Book list: Duets (or multiple perspectives)

Sometimes one perspective just doesn’t get the job done.  Sometimes you want to dig deep into the minds of many characters.  In the list below, we suggested titles that are all the better for drawing from multiple teens.


Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

A high-intensity, New York love story of two teenagers who fall into an accidental first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi driver wisdom . . . and share the kind of night you want to never end, when every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster. All to a killer soundtrack, of course.

Nick and Norah is the definitive multiple perspective young adult novel.  Cohn and Levithan wrote wonderfully apart to bring together two unique characters within an adventure ridden night with high emotional stakes.  Brave, bright and a smashing read.

Allen and Unwin


Thirteen Reasons Why

Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future

You can’t rewind the past

The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life . . . forever.

In listening to Hannah’s tapes, we take in both Hannah and Clay’s stories.  How they intertwine, how they unraveled and how it ended.  A gripping story from start to finish that really makes the reader think about how their action (or inaction) may affect those around them



Froi of the Exiles

Melina Marchetta

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home – or so he believes.

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper.  But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds.  Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Don’t worry about a duet, this book is a harmony of voices rising with each chapter from start to finish.  Although (and we’re not going to spoil) there are a a few lovely duets that are bound to raise questions in the reader’s mind, as they do in other characters.  Intrigued you yet?



Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight

Nick Earls & Rebecca Sparrow

Joel would prefer to get through his final year of high school without Cat Davis or his mother’s faux Spanish boyfriend and just hang-out with his best-friend Luke.

Cat Davis has an annoying best-friend, an even more annoying little brother, and a deep abiding hatred of Joel Hedges.
Due to an unfortunate incident involving a leaking pen and suspected outbreak of Bird Flu, Joel and Cat are forced to sit next to each other in Extension English.

To make matters worse, and to their mutual horror, they are paired together for a tandem story writing assignment.

What ensues reveals a lot about how smug teenage boys are and what teenage girls really think. No, wait – it’s about a sane female and an insane male. It’s about revenge and mistaken identity.

Words cannot express how much joy can be wrung out of this novel.  The established Earls paired with (at the time) debut writer Sparrow to weave this rip-roaring, emotionally resonant and wonderfully crafted.


A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl

Tanya Lee Stone

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva are three very different girls who all meet the same bad boy with an irresistible knack for getting into their blood and under their skin.

Will the choices they make and the paths they take lead them where they want to go?

This British exploration of love, sex and the gender divide is beautifully conceptualised.  What makes it even more impressive is that it is written completely in free verse.  Stone’s work is lyrical,  articulate and breathtakingly real.


The Last Days

Scott Westerfeld

Strange things are happening in New York City. But for Moz, Zahler and Pearl, all that matters is their new band. As the city reels under a mysterious epidemic, They join up with a vampire lead singer and a drummer whose fractured mind can sense the coming darkness. Will their music stave off the end of the world? Or summon it?

What better way to explore multiple characters than amidst the gritty wreckage of an apocalypse?  The follow up to Westerfeld’s popular Peeps, The Last Days takes the reader inside the inner workings of a dysfunctional band while exposing you to the creepy and very real sides of life.


 What other tales of two (or more) make you want to tell the world about them?

TAGS: , , , ,


  1. jkerr says:

    I love ‘Graffiti Moon’ by Cath Crowley as a multi-perspective contemporary (and brilliant) YA read!

    Less YA-marketed, but certainly still adored by teens (and adults. And myself.) – is Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’.

  2. Mif says:

    It’s yr Life by Tempany Deckert and Tristan Bancks

Leave a comment

Comments may be reviewed before being published.

Please read our blog guidelines before you reply.

Will not be published