First Person POV makes it impossible to head hop. It makes it impossible for you to tell the reader what other characters are thinking. It's often quoted as a weakness of first person.
I believe that weakness is its strength.
First person forces you to show, rather than tell, what the other characters are thinking.
Janet Evanovich is just about the sparest writer I know. She can show you what Ranger, or Morelli, or any of her cast are thinking with just one, small gesture. The impact of that gesture, that one sentence, becomes HUGE, even though it was just one sentence in a whole book.
Like, when Ranger tucked a strand of hair behind Stephanie's ear, I certainly didn't have to be told he was growing fond of her.
Like the open door in Erica's post today on small gestures and a wonderful man.
Another challenge of first person POV is that you can't slip into other characters' heads to make them more sympathetic to the reader. If one of them does something human, or acts less than sympathetically, the author can't justify their actions.
I like this limitation. I like letting characters be human. I like them real, not perfect, but it's a tight line to tread, because you don't want them to become unsympathetic. So you have to show, in small ways, that they mean well. They they're still good characters.
One of the greatest challenges of first person POV is the fact that the reader is seeing the world as the narrator sees it. What I find difficult, is communicating to the reader a contrasting perspective, particularly when the narrator is wrong.
In my last WIP, my girl believed one thing, but she was wrong. Everyone else didn't know what she was thinking, of course, so they couldn't out and out tell her she was wrong. So somehow, I had to communicate to the reader that my girl was misbelieving something, without making her look stupid.
It didn't work with one reader.
That's my latest quest in self-improvement. In The Liar's Diary, we had an unreliable narrator, pretty well done. There was a jarring moment, but it worked for me.
So do you have any examples of first person unreliable narrator done well? Or just first person handled expertly? Where sometimes the reader knows the narrator is misbelieving something, but at the same time, the narrator doesn't look stupid?
Do you write in first person? Have you ever? Have you ever taken a chapter and worked it up both ways?