You already knew what the twist was.
|Dun Dun Duuuuuuun!|
The question is: Do we revel in those moments where we, mere mortals - can read the future and tell what that big surprise was which was meant to stun and shock us before it even happens? Or - are we disappointed in the fact that we weren't duped enough?
For me, I almost never see the big reveal coming - maybe it's because my brain just isn't bothered to figure it out and analyse everything, or perhaps the author really was smart enough to pull the wool over my eyes. Either way, if a book has a twist, chances are I'm going to be surprised and wowed when I come to it. Even if I did see it coming and then it happened, I don't think it would affect my enjoyment of the book. If anything, it would feel good to be able to do this:
All things considered, the shock-factor could also come from how the novel itself is structured, and whether that reveal is at the beginning, middle or end.
Beginning: You know what the end result will be, but you don't know how the characters got there. These types of books usually skip between different times to tell the story and piece the puzzle together.
Think Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, or Cooper Bartholomew is Dead, or even Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas.
In terms of the thrill factor, it's maybe not as hard-hitting as a huge twist at the end, but these sorts of novels still can surprise you in the process of showing how everything all played out to their final devastating conclusions.
Middle: All seems well in the first part, but then BAM! The story takes a whole new direction.
Gone Girl is a perfect example of this technique.
Now 'Gone Girl' may be a special case - because it really does surprise in more ways than that major twist, but when it comes to the middle it can change everything you ever thought about the book. I really loved how I was jaw-dropping right at that moment when the truth of what's actually happening comes to light and I was left totally engrossed in the story from that point on.
End: This sort of twist right at the end usually leaves you with a 'OMG what just happened?!' feeling - and perhaps is the most shocking of all places to put the surprise in.
Too many to choose, but We Were Liars, Dangerous Girls and The Annihilation of Foreverland all turn endings on their head and left me going:
To finish off, here are some of my recommendations for books that have taught me to expect the unexpected:
What are some books where the twist shocked you, or you saw it coming? Any other thoughts on the topic?