So, in the last week or so, I have read two books in second person. Two!! Yeesh. Before that, the last time I read a book in second person was probably grade 2, and that book probably looked something like this:
Second person is just not a common POV — particularly in YA/NA (although if anyone has a whole bookshelf full of second person YA/NA at home, please correct me!). Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about POVs, so I thought I’d do a quick post about them – the pros/cons, etc.
1. First Person – There is a LOT of first person YA out there. A lot. (Too much?) First person POV is great because it allows you to really connect with the MC, to feel and experience things right there with them. But it can also limit you a bit as a writer — you can only describe what your character is present for. Katniss can learn that Cato killed Thresh, but she wasn’t there, so we the readers can’t see or experience the fight. And while some books will try to get around this by adding random chapters in third person (I won’t name names…;-)), it generally does not work.
2. Second Person – Like I said, I can only think of one YA book with a little bit of second person in it (Half Bad by Sally Green). And while I loved that book, I STILL don’t understand why some of it was in second person. That being said, I think second person might become a thing. I never thought I’d like it, but reading NPH’s autobiography (Choose Your Own Autobiography) and Half Bad, it really grew on me. Basically I think a second person YA/NA could be SUPER AWESOME, so if anyone would like to write one please send it to me ASAP.
3. Third Person – This includes third person omniscient and third person close. Third person omniscient is kind of old-fashioned, but I still think it can work well for certain stories. The thing you have to be careful of is flip-flopping between omniscient and third person close. Example: in the first Harry Potter book, we are third-person close with Harry, except for ONE SCENE where we follow Hermione going to light Snape’s robes during the Quidditch match. This POV switch STILL irks me, 18 years later. Hasn’t stopped me from re-reading the series say, two hundred times, but whatever. 🙂
Anyway. Whatever POV you write in, there will be pros and cons, but I think it’s important to pick a POV that suits your novel. Don’t just write a first person YA because the Hunger Games was in first person. There should be a reason behind your POV choice — and if your novel isn’t quite working, you might consider a POV switch! I’ve seen CP manuscripts go from pretty good to fantastic just from a simple POV change.