Some of my favorite novels are those where the narrator is unreliable. This is usually due to an impaired mental state like schizophrenia or amnesia. Whatever the case, unreliable narrators don’t usually present themselves right away, but when they do they seem to turn the novel you are reading upside down–and I love it when that happens! Reading becomes exciting, because you realize that you don’t know where the story is going and you have to decide: are you going to risk it and put your trust in your narrator or are you going to be suspicious of him or her all the way to the last page?
There has been a bit of buzz about unreliable narrators recently. Teen Librarian Toolbox recently posted about unreliable narrators, inspired by reading Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Beth Revis posted a cool look at why she thinks unreliable narrators are so popular right now and why she chose to make her main character in Across the Universe unreliable. Finally, check out this post on Stacked that talks about the mini-trend of amnesia fiction. Generally if your main character has amnesia, there is something unreliable about them; they are missing some key parts of their memory that would definitely make the mystery easier to solve.
If you’re interested in taking a chance with an unreliable narrator, then check out the list of titles I compiled below. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!