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YA and MG novels with satisfying endings

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I'm studying endings at the moment, and I'm looking for recently published YA and MG novels (all genres) that have great, satisfying endings. I'm also interested in why you think they're awesome--but no spoilers, please!
#1 - May 01, 2015, 11:01 AM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Mike Jung

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It's 10 years old now, which is a little hard to grasp, but Gennifer Choldenko's AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS has one of the best endings ever, partly because it resolves an important story element without being too neat about it. It's a total surprise, BAM, and it injects a note of ambiguity that keeps you thinking after the fact without feeling at all like a cliffhanger.
#2 - May 01, 2015, 12:06 PM

I like endings that feel like an emotional arrival--the character has finally figured out something very key to their sense of self. A couple examples would be THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Kari Luna (plot: girl isn't sure if she's going crazy or if she's experiencing the same alternate dimensions her father was before he left their family; or girl seeks love) and DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor. DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS is the second in a trilogy and it technically ends as a cliffhanger, but it's the most satisfying cliffhanger I have ever read. And I think it's because she nailed the emotional arc for her main character.
#3 - May 01, 2015, 02:19 PM

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I think one component that middle grade readers look for is justice, so MG books that deliver on that always tend to feel satisfying to me. (Journey to the River Sea is a little older, but has that element. Harry Potter tends to deliver on that.)

For YA, I like a sense of a character meeting a moral conflict and overcoming. I want their choices and sacrifices to matter. I want to see all the vulnerable and all the fail, and then see them finally grow enough to overcome.
#4 - May 01, 2015, 03:06 PM

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I think the YA novel We Were Liars had a great ending. I was surprised by it, but once I went back through the book in my head I realized the author had dropped a bunch of clues which all added up. So I was satisfyingly shocked. Also there was great and gradual character development for the protagonist.
#5 - May 01, 2015, 03:34 PM
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For YA, I prefer books with emotional growth -- characters who do the right thing, even though it's hard, and then are clearly rewarded for it. Two recent reads which stand out that way: When by Victoria Laurie and Tether by Anna Jarzab. Both are filled with challenges for the heroine, and in both (especially Laurie's), the heroine does what she knows is right, even though she's risking things that truly matter to her.

I like how the authors make it clear what *does* matter to the heroines too...and then, in the end, they are rewarded nicely. (Jarzab's reward isn't as solid as Laurie's, but that's partly because it's the second book in a trilogy...room for more.)
#6 - May 01, 2015, 03:59 PM
Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/
Website: www.robinprehn3r.com

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MG = Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan; takes your heart on a roller coaster ride but lands right. 
#7 - May 01, 2015, 04:13 PM

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An editor told me once that books for kids should have hopeful, if not happy endings, and I've always tried to remind myself of that in my own books. Even if everything doesn't end quite the way the reader wanted, feeling hopeful can lend itself to that overall feeling of satisfaction.
#8 - May 01, 2015, 07:11 PM
A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt 2012)
A Sliver of Sun (book #2)
 A Million Ways Home (Scholastic 2014)
Just Left of Lucky (2018)
 www.diannawinget.com

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This is an old book, but my very favorite MG ending is There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar.  There's a sentence on the last page that made all my fourth grade students gasp "Ohhhhhh" when I read it aloud to them. It's bittersweet and makes me cry, but in a good way, because it makes me so proud of the main character and how far he has come. In spite of the goofy title it's one of the most touching books I know.
#9 - May 02, 2015, 05:51 AM

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THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary D. Schmidt is an MG with a satisfying ending.
#10 - May 02, 2015, 07:51 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
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Lots of good thoughts and suggestions here to get me started. I've read some of these before, but not all. MVP, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom was one of my all-time favorites as a kid, and I'm definitely going to re-read it now that you mentioned it. Thanks!
#11 - May 02, 2015, 02:10 PM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE

by

KAT YEH.
#12 - May 02, 2015, 02:42 PM
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The Westing Game. There's nothing like seeing a riddle finally solved, and seeing everyone get what they needed.
#13 - May 03, 2015, 09:54 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

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I loved how The One and Only Ivan ended, a true story filled with hope. Couldn't stop crying With joy. I was so happy for Ivan.
#14 - May 04, 2015, 02:11 AM

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The One and Only Ivan made me cry, too. Just finished The Summer of the Gypsy Moths.
#15 - May 04, 2015, 05:14 AM

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I love the ending of Neil Gaiman's, The Graveyard Book...[quoting]....But between now and then, there was Life, and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open. 

To me, that's full of hope!
#16 - May 05, 2015, 06:13 PM

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The ending of HOLES is nice because so many threads come together, and all the puzzle pieces make a complete picture.
For YA: I loved the ending of Brandy Colbert's POINTE. It's not a conventional happy ending, but for me there was truth in it, and also the character became much stronger through not having the conventional ending-with-a-bow.
And TWO BOYS KISSING is good if you like an ending with maximum inspiration.
#17 - May 07, 2015, 06:17 PM
Jennifer R. Hubbard
www.jenniferhubbard.com

Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion
Until It Hurts to Stop
Try Not to Breathe
The Secret Year

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THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME has a very satisfying ending, full of hope.
#18 - May 10, 2015, 02:44 PM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
http://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

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The War That Saved My Life....Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The end was full of hope even though WWII raged around the MC.  :dogwalk
#19 - May 10, 2015, 05:43 PM

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Helen, I agree--I felt an incredible sense of justice at the end of that one!
#20 - May 10, 2015, 05:45 PM

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Oh, I loved the ending of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me. There were so many disparate threads that all came together in a neat and surprising ending. Fantastic.
#21 - May 10, 2015, 06:34 PM
Twitter: @SuperKate
Check out my middle grade book recommendations at www.kidbooklist.com.

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Great suggestions. Two recent books that come to mind are WONDER and FISH IN A TREE--both with satisfying happy endings. I definitely aimed for hopeful, happy endings in my own recently published MG novels, as well.
#22 - May 11, 2015, 07:22 AM
ROLLER BOY (Fitzroy Books, 2018)
AMY'S CHOICE (Luminis Books, 2014)
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
www.marciastrykowski.com
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Lots of great books cited here. What makes an ending wonderful for me is when it couldn't happen any other way, but I don't see it coming.
I loved SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS by Laura Amy Schlitz. Also MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool. Oh, more recently, ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein.

Happy reading, Vijaya
#23 - May 11, 2015, 08:04 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I don't know if "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri is MG, but it's the most amazing book for me, from beginning to end!
What I really love about its ending is that it shows how a young girl can accomplish so much and change the lives of those around her with love and kindness. It's my favorite book!
#24 - August 06, 2015, 01:47 PM

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