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Recommendations > Mentally unbalanced characters

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message 1: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Can anyone recommend a good book with a mentally unstable character at the core of the plot? Not mentally handicapped, not serial-killer psycho, and not suffering from recent trauma. More of a not-quite-normal character who unnerves people but they can`t quite say why. (Ticking time bomb or edge of madness kind of unstable would be great.) A Dangerous Woman by Mary McGarry Morris is one - if you know of another, but written for teens, please let me know. Thanks.


message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (brenda_bickham) | 2 comments Catherine wrote: "Can anyone recommend a good book with a mentally unstable character at the core of the plot? Not mentally handicapped, not serial-killer psycho, and not suffering from recent trauma. More of a not-..."

Have you read "Inexcusable" by Chris Lynch? It's about rape and the story is told from the POV of the guy who raped his best girl friend. Your inside his head and he's REALLY unstable. It's a YA novel. Very well done and a good read.


message 3: by Julie (last edited Jul 12, 2011 10:11AM) (new)

Julie S. I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for, but here are some that may or may not fit your criteria:

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini LoveSick by Jake Coburn Right Behind You by Gail Giles The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Liar by Justine Larbalestier The Wave by Todd Strasser Watchmen by Alan Moore Lord of the Flies by William Golding Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe


message 4: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Brenda wrote: "Catherine wrote...

Thanks, Brenda. I will try Inexcusable, although I'm not good with stories about sexual violence and usually avoid them. But I read some reviews and, as you said, it's supposed to be well done.


message 5: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Julie wrote: "I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for

Thanks for the many suggestions, Julie. I will try some of those for sure. I love Gail Giles and haven't read Right Behind You, and Liar sounds up my alley, too.


message 6: by Brenda (last edited Jul 13, 2011 11:16AM) (new)

Brenda (brenda_bickham) | 2 comments Catherine wrote: "Brenda wrote: "Catherine wrote...

Thanks, Brenda. I will try Inexcusable, although I'm not good with stories about sexual violence and usually avoid them. But I read some reviews and, as you sai..."


Hi Catherine, Just to let you know - - the book starts just after the rape incident takes place. The book's focus is on the perspective of the unreliable narrator and how he justifies his behavior to himself.


message 7: by Angelene (new)

Angelene Hanna (angiehanna) | 2 comments Brenda wrote: "Catherine wrote: "Can anyone recommend a good book with a mentally unstable character at the core of the plot? Not mentally handicapped, not serial-killer psycho, and not suffering from recent trau..."

This was the first book that came to my mind as well.


message 8: by Angelene (new)

Angelene Hanna (angiehanna) | 2 comments Another good one for this is Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan. Two teens fake a kidnapping to beef up their chances of writing a good college admissions essay. However, one of them does some things that definitely call her mental stability into question. Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan


message 9: by Rebecca (last edited Jul 13, 2011 02:45PM) (new)

Rebecca (bexlibris) The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin is a good one

and The Night I Disappeared by Julie Reece Deaver and also Silent to the Bone by E.L. Konigsburg


message 10: by bjneary (new)

bjneary | 236 comments Yes I agree that Gail Giles books Playing in Traffic by Gail Giles , What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles , and Shattering Glass by Gail Giles . I would also recommend Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers


message 11: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Thanks, BJNeary! Yes, I have read those Gail Giles books - I really like her. Shattering Glass was my favourite of those (but my favourite scene is in Cass MacBride when the brothers are talking for the last time - that has stuck with me like a knife - so poignant). I will try your other suggestion, too.

And thanks, Rebecca and Angelene. I am building up a nice list now. So glad I asked.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh gosh this made me laugh out loud haha! I don't want to sound like a spammer or something, but my book that just released on Monday is about a girl who is mentally unbalanced...but that's because she's from an alternate dimension that she doesn't remember. (Thing LOTR crosses into modern day world - the book is called Zirconya)

Anyway, other than that, wasn't Bella Swan pretty unstable? (Though I doubt you haven't read that already)

Other than that, I can't really think of something that really pops to mind. But, I'm honestly curious of what else people recommend. I'll be following this thread :)


message 13: by Jennie (new)

Jennie Catherine wrote: "Can anyone recommend a good book with a mentally unstable character at the core of the plot? Not mentally handicapped, not serial-killer psycho, and not suffering from recent trauma. More of a not-..."

Try Wintergirls. The main character is suffering from some SERIOUS trauma. It involves eating disorders, death, mental illness, and family dysfunction.


message 14: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Thanks, Jennie. I've read Wintergirls - yes, it's a good one. (Speak is great, too, by the same author.)

Diana, so funny about Bella Swan being unstable - yeah, I guess she is but I don't think she's meant to be.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - I've really enjoyed all the titles you've recommended. (Still to go: Rules of Survival and Some Girls Are, but gettng there.)


message 15: by Tripmastermonkey (new)

Tripmastermonkey Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance 1973 has a set of characters who are all in therapy in highschool. Great book.


message 16: by Austin (new)

Austin | 2 comments GUTS by Cynbad by Cynbad

I just reponded to another post on this site. These escorts are intriguing...not what I expected. This girl Cynthia/Cynbad (alter ego) is so dysfunctional, but if this is a true story (based on her website and FB it is!!) then she should get the award for most unbalanced. Great reading....Austin


message 17: by Gabriella (new)

Gabriella Impulse by Ellen Hopkins or really any books by her are really good. Also, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous.


message 18: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Thanks, Jennie, I will give Mara Dyer a try.
Tripmastermonkey, I have Tales of the Madman Underground on my end table, ready to read. Thanks for the suggestion. (It's longer than my typical choice but sounds great.)
Gabriella, I read Go Ask Alice years ago but I will look for Impulse.
And Austin, I'm not sure the escort story is my style - true-life unstable people are sadly too common (!) - but thanks anyway.


message 19: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Haveman (jenni_h) | 1 comments Catherine, LIAR by Justine Labalestier might fit; it's a "different" one, as it really keeps the reader wondering what's what! It plays on the current trend towards the supernatural (werewolves in this case), but the unreliable narrator admits she has a problem with telling the truth.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

without a doubt Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
you will love it. 2.99 on amazon kindle!


message 21: by Madi (new)

Madi (madqueeen) | 4 comments The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a really great one. The main character is trying to find himself and is pretty unstable while doing it, but the ending is beautiful.


message 22: by Liv (new)

Liv Chanin (liv_chanin) | 1 comments How about Kenneth Oppel's This Dark Endeavor. It's the first in a series about the young Victor Frankenstein. The main character is not outright crazy, but he definitely has some issues. It's a great book.


message 23: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Austen | 8 comments Thanks, guys. Jenni, I did read Liar, which Julie also suggested. Very unbalanced character indeed. Abbey, I might try Beautiful Disaster, and Madi, I will try Perks, for sure. Liv, This Dark Endeavor is already on my "to read" list. (It's on the shortlist for the Canadian Library Assocation's Young Adult Book Award, as is my own teen novel, All Good Children. Sad to say, I haven't read any of the other shortlisted titles - but I'm trying to rectify that.) I have heard great things about it. Oppel is such a good writer - and yes, Frankenstein would be unbalanced, wouldn't he? I'll move it to the top of my TBR list. Thanks!


message 24: by Bryce (new)

Bryce Needhan (Bookmarks) | 3 comments Josh Newman from The Neceomanser is kinda unstable.


message 25: by Katie (new)

Katie (keking) Choker by Elizabeth Woods. Completely surprised me.


message 26: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferlaurens) | 5 comments Inexcusable by M. Lynch.


message 27: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferlaurens) | 5 comments Oooh, and my all-time fav: Endless Love by Scott Spencer FIVE STARS


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