As a book blogger, I read a lot of books…a lot. I have read books from almost every genre; although, I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you that contemporary romances are my favorite. When I pick books to read for pleasure, I generally tend to gravitate towards a particular type – adult or new adult, contemporary romances written in alternating points of view. If I ask myself why, I would say it is because I like to be inside the heads of the characters I am reading. So, I decided to take a look at all of the different points of view a book can be written in. Of course, this list is for fiction books only.
- Third Person Limited – this point of view uses he and/or she and other pronouns to relay the actions and/or feelings of the characters, but does not allow the reader inside the characters’ heads. This seems to be the most common POV for a writer to use and is used in all genres. While I enjoy books written in Third Person Limited, it is impersonal and disconnected. I think it works for science fiction or thrillers/mysteries, but I have read a few romances that worked with this style, too.
- Third Person Omniscient – This POV still uses pronouns, but the narrator has access to feelings and thoughts of every character in the book. If I read a book written in third person POV, I prefer omniscient. I like to be inside the heads of the characters. I like to know what they are thinking and feeling.
- Second Person – this POV is rare in fiction. In fact, I can only think of one series the I have read that is told in second person and that is Britney King’s The Water Trilogy. Great trilogy of books, but initially it was a bit odd being literally inside the main characters’ heads. It felt a bit like being a therapist living in my patient’s head.
- 1st Person – As the name implies, books written in first person are told by the character and the reader gets an inside look at everything going on in the book. This is my personal favorite. As I have said (a lot), I feel more connected to the characters with this POV. I can feel their feels and picture them in my head. As odd as it sounds, I am a visual reader. I like a lot of description and detail so I can form a picture of what is happening in my mind. I find this is easier with first person POV.
First person POV is quite popular in the romance, new adult and young adult genres. It is used in other genres, as well, but I don’t find it there as often. In many of the books I read, the first person POV is further subdivided between the main characters, each chapter alternating between characters. This is my real favorite. Not only do I get inside their heads, I get to look at the picture from both sets of eyes/ears/etc. To me, this is a completely immersive reading experience. I have read books that include first person POV chapters from up to five different characters. Yes, it was a bit confusing to keep it all straight at times and I think it messed with the flow of the book some, but I liked all the same.
Recently, I read a book that was written in two different POVs. The female main character’s chapters were written in 1st person POV and the male main character’s chapters were written in third person limited. This is not my favorite. In this particular book, Beast: A Hate Story, The Beginning by Mary Catherine Gebhard (a fantastic book I highly recommend), I begrudgingly admit it worked. The female MC, Frankie, is the real star of the book, but her male counterpart, Beast, was also important to the story. He was the driving force behind Frankie’s change. I think Gebhard used this alternating POV style to show that while Beast was important to the story, he was merely the catalsyt and his character was cold and unfeeling most of the book. We, the readers, weren’t meant to connect with him. So, here it works. I have only read one other book with this style and in that book, unfortunately, it didn’t work.
So, what is your favorite style of POV? First person? Third person? Let me know in the comments below.