In the second person, the narrator tells the story to another character using you and the action is experienced through the you’s point of view. Few books and stories are written in the second person. But you may know songs that are sung from the you viewpoint.
An often cited example of a book written from the you is Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. Notice how the use of you makes you, the reader, feel like part of the story:
“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge. All might become clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder. Then again, it might not. A small voice inside you insists that this epidemic lack of clarity is a result of too much of that already.”
What the second person does is place you in that nightclub, chatting with the hairless girl. Notice that the narrator is also in the story. He is really the one slipping into the bathroom for a little Bolivian Marching Powder. So the you-voice is actually an I-voice in disguise.
Obviously, the second person point of view is a complex one. And for beginning writers, it is more of a pitfall. We find that clients writing along in the first or third person, sometimes out of nowhere start using the you, as in:
Stefen put down the gun he had been pointing at me. Relief washed over me and I looked up at the blue sky. It was the kind of sky that would reassure you, the kind that you look up and see on normal Tuesdays when you are going to the grocery store or hurrying home from work. Stefen started to sob.
In the above example, the you, generic and undefined, just takes the reader out of the action of the story and drags things down. So, beware of yous.
Third persons next.