YA Cliffhanger Trend: Friend or Foe?

So I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately. (Hello, my name is Brigid, and I’m a bookaholic.)

I’ve been reading so much YA that I’m waiting for my husband to bring the hammer down and tell me to stop buying books on the Kindle. (I’m sure he regrets the day he bought me that thing. You mean I don’t need to leave the couch to buy a book instantly?)

But there’s a clear trend in YA for ending on a cliffhanger. Not just a cliffhanger, almost to the point where the entire first book is almost completely setup, and when you finally get to the climax, the book ends right there. You have to wait for part two.

Elemental is the first book in a series, and while there are open threads at the end, the story arc of book one is complete. The second book (tentatively titled Incendiary) follows the path of a different brother, and it, too, will have a complete story arc with open threads.

I’m not sure I’m a fan of this latest trend. When the first story arc is wholly complete but there’s a driving need for a second book, I love it. (Like The Hunger Games or Hex Hall, both of which I enjoyed greatly.) When the book obviously can’t stand alone, I hate it.

What about you guys? Do you like this new trend? Do you hate it? If you’re a writer, do you feel the need to end on a cliffhanger just to keep your readers reading?

I put a poll in the sidebar if that’s easier than commenting: ——>


So I’m sitting here telling Michael that I can’t think of what to blog about.

He says, “You want something to blog about? I’ll give you something to blog about.”

Then he proceeds to leave the room.

I hear the light/fan combo turn on in the bathroom, and I’m not quite sure what, exactly, my husband is planning. But I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be something blogworthy if it happens in the bathroom.

He returns moments later with this week’s Entertainment Weekly. He tosses it to me. “That.”

There’s a two page ad spread. On the left are two guys laying on a bed together. On the right, there’s a guy and a girl standing next to each other in a bedroom setting. Neither picture is racy. Actually, both pictures are adorably “couple-y.”

It’s an ad for KY.

If you don’t know what that is, you’re not learning about it on my blog.

But anyway, I look back up at him and say, “I don’t get it.”

He says, “You know what that’s an ad for?”

I’m a thirty-two year old woman. I’ve had a child. The jig is up.

In other words: yes, I know what it is.

For some reason, an ad for this product featuring two men was alarming to him. Me? Meh. Old news. But then, I read Dan Savage every week. I’m of the “live and let live” philosophy.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I understand the alarm, I just don’t feel it. We’re still evolving as a country. I know that.

I think I might still be in a minority.

What about you guys? What about your significant others? If you saw an ad like this, would you be alarmed? Would they?

Or would you shrug and skip past the ad to find out more about Lindsey Lohan and the skanks from the Jersey Shore?