Open ended novels present quite a controversy to readers. On one hand, yes, they let readers themselves forge the ending to their preferences. On the other hand, who likes a hanging conclusion? So, dear reader, here’s what I think about open endings.
One of the very first YA book trilogies that I read was LEGEND by Marie Lu. Lu is one of my favorite writers (after reading masterpieces such as THE ROSE SOCIETY). Now, if you read CHAMPION, the last book of the trilogy, and suffered through the (highlight for spoiler) painful ending of Day losing his memory and June and Day “meeting” again (i’m going to cry), then you sort of understand the pain that an open ending can release. I know this wasn’t the worst ending imaginable, that it’s possible that everything would turn out fine in the end. However, you might know that I enjoy crying over books. Books like CHAMPION, books that have painful open endings, books like those are books that happen to become one of the closest books to my heart, and part of the reason why open-endings can sometimes do well for me.
Additionally, books that have open endings can give readers something to think about. Who doesn’t love fan theories or a nice discussion? That can lead to tons of new ideas: friendly (or less than friendly) arguments, fan art, or even something that you can think about when you’re driving to school or work in the morning. In other words, open endings give you something just a little bit more, something that’s more than an ending that’s wrapped up nicely by the end of the book. Perhaps that open ending can give an author another way to continue that series. (Like SHATTER ME! This book closes up pretty nicely, buuuut their fight isn’t totally over. Tahereh could totally continue on with the series, I think.). In other words, it’s possible for open endings to offer more.
However, although an author could theoretically do more with a series that ends on an open ending, I think that’s another problem that can rise from an inconclusive ending. You know when you’re reading a book and the book builds up to such an action-packed climax and you’re waiting for an explosive conclusion? And then….. it just stops? It’s fuzzy and nothing is what you expected. It can definitely work for other readers but usually, I’m disappointed. I’m usually looking for a book that ends with a bang and not a oh.
A lot of those books that have open endings are part of series, so you’re pretty emotionally invested in that book if you’ve spent time reading the past however-many-books before the last book in the series. So, to me, when I’ve dedicated a lot of my feelings to that certain book series, I expect something that I’ll love and something that’ll make me feel content. A problem with open endings is that a lot of the times, they don’t make me feel content—they leave me discontent and annoyed.
I’ve realized that this discussion has partially turned into a rant, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. To me, I feel like there’s a few ways people react to open endings. Sometimes, you can love it! It gives you more to talk about. It can spark discussion, fan theories, everything, really. On the other hand, you can hate it. You can feel discontent and annoyed. Or you could possibly be impartial. Who knows? However, I’d love for you to tell me what you think. I feel like open endings can do a lot for a person, especially spark discussion about your personal preferences.
For your own reference, here’s a list of books that have open-endings. (Thanks to all you cool kids for helping me out with this list! <3)
- THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry
- CHAMPION by Marie Lu
- IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi (sort of….)
- FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater (rec’d by Jamie @ Books and Ladders)
- FAULT LINE by Christa Desir (rec’d by Alexia @ Pretty Deadly Reviews)
- MARA DYER trilogy (rec’d by Alexandra @ Twirling Pages)
- BLOOD OF OLYMPUS by Rick Riordan (rec’d by Liv @ Curly Hair Bibliophile)
- ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers, HOLLYWOOD WITCH HUNTER by Valerie Tejeda, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng (rec’d by Adriyanna @ Life Writings of a Reader)
- REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver rec’d by Kiersten @ We Live and Breathe Books)
- BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD by Julie Anne Peters (rec’d by Camila @ Clockwork Reads)