Endings and letting go

Today in my sixth grade class we finished reading aloud the book Zen and the Art of Faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick.  He’s among my favorite YA authors and this book is audible-laughing-hilarious, yet I was surprised by how my students reacted to the ending.

“I don’t like it,” said one.
“I’m not satisfied,” said another.
“That’s it?” cried a few

I needed clarification – this was a book that every day received a chorus of “just one more chapter!  Please!”  A book that I caught them discussing in the hall, on the playground, and during dismissal.

Why didn’t they like the ending?

Because it was an end. 

When I asked for more details they were quick to tell me:
“I wanted more.”
“I’m just sad that it ended.”
“There’s a sequel, right?”
“Can we write the author and tell him to write a sequel?”
“I want to know about San in high school.  Does he make the basketball team?  Does he ever become ELL?”

In short, even though they would admit that the plot was resolved and there was closure – they wanted more.

And isn’t that the trademark of a great book; when you don’t want to give up the characters after the last page?