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Just couldn’t get enough of those unreliable narrators and unlikable characters? Neither can we!

So what is it about an unreliable narrator and/or an unlikable character that keeps us coming back for more?  Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out this post about Unreliable Narrators and Unlikable Characters: Part 1

As readers, we come across many different kinds of narrative tools in books.  One is the POV or point of view.  This is the perspective that the story is being told from.  If you think of the narrator as a sentient being, their POV is the angle that they are taking on the story.

What do you mean, there are different POVs in stories?

Yep, there are 3 main types of POV.  The one you’re probably most familiar with is Third-Person, which may be the most common version of narrative voice.  This is easily identifiable through the use of “he”, “she”, “they”, and “it”.  They can be further categorized as Objective, Limited, or Omniscient. If it’s an Objective POV, the narrator knows nothing of the character’s thoughts, as if they were sitting on a bench narrating a game they’re observing.  Limited POV would be from right behind the narrator, shadowing their every move and are privy to their thoughts, but just that character’s thoughts.  Omniscient POV is like being an eye in the sky, listening to all of the thoughts of all of the characters in the story.

Next would be First-Person and it gets right in there and personal, with “I”, “me”, and “we”.  You become the narrator.  You only know what that narrator knows and nothing more. And much less common is Second-Person narration, using “you”, “your”, and “yours”. Depending on how the author wants us to relate to the story, the selection of POV is critical and will determine how the story unfolds.

Umm… Why is any of this important?

Understanding of the use of the POV and the unreliable narrator will help you find your “place” in the story.  Most books featuring an unreliable narrator will be from the first-person or the third-person limited point of view.  This helps frame the story and show the limitations of knowledge available to the character, and in part, adds to the unreliability.  

Did you find the unreliable narrators in the previous post unlikable or did you find that walking a mile in their proverbial shoes made them relatable and/or likable?  What made them likable?

Taking the time to think deeper about what we read is just as important as the action of reading.  Knowing why we like what we like helps us to find new books to read and can even help your friendly neighborhood library staff member advise you on books if you can’t find something new to read.

So here are 7(more) unreliable narrators and, potentially, unlikable characters that we hope you’ll enjoy.  And don’t forget to check back for a deeper exploration into other types of POVS and narrative tools!

(All summaries are from the publishers)

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Audiobook Available on Overdrive
Ebook Available on Overdrive

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

“Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

“Code Name Verity” is the first book in the “Code Name Verity” series.

Ebook Available on Overdrive

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever.

 So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

Audiobook Available on Overdrive
Ebook Available on Overdrive

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

Ebook Available on Hoopla
Ebook Available on Overdrive

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “”wastelands”” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Audiobook Available on Overdrive
Ebook Available on Overdrive

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…

Audiobook Available on Overdrive
Ebook Available on Overdrive

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

“The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” is the first book of the “Mara Dyer Trilogy” series. 

Ebook Available on Overdrive 

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