Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Need to Quit Claiming I Dislike First Person POV

April 25, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 43

Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday is actually “top book turnoffs” and I could certainly talk about my dislike of vampire/zombie/werewolf stories or how i can’t handle it when someone (or a dog) I’m attached to dies in the book or even how most of the time I avoid love triangles like the plague.

BUT… rogue blogger that I am … instead I’m going to talk about how one of my previous top book turnoffs has done an about face. When I first started blogging, I somewhat self-righteously claimed that I did not care at all for books written in the first person POV.

Well.

So much for that.

Over the past two years, I have fallen in love with this writing style – in the right hands of course. And the reason? I’ve read SO MANY FABULOUS first person POV books in that time frame! The ten I’m listing here are just a sampling, the ones I thought of off the top of my head.

The Everstone Chronicles
by Dawn Crandall

All four books in this series (The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter, The Cautious Maiden) are told solely in first person from the perspective of the heroine. And while I love the heroines, it’s the heroes that always stand out the most to me. Uniquely so, since we never get inside the heroes’ heads or hearts and yet I can tell exactly what they’re thinking and feeling. Dawn Crandall does a phenomenal job writing in this POV, and if you haven’t checked out her books yet … don’t wait any longer!

 

Mended Hearts Trilogy
by Varina Denman

These three books (Jaded, Justified, Jilted) blew me away with the Denman’s skill in switching seamlessly back and forth between first and third person POV. The use of first person here enables readers to more fully embrace the heroines, who are given not only a voice but more layers this way too. The story itself takes on more shape as well with the implementation of both POVs.

 

If I Run Trilogy
by Terri Blackstock

Talk about an intense series! The first person present POV (which switches between Casey and Dylan) adds to this intensity and amps up the tension on all levels. Right now, I’m very impatiently waiting for book 3 after recently finishing If I’m Found (in one breath, practically) and I CANNOT WAIT to see how it all plays out. Especially after seeing how the covers fit together to form a picture that – I’m not gonna lie – makes me very nervous for Casey.

 

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations
by V. Joy Palmer

This is such a CUTE book! I laughed most of the way through it. Izze and her unfiltered thoughts are perfect for fans of Gilmore Girls, and the occasional switches to third person for Miles’ POV make it all the more enjoyable. In fact, it was with this book that I decided that I needed to quit saying I didn’t like the first person POV. Up until this point, I’d been saying “I don’t like first person POV except for … (the books listed above)” but with Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, I became an official fan of the perspective.

 

 

Various Cozy Mysteries

Cozy mysteries are often written in first person, and I have several favorite series where this is the case. To name a few – Serena Jones Mysteries by Sandra Orchard, Kitty Couture Mysteries by Julie Chase, Kenni Lowry Mysteries by Tonya Kappes, and the Tourist Trap Mysteries by Lynn Cahoon. Something about the first person POV adds to the coziness and quirkiness of these books.

 

Daughters of Hampshire series
by Sandra Byrd

These gothic romances are so riveting that even if you don’t like first person POV you will love them! Like The Everstone Chronicles, you get so caught up in these novels that you forget you’re even reading first person POV. Trust me on this one.  Every book in this trilogy is fabulous – Mist of Midnight, Bride of a Distant Isle, A Lady in Disguise – I highly recommend them all!

 

You’re the Cream in my Coffee
by Jennifer Lamont Leo

This debut novel from Jennifer Lamont Leo was a delightful surprise all the way around! And it may end up being featured one day on a “Why I Need to Quit Claiming I Dislike Reading About the Roaring Twenties” post. Marjorie Corrigan’s witty and winsome first person narration had me hooked from the very first page – as poor Marjorie attempts to explain to us (despite what we may have heard) what didn’t cause her fainting spell at the Orpheum during the Sunday matinee. It just gets more entertaining from there!

 

Better Together
by Kimberly Stuart

Like You’re the Cream in my Coffee, Better Together may show up on another post in the future. This one would be titled “Why I Need to Quit Claiming I Dislike ‘Married Person’ Fiction”. (The exception of course being marriage of convenience stories lol) But – related to the topic at hand – protagonist Heidi’s snarky first person POV narration absolutely MADE this book for me. She speaks my language. And I don’t think I would have really “gotten” her personality without it being told from her POV. Absolutely spot-on decision by the author.

 

Of Stillness and Storm
by Michele Phoenix

The first person POV in Of Stillness and Storm allows us into Lauren’s mind and into her heart, and as everything comes crashing down around her it gives us a backstage pass to all of the emotions she experiences. In turn, we experience them with her. And as a result, the story is that much more poignant as well as sobering.

 

Unblemished
by Sara Ella

This book, y’all. It’s amazing on every level. And the first person POV is icing on the cake. Eliyana’s story is so compelling and fascinating that it’s impossible to pay attention to anything else until you’ve finished it. And THEN you’ll be salivating for the next book Unraveling to find out WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!

 

What about you? Are you a fan of first person POV or no?

Carrie

43 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Need to Quit Claiming I Dislike First Person POV”

  1. Rachael Merritt

    I’ve always liked it when well done…but not a lot in this genre. Two words that totally changed my viewpoint on how well a historical Christian fiction can be done in first person: Dawn Crandall!!
    I’ve learned a lesson…give things a chance…you just might be surprised! 🙂

  2. Katie Donovan

    Lol! Good take on the topic. I could have done a similar post on books written in present-tense–if I’d thought of it sooner… 🙂 Personally, I don’t mind either way with first or third person, so long as they’re done well!

  3. Heather Tabata

    I have always preferred third person without being able to figure out exactly why, and it bothers me. I’ve read first person books I liked, but usually I feel like a book grinch. My TBR list just got longer – hopefully I’ll read myself out of my bias!

  4. Catherine West

    Funny story. Years ago, I loathed first person. In fact, I would rarely even buy a book if I knew it was written in first because I couldn’t stand it. But then it became the rage, and literally every book I wanted to read was in first, so I sucked it up. And discovered that well-written first can be a true delight. That said, there was no way in lower middle earth I was EVER going to write in first!!! Never never ever. Ahem. So let’s just say that if my next two novels see the light of day at some point, my readers might be in for a surprise. 🙂
    Signed,
    A First Person Convert

  5. Toni Shiloh

    Yes! Dawn Crandall made me a convert. Terri Blackstock’s If I Run series hit it out the ball park. I’d also add Sarah Monzon’s The Isaac Project. Jennifer Peel (clean writer) does awesome ones that usually make me cry somewhere along the journey, lol.

  6. Beckie B.

    I don’t mind first person if it is past tense. It gives me hope the character survives! LOL! But first person/present tense is a bit harder. If it is done well, then it keeps me in the action. Terri Blackstock’s If I Run series is one that does a great job.

    What about a mix of first person and third person? Elizabeth Musser’s The Long Highway Home did that very effectively.

  7. Rebecca Maney

    Dawn Crandall made me see the possibilities, as well. I have never favored it either, but the quality has gone way up, as indicated in this post. I have loved many of the same books, and completely forgot about the fact that they were written in first person.

  8. Vannetta Chapman

    As you all have said, if it.s done well then it.s fine. Here.s what I.ve noticed…if it.s done well I actually forget I.m reading 1st person. If it.s done poorly, I think the main character is narcissistic and immature. Lol. There are some good ones out there!

  9. Melody

    My first thought on seeing the title to this post: The Everstone Chronicles!! Really, that’s reason enough for me 😉 (swooning now as heroes come to mind)

  10. Regina Merrick

    I’m with you. I used to be “eh” on first person, and then I found Janice Thompson’s “Bella” series. I’ve actually read them more than once, and I rarely do that anymore!

  11. Cathe Swanson

    I don’t mind first-person POV, but I have to admit… I don’t care for it in present tense because I listen to most books in audio, and first-person present tense – even from a good actor – sounds very stream-of-consciousness drifty. It’s especially difficult shifting from prose to dialog, because there is no clear transition unless the sentence actually starts with “I say,…” instead of having it at the end. You can’t tell if the character is actually thinking something or saying it out loud. The narrator has to be in the character’s voice throughout the book, so there’s no change there. Having to stop to figure it out pulls me from the story – no matter how good the story is!
    ***I think this is ONLY an audiobook issue, though. Reading it in a book isn’t as bad. If the audiobook market continues to grow and this style of writing remains popular, authors might want to keep that problem in mind as they are writing and be sure their story “reads” as well as it looks on paper.

  12. Andrea Stephens

    I love your posts, Carrie!
    I think because I didn’t always have easy access to books, I read whatever was available, wherever I was, I learned to enjoy all POV’s from an early age.

  13. Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse

    I love that you’re calling yourself out with this post. It’s amazing how our views of books change the longer we read and review. I think first person narration has come a long way in recent years. Now, it’s to the point where I want all my books to be in. It’s so easy to mess up the third person narration with fast perspective switches and poor writing. I hope you continue to find more books in first person that you love. 🙂 Way to go rogue!!!
    My TTT.

  14. Sarah Monzon

    I loooove 1st person. Nicole Deese and Jennifer Rodewald are 2 more that do it fabulously!!

  15. Beth

    I have always loved first person. In fact, I’d sometimes choose between books to read by which was written in first person. It wasn’t until I joined Goodreads that I realized some people actually hated it. I always thought it was like the person was actually talking to me, and something about that just connects me to the story better. But I do read and enjoy both.

    I did notice that not much CF was written in first person when I started reading it, but happily and thankfully that has changed a lot. I remember when I first discovered Siri Mitchell’s books, hers were among the first CF books written in first person that I ever read.

  16. Yvette-Bookworlder

    I am a recent convert as well – I’ve actually been slowly working on a post about this 😀 Some great examples here, and some I’ve yet to read (as usual, you are adding to my TBR).

  17. Rachael

    I’ve always enjoyed both third and first person equally; one or the other can be better depending on the book, but I’ve never had a problem with first person. Present tense, now–that bugs me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book in present tense that wouldn’t have sounded better in past tense.

    • Carrie

      The exception to that, in my opinion, is the If I Run series by Terri Blackstock. I don’t normally care for present tense either but in this case it works well!

  18. Dawn Crandall

    Wow! This post and the comments after it have just made my week! Thank you, READERS! And thank you, Carrie! There are so many books on this list I haven’t read yet and now I’m so looking forward to! Although I write in 1st (and LOVE doing so!), most of my favorite authors are historical romance authors who write 3rd person! And just wait until October, Carrie! My crit partner Joanna Davidson Politano pulls off 1st POV heroine and 3rd person hero in her mystery set in Victorian England! It’s called “Lady Jayne Disappears” from REVELL.

  19. Rachel Dixon

    I never “disliked” First Person…but done poorly, ANY POV can be annoying. Haha! I have read some that are better than others for sure. I ADORE The Everstone Chronicles!

  20. Heather Day Gilbert

    I am more likely to pick up a 1st person book than a 3rd, and I’m more likely to pick up something written in present tense than in past. I have no idea why I’m wired that way, but it’s also the way I enjoy writing. It’s also a nearly unconscious choice–I’ll read a book sample, and quite often when it’s written in 1st, I will wind up getting “hooked” faster. I loved Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca”, which is in first, as is “Wuthering Heights” (Dawn Crandall’s writing reminds me of this book). But some authors have a brilliant way of making 3rd person FEEL like first to me (writing in deep 3rd). Becky Doughty does this brilliantly.

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