I am a huge fan of YA (Young Adult) novels, and this love is something I don't think I will ever grow out of. But with an AMAZING book series always comes the most dreaded part: The Ending.
Being an empath is both a blessing and a curse for me; especially when it comes to reading novels with characters that I easily fall in love with. In my mind, I know that characters are figments of someone's imagination, but I tend to get so invested in storylines and narratives that sometimes when I finish a series, I can't do anything for hours but break down and sob, because I have reached the end of a particular world. This is currently the case right now- I just finished a YA fantasy series called the Embrace series, by Jessica Shirvington, and I am still suffering the aftermath from finishing this series.
With this series not being the first to do this to me, I have developed a sort of pattern in emotions after finishing books, pretty much the same as the psychological grieving stages following a death, the feelings no less intense for me, but all the same sounding a bit foolish to anyone that isn't an avid reader and story lover. But in any event, if you love to read as much as I do and get invested in the stories of characters, here are my stages following the end of reading a book series:
1. Refusal to believe that the end is near.
As I approached about the three fourths mark into the final installment of the Embrace series, I refused to believe that the author could just end the story so soon, especially because the characters were still engaged in a battle at this point in the book. I just did not want to believe that the author wouldn't give all of the characters the lives that they deserved after all that had happened in the series.
2. Shock that I finished the series.
You know those pages that are always at the end of the book after the story is concluded? The ones usually with the author's acknowledgments and gratitude to everyone who helped them along the way, and snippets from other books written by the same author. I almost always read every word of the acknowledgements and chapter samplers because I hope that somehow the story isn't over yet. I just need more time to process that this is truly the end of the series.
3. Anger at the author for ending the world.
Ending the book world, of course. If you ask my roommates, I throw a lot of books across my bedroom after finishing them. Not because I am not satisfied with the endings written- because I usually am. But I throw the books because I am angry that the author has decided to finish the series. I watched an interview with Jessica Shirvington (Author of the Embrace series) and what she had to say made a lot of sense, even though I didn't like it. She talked about how she wasn't ready to let go of her characters either, but that she needed to let go of them because they were ready, not because she wanted to keep them in her life, even though she could've continued their story forever.
I know it's silly to feel so heartbroken over a book, and not many people understand (unless they are empaths), but when I really connect with a book and the characters, of course I am usually in tears when the book ends. It sucks, and sometimes even causes me physical pain, but it's part of the grieving process, in order to move on.
Of course, I am never fully satisfied with book endings because they are that- endings. But eventually, I painfully remind myself that it is just a story, that all things eventually have to have an end, and that there are many, many other books out there to read, and cause me to go through the same steps all over again, as I am sure to for the rest of my life as both a reader and a writer.