Books with conventional storylines are great and often leave you with a satisfied feeling after you’ve turned the last page. But, at times, readers crave for more. They want the thrill of something unconventional and out of the box, something that’s interesting and thought-provoking.
This World Book Day, we bring you a list of dark and twisted tales, told in unconventional ways, that may be outside your comfort zone but will most definitely keep you hooked!
'Girl, Interrupted' by Susanna Kaysen
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she had never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in a ward for teenage girls. Girl, Interrupted records her time in the hospital.
The book is beautiful, strange, and thought-provoking. Parts of the book speak to you, bringing out the thoughts that you never spoke out loud. The words in the book are familiar but spoken as if from the mouth of a complete stranger.
The tale is raw with emotion. It is honest and simple. The writing is bold, crisp, and concise. Be prepared to be dazzled by the writer’s sheer talent and way of presenting her truth.
'Wintergirls' by Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia and Cassie are best friends, the story’s ‘wintergirls’ frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But when Cassie dies, Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and deep in guilt for not being able to help save her.
This book focuses on eating disorders, many of which are still stigmatised in society. It makes the reader realise the importance of discussing mental health openly. And it does all this phenomenally. The words are full of anger, bitterness, resentment, and a cold-hearted carelessness that is almost frightening.
'The Silent Patient' by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. She is a famous artist married to an in-demand fashion photographer. She lives in a grand house in one of London’s poshest areas. One evening, her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot and Alicia shoots him five times in the face. She never speaks another word.
Alicia, in Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient, is a mysterious and intriguing character. The reader might have a hard time figuring her out. “What is up with Alicia?” is a question I asked myself throughout this page-turner.
'Before I Go to Sleep' by S J Watson
Before I Go to Sleep is a psychological thriller centered on a woman suffering from Anterograde amnesia. She wakes up every day with no knowledge of who she is. The story follows her as she tries to reconstruct her memories from a journal that she has been keeping for a while.
Through it, she learns that she has been seeing a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory; that her name is Christine Lucas; that she is 47-years-old and married, and has a son. As her journal grows it casts doubts on the recorded ‘facts’.
If you’re looking for a gripping read, then this might be the perfect one for you.
'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn
Right after a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment. She must return to her small hometown to cover the murders of two pre-teen girls. Haunted by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past and survive this homecoming.
Sharp Objects is a dark and disturbing read that thriller lovers would enjoy. If you appreciate books that have dysfunctional families and serious mental health issues at the core, this is for you. Be warned, however, that this book comes with trigger warnings for violence and self-harm.
Have you read these books? If not, do you plan to? Tell us in the comments section!
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