I’ve always enjoyed books with unique formats because it’s different change of pace and can add to the story. Here are some of the books that I’ve read that have unique ways of storytelling.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
FORMAT: One of my favorite formats on this list and my favorite aspect of the novel is the unique narrative. Because there are two stories, two protagonists, the story is told in a simultaneous double narrative. While you read Clay’s story you’re also listening to the tapes he’s listening to. It is confusing at first, but after a couple of chapters it’s easy to keep up with the story.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
FORMAT: This book is made up of a series of vignettes (really, really, really short chapters) that describe different moments in the protagonist’s life. The small chapters and Cisnero’s writing style make it a fast and enjoyable read. It’s one of the few books I re-read each year.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
FORMAT: This is a book written entirely in free verse poetry making it an easy and fast read. The author definitely has fun with the format and it shows, however it doesn’t take away from the serious subject matter. According to the author, what happens in the book actually happened to her own daughter.
NOTE: This book is the first in a trilogy but I’ve only read the first one.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Lincoln gets hired by a newspaper to monitor the company’s emails when he begins to fall in love with Beth Fremont from reading her emails.
FORMAT: The format changes back and forth between normal prose and email messages. I’m always worried about weird formats like this but then I’m proven wrong, and I’m always glad that I am. This is no exception because the emails form part of the most exciting moments in the story.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
FORMAT: Two things. One, I’m pretty sure everyone knows the format. Two, if you didn’t I already gave it away in my summary. The only other thing I can say is that I’m amazed at how detailed and long Charlie’s letters are. I don’t think I could write like he does.
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: After their planet is attacked, survivors flee from their home planet in the hopes of reaching a safer destination while the Lincoln, a dangerous spaceship follows them through the cosmos.
FORMAT: This is the book that inspired me to make this list because it is so drastically different from everything I’ve ever read. It is a collection of interviews, videos, memos, emails, and so much more. It was a bit hard to understand the story at first but ultimately the format really made the story.
NOTE: This is the first in a series called the Illuminae Files. I also wrote a review of it you can check it out HERE. Spoiler alert: It was amazing!
Diary formats, for me, can go either way. I either love them or hate them. For example, I wasn’t a fan of the format while I read Gabi, a Girl in Pieces but I think it worked really well for Go Ask Alice.
– Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
– Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
– Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Let me know what you think. Have you read any of these? Did I miss a book? Let me know in the comments!