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Presented by State Library Victoria

Novels written as letters, diaries and other documents

The technical term is epistolary novel  – a novel narrated in diary entries, transcripts, emails, notes, newspaper clippings, etc. Have you read any? It’s one of the most inventive, fun literary forms around and here are some selections from the upcoming March release To Night Owl, From Dogfish to the old favourtie The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

Cover of To Night Owl From Dogfish

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer

A laugh-out-loud novel by two well-known authors, told entirely in letters and emails. Imagine Parent Trap rewritten with  stepsisters trying to get their gay fathers back together.

Cover of Feeling Sorry for Celia

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Told brilliantly through a combination of notes left by her mother, letters from her runaway best friend, Celia, letters from imaginary societies that represent her inner voices and self doubt, but mostly through letters between new pen pals Elizabeth and Christina, girls from different schools whose lives hilariously intertwine.

Cover of The Secret Life of Adrian Mole aged 13 and a 1/2

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged Thirteen And Three Quarters by Sue Townsend

So, so funny. Uproariously funny. Adrian is someone to get to know through his revelatory diary entries. He’s going through a lot. So be kind.

Cover of Why we broke up

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Min and Ed have broken up and she leaves a box of objects from their relationship on his doorstep and writes one long perfect letter detailing every object, ultimately telling the story of their relationship and tragically, just why it was exactly that they broke. Brilliant break-your-heart stuff with gorgeous illustrations.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

A cult classic, this book is told through a series of letters that Charlie addresses to “Dear Friend”, a person Charlie chose to write to because he heard that they were nice. It chronicles Charlie’s first year in high school as he grapples with traumatic experiences from his past, his dysfunctional family and learning to participate in life.

Cover of Illuminae

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

This #LoveOzYa blockbuster is a sci-fi action story told solely in emails, messages, reports, and photos. You will most likely be clinging to your seat through reading this too because the action doesn’t stop and the plot twists are phenomenal. And yes. All through emails, messages, documents and photos. Genius!

Cover of We Are Still Tornadoes

We are Still Tornadoes  by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change. They have grown up next to each other but now one is going to college and one is staying home. Through their letters they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other.



We are Still Tornadoes sounds like an amazing read. Added to TBR
The first one should be really good too... I remember reading Holly Goldberg Sloan's Short and loving it!

24th Nov, 19
inky State Library Victoria

To Night Owl From Dogfish is brilliant - a real feel good book. It's Parent trap meets The Lumberjanes.

25th Nov, 19