If You Like ... Unreliable Narrators

Reclusive Bilbiophile's "If You Like" theme for the week is: unreliable narrators.

If it's been a while since you sat in English class -- or maybe you dozed off a bit while you were there -- an unreliable narrator is ... a big fat liar.

Okay, maybe that's too harsh. Maybe the narrator just isn't very objective. Or is in denial. Or crazy. Sometimes the narrator will fess up to being untrustworthy at the outset, while other times his or her deceit isn't revealed until the end of the book. That's my favorite -- the Shocking Twist!

Here's my list of YA books with unreliable narrators:

Liar by Justine Larbastelier

The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier

After by Amy Efaw

Chime by Frannie Billingsley

Here are some of my favorite movies with unreliable narrators:

The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Shutter Island (2010)

Tell me who your favorite unreliable narrators are...


  1. Cara Lange from Choker by Elizabeth Woods
    Jamie from Tighter by Adele Griffin
    Josey from The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers
    Leena from Frost by Marianna Baer

    Yeah... I have a whole Goodreads shelf dedicated to unreliable narrators lol.

    1. Tighter -- absolutely I completely forgot about that one!
      That was a twist I never saw coming.
      I haven't read the others (though Vanishing Game is on my library wish list)
      Thanks so much for stopping by and chiming in.

  2. Great post. I am really bad at choosing my top faves for anything, so I won't try, but I really enjoyed reading your picks. :)

  3. I am impressed with your description of Unreliable Narrator. :)

    I agree with you about Thirteen Reasons Why--her perspective on the events was definitely not reliable.

    1. You mean big fat liar, pants on fire? Yes, I am very concise. And mature.
      I struggled with whether to include that book but decided that Hannah wasn't entirely reliable....

  4. You mentioned THE SIXTH SENSE which is mine. When it's done well, then it's "WELL DONE".

  5. I know! I just watched that movie again with someone who'd never seen it, and the whole time I was amazed that I never saw that twist coming.
    Have you read or watched Shutter Island?

  6. Would The Catcher in the Rye -(Holden Caulfield) be considered an unreliable narrator?

  7. Ooh Thirteen Reasons Why is one of the best books I have read. It is just so powerful and bold to write about such a topis as suicide. Very well done and I hope the author writes more books because this one was amazing.

    1. It is a really unique and powerful book. Jay Asher did publish The Future of Us this year, but it's totally different -- much less dark.


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