Discussion – My Favourite Books With Multiple First-Person Narratives

Hello everyone,

I have decided to share a list post today, and that brings me on to the subject of multiple perspectives. They are a fascinating literary device which seem to be used more and more across all genres, and it is incredible how they can sometimes vary.

When using dual perspectives, the author can sometimes switch between writing some characters in the first person and the others in the third person, or even on some very rare occasions in the second person. Each of them brings something to the story, and the choice of narrative can help shape our thoughts on a particular character.

Here I am focusing on my favourite books which have two or more perspectives that are all in the first person. So let’s take a look at my top five!

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Along with being a standout author of young adult thrillers that are full of twists, Karen M. McManus is the queen of multiple first person perspectives, making each of her books total page-turners with a succession of interesting protagonists.

The most successful example is probably in this, her debut novel. I really connected with the Bayview Four, as they have become known, as they were all implicated in a fellow student’s death and had that thing in common, which led to romance in the case of two of them, and for the others an empowering self-discovery.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This one transcends two separate timelines and involves no fewer than three first-person perspectives. All of them are compelling as I felt completely engrossed in the story from the beginning, sharing both the curiosity of Caroline in her quest to find the origin of the perfume bottle she finds beside the Thames, and the tension of Nella and Eliza centuries earlier in their precarious existence.

What also makes it such a good read is that there are some clever sub-plots, especially when an unlikely connection emerges between the timelines and provides a thrilling twist.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This one is slightly different to the others on the list because the entire book is written in poetic verse, but the perspectives of the two girls are notably distinct from one another and are superbly executed. I was blown away by how it grew increasingly powerful, as they discovered each other like a miracle that followed a tragic event.

I took both characters to my heart, as their voices were so vividly realised on the page in a way that highlighted the things they had in common, and the things they did not. Elizabeth Acevedo has a rare gift of being able to create so much meaning with so few words.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

The interesting thing about this book is that it is separated into three parts and each time it is not immediately clear where we are in the timeline. The first two parts are narrated by the main character Henry, but he is a completely different person in the second one compared to who he is in the first. Then in the final part, we have a rather unexpected change of narrator, which gives it another dimension.

All of this ensures that the story remains intriguing and bewitching throughout, aided by a really immersive atmosphere. The first part is a bit slow and Henry is hard to grasp, but there is such reward to be had from reading on, as everything becomes clear and it is so cleverly done by the author.

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

This is a dystopia which delivers such depth and attention to detail, with the story switching frequently between three separate first-person perspectives, with one of them taking place in an earlier timeline. That approach really helps to get the most out of the concept, as it provides three differing, and equally hard-hitting angles.

The earlier timeline is more intricate and focuses on the origin of the health crisis, while it also takes the perspectives of a doctor who is faced with such an ethical dilemma, and a woman directly affected by the dystopian policy. All of these combine to make the story all the more powerful.

Let’s Chat

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favourite books which contain more than one first-person point of view? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading 🙂

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