just fell in love with Sirius and the idea of Harry finally being able to live with him and then it’s just… out of nowhere. Damn you, Bellatrix. They were going to be a family, dammit!


  2. acps927
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 19:01:33

    I haven’t read Cinder yet, but it’s on the top of my TBR list, so I’m looking forward to that! Also, the ending of each of the books in The Hunger Games trilogy left me speechless, I think!


    • aimee
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 20:11:09

      Yay! Definitely read Cinder! It’s one of my favorite books and one that I recommend easily. And I totaly agree. Looking back, there was no way The Hunger Games could have ended “well”, but everything in the second half of Mockingjay just completely overwhelmed me. I couldn’t have predicted ANY of it.


  3. Harley Bear (@HarleyBearBooks)
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 21:21:47

    The ending of Pandemonium shocked my socks off. I was so confused how an author could leave it on such a cliffhanger lol. And I still need to read Scarlet. But ya Cinder didn’t end how I expected.


    • aimee
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 22:41:51

      I think Lauren Oliver just really loves (HEART-STOPPING) cliffhangers. Or open endings. I’m still not sure how to feel about Requiem and that trilogy has now “concluded”. (Have you read it yet?) *sigh* Did you also think Cinder would end in a semi-happy AND THEN KAI AND CINDER END UP TOGETHER classic-Cinderella way? That’s what I was expecting, even knowing this was the first in a four-part series, and when there were no more pages, I was confused. ^^; Read Scarlet! It was a pretty awesome sequel (and the ending is slightly less jarring than Cinder… sort of). (These books are just really addicting!)


  4. LillyLilac
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 22:24:44

    I have just read Only the Good Spy Young and I have to agree with you that the ending is wow worthy but I also think that the whole book is just wow worthy in general it’s probably my favorite in the series so far I love that the twist at the beginning of the novel with Joe Solomon is one where you feel the same way that Cammie does therefore her actions always makes sense to you because you never think she’s being stupid for thinking there may be more to the story than what she already knows. I also just really loved that Zach was in this book quite a bit as well and that we found out quite a bit of new information about him as well. Overall that was a great book and makes me very excited to read the next one.

    I’ve actually only read the first two Wicked Lovely books so far and while I enjoyed them I’m not sure if I want to read Fragile Eternity for several reasons. My biggest fear for this series is that Keenan and Aislinn would develop true romantic feelings for each other which upsets me because I love the whole starcross lover thing that Keenan and Donia had going on in the first book and I loved both of them as characters, also I find both Aislinn and Seth to be kind of boring so I’d rather that the two of them stick together. I’m glad to hear that the ending is good for this book but if it’s going to turn into a love triangle series I don’t think I want to read it.

    I still have Cinder and Delirium thanks to all of your wonderful recommendations so glad to see that the books have endings you love. My favorite wow endings would be the last like 50 pages or so of The Summoning the 1st book of The Darkest Powers series, I really loved it because there were just so many twists at the end and it was in contrast to the first half of the novel which was actually kind of boring. I also loved the ending of the last volume of Tokyo Babylon because it made me cry so much.

    On an unrelated note I was wondering if you watched anymore of Revenge or started watching Game of Thrones and if you had I was wondering how your liking both shows.


    • aimee
      Apr 17, 2013 @ 23:20:52

      YES to everything you just said about Only the Good Spy Young. My favorite is actually the next book in the series, Out of Sight, Out of Time because it just blows my mind. Constantly. It’s part of the reason why I am scared but also anxious for the final book in the series.

      I never finished the Wicked Lovely series. I have friends who adore it, but it was one of those where I enjoyed the first one, didn’t care much about the second one at all, but hoped it would get better. It was ages ago, but Fragile Eternity is the only one that stays in my mind. I think I’ve read four of them, and it’s not a series I loveeeee, but it’s a series I, for the most part, enjoyed, for as much as I read of it. I think I only have one book left in the series though, and even though it’s been years, I might just finish it. (Eventually. There are too many other books I’d like to read.) I can’t tell you if it ever turns into a love triangle (SO SICK OF THOSE) because it didn’t for as much of it as I read, but then again, Aislinn and Keenan were together for a while, so maybe those feelings did become genuine-ish in the final book.

      Still in the first five episodes of Revenge. I’m in the middle of watching Merlin right now (on series 4, but almost done with it), but I don’t want to watch the last series at the moment, so I plan on finishing Revenge soon. But thank you for the recommendation! I’m liking it a lot more than I’ve been liking Once Upon a Time (I’m not sure what to think of this season because there are episodes I adore and episodes that bore me so much or I simply don’t care about), and I’ve heard it gets really addictive soon. I have the entire first season of Game of Thrones, and I plan on watching that before Merlin’s final season too. (I just hear that Merlin’s last season is not as amazing as the first four, and that it’s full of sadness and I don’t want to get through it that fast because I really love the show and the cast and I never expected to like it this much.)


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