1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Not only is this book written in alternating first person, but each character’s chapters are penned by a different author. John Green writes the story of Will Grayson #1, a teen whose main mission is to be ignored. David Levithan writes the story of Will Grayson #2, who is coming to terms with several difficult things in his life – including coming out of the closet. The result is a book that not only has two unique characters, but two entirely different voices. It was very effective, and a thoroughly excellent book.
2. All Families Are Psychotic
It has now been years since I read this book, so my memory of it is a bit fuzzy. I do, however, remember it being full of really intense situations and… I don’t even know what to call them. Tropes, maybe? Not sure. Here’s a few examples. There’s a Thalidomide baby. Who’s also an astronaut. There’s a really weird situation that leaves two family members with AIDS. There’s gunplay. There’s a son sleeping with his father’s girlfriend (I think). There’s a kidnapping. And oh so much more. It felt more like a writing experiment than a novel to me – I think how I described it in my review was that Coupland took a cast of characters and threw every major plot device or social situation he could think of at them, just to see what would happen. The result is a book that is rarely mentioned when discussing his work, but one that I absolutely loved. I like crazy.
3. Grasshopper Jungle
Well you knew this one was going to make the list, didn’t you? It pretty much had to. I’ve talked about this in several posts recently, so I’m not going to go into detail yet again. If you are curious and missed my discussion, you can read my full review of it here.
4. A Prayer for Owen Meany
What made this unique was the way Owen’s dialogue was presented. This is another book I read ages ago – in high school, actually – so the plot isn’t really something I could tell you. What I do remember, however, is that every time Owen talks in the book, it’s in all capitals. I’ve never encountered this before or since, but it was an amazingly effective way of making his voice stand out.
5. The Graveyard Book
Rarely have I encountered a ghost story that didn’t completely give me the wiggins. But this one wasn’t creepy at all – in fact, the ghosts were the least scary part of the story. But mainly I’m including this (and this can also be said of Coraline) because I have so much admiration for authors who can write stories that will be understood differently by children and adults, allowing both to enjoy the experience of reading them. Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl are, in my opinion, the best at doing this.
6. Bridget Jones’ Diary
There are other characters like Bridget, but I think what made her unique for me was the format she was written in. The journal made her both more immediate and more accessible. I think this is part of why so many women identify with her, and why she’s such a beloved character – even though she’s probably best classes as “chick lit.”
7. The Silver Linings Playbook
I just loved the voice of the main character in this book. It was refreshingly honest and open, and I couldn’t help but feel for him.
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude
I don’t know if this book is totally unique – but it was my intro to magical realism, and I’d hazard to say that it’s the most vivid book I’ve ever read.
9. Travels With My Aunt
This is one of the most absurd, most hilarious books I’ve ever read. I really can’t sum it up – though you can read my review here. It was just awesome.
Honestly? I just love this girl. I don’t know if she’s exactly unique, but she sure stands out in my literary memory.
I’m sure I’ll think of all sorts of books that would have fit better, but this is what I’ve got! What are yours? //<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>