Apr 11, 2017
Sometimes the Lit student in me tries to poke her head in my regular reads, and I've come to a point where I can't go without appreciating the literary techniques in every YA I read. So today, I decided to use the TTT prompt to present a list I've been wanting to share for a long time. Here are my top ten books with different narrative styles!
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The book is narrated by death. That should be enough. But it's more than that. I would've never thought that Death would be such an interesting and delightful narrator, especially when relating a story in the midst of the horrors of the Second World War. But that's what makes the book so unique and the narration memorable. Quirky and full of dry humor, Death is an amazing narrator, while the frequent sidenotes are a great touch.
2. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein
Second person POV isn't often tried out in YA, so when we see glimpses of it in books, it always adds a special effect. I love the suspense and whimsicality created by the second person POV chapters in Night Circus, while also giving a special mention to the second person POV in Half Bad, which helps bring the contrast of the two sides of Nathan.
3. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
My feelings for this book is not up to the discussion here, but I couldn't help but appreciate the brilliant narrative style of this book. The footnotes aside - which were brilliant - I loved the way Jay was present in every chapter through his one of a kind narration. The best part is probably the first chapter - the symmetry and the juxtaposition of the two incidents? Mindblowing!
4. Vicious by Victoria Schwab
No I didn't try to squeeze in Vicious in a list where it has no relevance just because I wanted to flail about the book. Trust me! :D Vicious has a non sequential narrative style, which is beautifully constructed without prompting any confusion or tangles in the storytelling. Almost there is History is All You Left Me on that front, which shifts to the History and Now, back to back, while not messing up the linear story in anyway.
5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me could've just been another regular first person POV where we get to see the MC's inner musings, but the crossed out lines change that. We not only see what Juliette thinks and speaks, but also the hidden thoughts, and the things she almost thinks and speaks - and well, everything she tries to hide. They add an intensity to her musings, her isolation and her character - which otherwise would have been very ordinary, if you ask me.
6. We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
Free verse can be used for different purposes. In We Were Liars, it shows the character's unreliablity. the disjointed story and the overall setting up for the final reveal. It's minimalistic and powerful, and I love it!
7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
An entire book in second person POV - written as a letter - is a surprisingly common narrative style in books. These books tend to be an intimate conversation between two characters, and it's made poignant because of that factor. While I could've chosen something like Stolen : A Letter to my Captor instead, the reason why I chose Why We Broke Up for this slot is that this book is a case where the writing was the book's savior. I almost fell asleep while reading Why We Broke Up. It's a hit or a miss for sure, and the teenage relationship dynamics was not impressing me. But the narration, Lord Jesus that narration, Daniel Handler writes this letter through Min in a way that I can imagine Ed wincing through the entire duration of reading it. The writing is at times emotional, at times nostalgic, at times a slap in the face and overall just spectacular! It was the only reason why I kept on reading, and would not regret doing so.
8. Pivot Point by Kasie West
I didn't appreciate Kasie's masterful writing in this book when I read it the first time. But now, when I look back, I can't believe the level of intricacy and depth that is built up in the narration of the book. The alternate universes, how they intergrate seamlessly when they do meet, and every single minute details to the new vocabulary that is introduced in each chapter. It was brilliant, and the lack of plot holes despite the high probability takes the icing!
9. Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Storlarz
The perpetrator's narration in mysteries is chilling, and while The Body Finder gave a good take of that, my fav is Deadly Little Secret. Our MC has a creepy stalker, and throughout the book there are multiple suspects. The eery aspect is that the stalker's narration chapters are seen from the beginning, and we are led to find out who it is as the chapters reveal more and more, and narrow the search as the book progresses.
10. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
What's better than one story? A story within a story. Frame narrative is tricky, and sometimes the sub story can take away the attention from the main storyline - like me with Fangirl, I was more interested in Simon and Baz's story! - but Inkheart's stories blend so well, that at times we don't know where to place the characters, and struggle with them to choose between the real world, and the magical story they all seem to be a part of.
What are your favourite type of narrative styles? Which books with unconventional narrations are your favs?