Breakout by Ann Aguirre
So many authors give you a bittersweet ending in the third book of a trilogy. Usually more bitter than sweet. (Allegiant, Mockingjay, Champion, Bitterblue, Reached, Graduation Day) It is an emotional way to end a relationship that has lasted three books long--sometimes spanning years between publications.
That is why I want to make a special, gregorific commendation to Ann Aguirre for the way she ended The Dred Chronicles. Not only did she tell us what happened to the surviving main characters of the series, she took it one step further. To my delight, she carried out the plot to show how the protagonist dealt with life after the main crisis/conflict had been resolved. This never happens! I felt like I won the reader's lottery. Maybe an author knows in her head how a character turns out, but the reader always has to wonder.
This book took us there. It showed us the smaller obstacles to a realistic happily ever after. While doing so, it never compromised the gains already made by each character. It was way better than an epilogue because it delved deeper into the nuts and bolts of the years after the main drama. Instead of a cursory sum up (like she got over this and reconciled with that and figured out the other thing) it took us through the paces with Dred. All while gracefully threading in the other character's growth, in a very rewarding and efficient --but not hurried-- conclusion.
Did I mention I like this author?
May all your books be unputdownable,
PS. I'd be happy to elaborate on why I thought the books mentioned above had bittersweet endings. It was no random list. I'll back it up.