09 December 2013

I Have A Confession: I Like Sad Endings Too

This sort of like a topic post except it sounds more like me thinking out loud. Which isn't always pretty. Or organized. This is me blabbing. That's why I'm calling this The Confessional.
So you read this book where you fall madly in love with a couple who are trying very hard to stay together despite the crazy odds. Everything's going a-okay for you, there are only a few chapters till the end but then..... WHAT? They don't end up together? No epilogue with a wedding and then some years into their marriage they have children? None? FOR REAL?

Me. LOL, no. I love my books too much. I'd never chuck them out.
I'm kidding. To be honest, I don't really get too worked up over a sad ending. I actually like sad endings... if they make sense.

I know at times it's hard to forget about whatever expectations you had of a book before you actually read it. Sometimes even if the story's pretty much going downhill and you're 98% sure it's going to end on a sad note, you still want everything to turn out fine. It's like our brains are programmed to expect a Happily Ever After (or is it just my brain?). It's perfectly normal. I crave HEAs too, don't get me wrong, but I have a soft spot for tear jerkers. 

Now I know a lot of readers don't like sad endings but I surprisingly do. I used to think I'm the kind of girl who expects HEAs every single time. The more books I read though, the more I came to appreciate books that have bittersweet endings. I love the kind of books that make me cry and actually be happy about it. Even if I'm ugly crying! It only means the author was successful in getting the message across (assuming they intended that to happen, but come on, how can you unintentionally make people cry with that kind of ending?). It takes talent to get the right emotion out of readers after all. 

But then there are sad books that are... plain sad. Books that could've gone better had it ended differently. Books that try too hard to make readers cry or sad. Books that have weird endings for the sake of being different. I hate those kinds of books. Give me a sad ending as long as you show me all throughout the book that the only logical way to end the story is that way. I don't like abrupt, senseless endings. The kind that seem like it was pasted on to the book - it doesn't belong. If you want readers to feel for your characters, make us believe in them. Make us believe in their story.

I remember reading this indie book called, Hoodie by S.Walden (I'm a huge fan of hers, if you don't already know. ALSO, spoiler alert). I absolutely fell in love with Anton and Emma. They have totally different lives but despite everything, they fought hard to make their relationship work. When I got to the epilogue, I was surprised to see them still together, happily married too. But as it turns out, it was just a dream. No, one of my favorite couples in New Adult didn't make it. If I wasn't in line to get my passport renewed, I would've cried - for sure. But I had to fight the urge to sob because, hello, people. I understood why things happened the way they did and even if I wanted them to have their happy ending, I still LOVE that the author ended the story that way. It was such a powerful punch to the gut! It didn't give me FEELZ but it easily became one of my favorite New Adult books... simply because it was different. It was a sad ending but I loved it nonetheless.

Bottom line: Happily ever after or not - I'll take it. After all, I read not because I only want HEAs. I read because I want the entire experience, be it happy or sad. I'd much rather have the believable sad ending than a forced happy one where everything's crammed in the epilogue.

What about you? What are your thoughts on sad book endings? Like 'em? Hate 'em? COMMENT BELOW!


  1. Hmmmm I don't know, it depends how the sad ending was delivered and whether it had an impact to the story. Of course, I always enjoy HEA but if appropriate, sad endings do have their place (eg. TFIOS). I don't like it when authors just throw in a sad, obscure ending just for the sake of it though, so frustrating. Great confessional Sab!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  2. Have you read Patrick Ness' "A Monster Calls"? I think you would like that. I do like sad endings, if they are appropriate and nice executed, may it be in books, movies or tv series. It can be frustrating at times, but eventually, you'll get why it was needed.

  3. I like sad endings as long as it's reasonable. Like it's the only thing possible and trying to make a HEA out of the story would make it unrealistic. At least the pain (chos!) we and the characters felt at the ending is something really close to reality.

    Oh and I like open endings too. Just not those that felt like you copy missed a few pages.

  4. I actually liked sad endings and open endings. As long as the author handled it well. And if it is really reasonable and makes sense to the story.

  5. I thought I was a HEA girl myself, but after reading and loving The Book Thief, I'm not so sure. I might give a few more tear-jerkers a try in 2014 :)