The Silver Lining | Book Recommendations: books with unconventional structures

As mentioned in my post yesterday, here are recommendations for books with unconventional structures:


    • Icons by Margaret Stohl

Each narrative chapter is followed by an email, an excerpt from a document, a reprint of a newspaper article, etc. These round out the story by giving information the narrator isn’t privy to either because it happened before she was born (world building backstory) or it’s a glimpse at an email correspondence between two different characters. These deviations from the narrative serve to amp the stakes by introducing a mystery about the main character’s fate.

    • Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

The novel is divided into several sections titled after piano directions (such as Free Cadenza). These piano directions serve as directions for the character as well. The interesting part of the structure is that every now and then there is a chapter titled INTERMEZZO, which Wikipedia defines as “In music, an intermezzo (Italian pronunciation: [ˌintɛrˈmɛddzo], plural: intermezzi), in the most general sense, is a composition which fits between other musical or dramatic entities, such as acts of a play or movements of a larger musical work.” These Intermezzo sections deviate from the main narrative, telling a different story that provides a glimpse into Lucy’s past and illuminates the reasons why she no longer plays piano.

    • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The main narrative is told in 1st person POV from Rory’s perspective. However, interspersed throughout the novel there are chapters told in third person which show how the victims die. Rory then investigates those deaths.

    • But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

This novel is told in reverse chronological order, starting from the end of an abusive relationship to the beginning.

    • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This one is unique because of the nature of the Groundhog’s Day premise, but this book retells the same day of Samantha’s life over and over again until she gets it right.

    • Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

This book is told only as letters. The main narrative is told as letters from the protagonist to Celia. However, there are letters from fake organizations sent to the protagonist, which add humor and intrigue.

    • Survivor by Chuck Pahlniuk

Like Looking For Alaska, the chapter numbers count down in this book. I believe this book is also told as an oral recording found in the black box of a plane that has crashed.

    • Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

If I remember correctly (and it’s been a while since I read this book), there aren’t chapters but chemistry headings to separate each section. The protagonist loves chemistry.


Do you have any other suggestions for books with unique structures? If so, link me in the comments!

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