Juvenile Narrators in Books for Grown-Ups

Novels and memoirs addressed to a grown-up audience, but narrated from a child's or teenager's perspective (AND, in the event of a first-person narrative, in a juvenile narrative voice; i.e. NOT in the voice of an adult looking back to their childhood, as is the case in, e.g., Dickens's "Great Expectations" and "David Copperfield" or Grass's "Tin Drum," as well as in most childhood memoirs, but books where the author genuinely and completely espouses the juvenile narrator's perspective throughout all, or substantially all of the book).

1

by
4.28 avg rating — 4,886,622 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
3.89 avg rating — 1,276,435 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
3.81 avg rating — 2,924,606 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
3.82 avg rating — 1,187,506 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.06 avg rating — 1,167,300 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.07 avg rating — 681,181 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
3.82 avg rating — 156,409 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.04 avg rating — 89,457 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
3.83 avg rating — 2,117,460 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
3.87 avg rating — 8,160 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
3.98 avg rating — 96,849 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.90 avg rating — 658,598 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 374,070 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 89,932 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.97 avg rating — 397,952 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.06 avg rating — 754,251 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
3.69 avg rating — 2,421,016 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
3.58 avg rating — 197,524 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
3.84 avg rating — 18,930 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
3.92 avg rating — 777,710 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
3.71 avg rating — 87,755 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
4.16 avg rating — 3,004,068 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
4.15 avg rating — 593,989 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.08 avg rating — 192,659 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
4.08 avg rating — 1,101,338 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.12 avg rating — 569,339 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.97 avg rating — 9,159 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
3.92 avg rating — 1,417,802 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
3.47 avg rating — 56,181 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.09 avg rating — 210,941 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
3.78 avg rating — 28,893 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.32 avg rating — 83,440 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
4.21 avg rating — 53,587 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
3.96 avg rating — 14,573 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.99 avg rating — 153,111 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.08 avg rating — 242,042 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
3.64 avg rating — 60,085 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.28 avg rating — 88 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.39 avg rating — 714 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
3.71 avg rating — 46,313 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
4.09 avg rating — 228,416 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
3.67 avg rating — 6,971 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
4.01 avg rating — 99,281 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.17 avg rating — 87,157 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
4.12 avg rating — 40,078 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.22 avg rating — 944 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
3.59 avg rating — 23,759 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
3.97 avg rating — 87,001 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
3.73 avg rating — 1,892 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
3.59 avg rating — 5,821 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
3.66 avg rating — 4,863 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
3.61 avg rating — 141,848 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.30 avg rating — 2,900 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
3.86 avg rating — 5,108 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.10 avg rating — 1,804,465 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
4.18 avg rating — 542,356 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 21,572 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.88 avg rating — 8,467 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
3.84 avg rating — 115 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
3.65 avg rating — 4,591 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5,798 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.22 avg rating — 102,643 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
4.05 avg rating — 3,481 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
3.93 avg rating — 336 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.05 avg rating — 24,378 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.18 avg rating — 396,303 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
4.12 avg rating — 20,199 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
3.45 avg rating — 1,640 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
3.70 avg rating — 5,815 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.94 avg rating — 78,947 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.98 avg rating — 15,964 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.84 avg rating — 309,209 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.95 avg rating — 3,012 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
3.98 avg rating — 17,827 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.78 avg rating — 552 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.89 avg rating — 15,749 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
3.81 avg rating — 3,788 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.91 avg rating — 20,956 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
3.92 avg rating — 81,468 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.31 avg rating — 193 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.83 avg rating — 1,381 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.05 avg rating — 177,546 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
4.02 avg rating — 131,796 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.31 avg rating — 316,217 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.12 avg rating — 5,332 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
3.93 avg rating — 17,941 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
3.66 avg rating — 32,074 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
3.62 avg rating — 133,864 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
3.99 avg rating — 20,401 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.79 avg rating — 12,226 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.03 avg rating — 245 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.92 avg rating — 2,978 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
2.90 avg rating — 500 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.48 avg rating — 3,316 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.66 avg rating — 2,786 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.53 avg rating — 5,299 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.76 avg rating — 5,428 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.70 avg rating — 2,168 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.67 avg rating — 14,477 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
176 books · 110 voters · list created March 6th, 2010 by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (votes) .
28 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
371 friends
Bettie 15637 books
124 friends
Mir 13158 books
448 friends
Reese 1107 books
32 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3263 books
861 friends
bookworm729 1680 books
1 friend
Megan 8 books
3 friends
Phillip 4741 books
134 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Eli (new)

Eli Dorywright Brilliant as it is, I don't think ALL QUIET really fits the bill. Paul's narration is from a point of view of his essential adulthood near the end of the war. But I guess that's open to interpretation.


Maurizio (matemati) I don't think # 1 and 2 belong to the list: they were not 'addressed to a grown-up audience', I remember reading them before my teens


message 3: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jul 17, 2010 11:33AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Just because we may read them in or before our teens, doesn't mean they were meant for teenagers (Star book in this category: Gulliver's Travels. A political satire written for adults, that is now read by children. Often confused children!). In Twain's case in particular I would argue against this interpretation.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) I agree -- and ditto for "Mockingbird." The book was written in the 1960s, at the height of racial tensions in the U.S. -- and it contains pointed social commentary. It's to Harper Lee's great credit that, inter alia by choosing a juvenile narrator, she managed to get her points across in a way that everybody can (or should be able to) understand. But it is manifestly NOT children's literature!


message 5: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jul 17, 2010 03:00PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yep. And in Twain's case, there wasn't even a concept of "adolescent literature" at the time! There may have been such a concept when Mockingbird was written, but it wasn't a big trend if it did exist, and Mockingbird was not part of it. I became a teenager in the very late 70s, and even then "YA" was not much of a concept; I remember transiting from what was clearly children's literature to adult novels my mother thought I might like. This was normal.


message 6: by M (last edited Jul 17, 2010 11:04PM) (new)

M Themis-Athena wrote: "I agree -- and ditto for "Mockingbird." The book was written in the 1960s, at the height of racial tensions in the U.S. -- and it contains pointed social commentary. It's to Harper Lee's great cr..."

Here's the definition of The Listopia's list for "Juvenile Narrators in Books for Grown-Ups" that you have created.
" Novels and memoirs addressed to a grown-up audience, but narrated from a child's or teenager's perspective (AND, in the event of a first-person narrative, in a juvenile narrative voice; i.e. NOT in the voice of an adult looking back to their childhood, as is the case in, e.g., Dickens's "Great Expectations" and "David Copperfield" or Grass's "Tin Drum," as well as in most childhood memoirs, but books where the author genuinely and completely espouses the juvenile narrator's perspective throughout all, or substantially all of the book). "

This is an interesting list as always! The two words " Juvenile Narrators " are the keys to built this list. I agree with you that To Kill a Mockingbird is NOT children's literature.

This book is a genre of the novel which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood, named " The Bildungsroman"

Here's the definition from wikipedia with a list of books.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildungs...
Some other titles in the same literary genre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (2000)
The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino (1957)
The Adolescent by Fedor Dostoievski (1875)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1876)
The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978)

And finally, the definition of " The Children Literature " (under fourteen)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children...

And the definition of " YA literature " ( young persons between fourteen and twenty-one)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-ad...


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Yes -- Dai Sijie's book and "Garp" definitely belong on this list as well ... Thanks for mentioning them, Michelle, and also for researching all those definitions!


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "Yep. And in Twain's case, there wasn't even a concept of "adolescent literature" at the time! There may have been such a concept when Mockingbird was written, but it wasn't a big trend if it did exist, and Mockingbird was not part of it. I became a teenager in the very late 70s, and even then "YA" was not much of a concept; I remember transiting from what was clearly children's literature to adult novels my mother thought I might like. This was normal."

Yes, that's exactly my experience as well ... :)


Maurizio (matemati) You guys might be right ... indeed, I hadn't thought of the 'YA' genre, which those two books should belong more than to 'Children's books'
If by 'adults' we mean 'young adults' as well, I guess I'll have to vote those books too :)


message 10: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Correct me if my recall plays me false, but isn't the Narrator in Lord of the Flies outside of Ralph's consciousness, but "looking over his shoulder", as it were. We could use Wayne Booth's Rhetoric of Fiction along about now.


message 12: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Laura wrote: "What about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas andEmpire of the Sun?"

Don't know them, but the same scrutiny should be applied to each and to all in this list: Do we have a young person thinking and talking the story, perhaps to us or to someone else.


message 13: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Jul 17, 2013 05:03PM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Laura: Bring 'em on.

Thom: "Looking over his shoulder" is close enough. If not (and leaving the realm of youthful POV), what are you going to do about a beast such as Wolf Hall? It's Cromwell's POV all the way through, even though strictly in third person narrative with nary an "I" even in dialogue, a substantial part of which is actually even indirect speech if you look at it (and I've yet to make up my mind how much of Cromwell's inner life I'm being served -- in "Bring Up the Bodies" as well, for that matter).

What I'm looking for is books that aren't obviously written with hindsight 20/20 (or even 15/20 or 18/20) awareness and analysis, but which take me into the a child's narrative POV, telling or recounting the events as if they were being experienced/relived at the moment of their telling, and with the same unawareness of what's going to happen next, as in first experiencing these events.


message 14: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Themis-Athena wrote: "Laura: Bring 'em on.

Thom: "Looking over his shoulder" is close enough. If not (and leaving the realm of youthful POV), what are you going to do about a beast such as Wolf Hall? It's Cromwell's ..."


The Narrator is the story teller, not the Central Consciousness or the Point of View, IMO....Quoth my mentor, the late Austin Wright of the Chicago School of Neo-Aristotelian Formalism.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Who's the narrator in a 3d person (or 2d person!) account told strictly from the POV of the novel's protagonist, then? That's why I'm emphasing (in the list description, to begin with) "perspective" and "point of view." I don't care whether it's a 1st, 2nd or 3rd person narrative. I do care about point of view.


message 16: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Themis-Athena wrote: "Who's the narrator in a 3d person (or 2d person!) account told strictly from the POV of the novel's protagonist, then? That's why I'm emphasing (in the list description, to begin with) "perspectiv..."

No general answer applies. Narration and POV are often two different things. Holden Caulfield is a first-person narrator (obviously). In Jack London's "To Build a Fire", the Narrator is omniscient, but the POV is clearly that of "the Man"... interspersed with that of the dog. In Hemingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis McComber," the POV shifts at one point to that of a lion lurking near the people in the story !


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Exactly -- all of which however only brings us back to: I don't care about the narrator. I do care about point of view ...


message 18: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis What do you think about The Glass Castle? It's been a couple of years, and I can't recall whether most of it is a juvenile narrator, or an adult remembering it...


back to top



Related News

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...

Anyone can add books to this list.