Why? Why? Why? Can’t anyone finish a book anymore? Why is every single new YA novel a to-be-continued? Don’t tell me it’s about the money. That’s the easy reason. A series makes more money than a single, blah, blah, blah. Well, that’s fine, but I am so dang sick of everyone jumping on the Twilight bandwagon. Forbidden young love. Supernatural forces. Book after book after book. But an actual stand-alone title? NEVER.
This rant was brought on by my most recent review copy acquisition—Fallen by Lauren Kate—released to the public in December of 2009. Fallen follows protagonist Luce, as she is forced to enter a reform school, called Sword & Cross. She’s here because of a freak accident—a mysterious fire that killed her friend, Trevor. Luce was the only witness to the fire, but she has no idea what happened. So reform school. Another thing—Luce sees these weird formless black clouds. They follow her, and they always appear before something bad happens.
See, this could be really cool! This could be a Girl, Interrupted scenario. Instead, we get all supernatural, and (as you may have guessed) fallen angels get involved. Are fallen angels the new vampire? Maybe. After all, months ago, I reviewed a book by Becca Fitzpatrick, entitled Hush, Hush—another YA novel about angels. Another YA novel that sets up for a series. Then again, I also reviewed Beautiful Creatures, and it was about witches. And it’s also the beginning of a series.
So I ask, can’t anyone just finish a book anymore?
This is no fault of the authors. In fact, I very much enjoyed Fallen. Lauren Kate is a writer who knows how to tell a story. Her characters are colorful. They represent all the high school stereotypes, without coming off as stereotypes. Instead, her characters reminded me of people I’ve met before, which immediately helped me to relate to protagonist and antagonist alike. Plus, the guys in her story sounded hot. What YA reader doesn’t like a hot guy? I do fault her for taking awhile to get to the “meat” of her tale. Very little really happens for the first 300 pages, so if you’re looking for short chapters (a la the dreaded DaVinci Code), this book probably isn’t for you. However, once she gets to the “meat,” it’s a page-turner. I flew through the final hundred pages in one sitting. Couldn’t help myself. But then, it ended, and I realized … there was no ending. There never is anymore.
I am sick of this. I have had enough. I made it through Harry Potter. I made it through Twilight. (Heck, we can even go as far back as the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Made it through those, too.) But now, I’m just exhausted. I challenge you, YA community—please, please tell me about a novel that just ends. Stands on its own. Is beautiful and brave in a single volume, with a beginning, middle, and end. Because I’m sick of waiting three years to finish a dang story. I want to sit down by my pool, spend an afternoon with a cast of characters, and then, be able to retire them, without having to spend another nineteen dollars on another book a year later. EXTORTION!
This is my call to action. Will anyone carry the torch? Does anyone even remember how? Or has the “series” become such an ingrained part of our collective literary minds, that we don’t remember how to end a story in 350 pages? I will hold onto my hope. I will continue my search. And if you can point me to an author who still remembers how to write YA within the span of a single paperback, my faith in modern writing will be rekindled. Maybe.