The Best YA First Lines

Deciding which book to read next can be a minor nightmare. (There are so many! They must all be read! How do we make the decision! Help!) But my mind can quickly be made up if the book has an epic first line. That first mouthful of words is so important. It sets the tone of the book and gives you the voice of the character and an inkling as to the topic. And best of all?! They hopefully leave you shrieking, “More! More!”

Here are some of my favourite YA first lines!


9780545424936Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love. ~ The Raven Boys

There’s something entirely captivating about this opening sentence. I get an entire range of emotions from, “WHAT” and “WHY” to “THAT’S AWESOME” (because I’m a romantic at heart, clearly). Also this line sets up the clear indication that Blue’s love life is doomed and how will that work out?


9780606148832There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” ~ The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman is basically the master of quirky and scary, but for this book we’re definitely leaning on the scary side. Forget that. We FACEPLANTED on the scary side. Who is holding a knife in this darkness?? What evil is going to ensue???


9780552566001I remember being born. In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich sympony of indigestion. ~ Seraphina

This intrigues me an extraordinary amount because I’m left gawping and thinking, “But how does anyone remember being born?!” When a first sentence makes you ask a question, you know it’s on the right track!


9780147514356Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance. ~ Rebel Belle

Let me just roll out a list of 2 dozen questions. And I also love how quirky this is! I can immediately tell that the narrator is going to have a fabulously spunky and realistic voice.


9780007115600There was once a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it. ~ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This was one of my favourite books growing up and this first line was by far the best. There’s always something evilly intriguing about reading books of disagreeable children. And I immediately wanted to know WHY Eustace a) had such a pompous name, and b) why he deserved it.


9781406350487Here is the boy, drowning. ~ More Than This

Something about this utterly captivates me. I think it’s the simplicity of these 5 words…but the impact they punch. Also I have many “BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING” sort of shrieks going on in my head. Excellent. Also, for some reason, the tone fells really sad. Not anxious or panicky…just sad. And I really want to know why.


9781419704284I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten. It’s the only way I can stop their whispers. ~ Splintered

Because that’s…creepy. Bugs whispering?! I’m immediately intrigued by this narrator and her life which is no doubt going to be slightly creepy.



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Cait Drews

Cait Drews is writer, book blogger, and reader extraordinaire. She's been blogging for 5 years, reads 200 books a year, and has written over fourteen YA novels. She is usually found hugging her bookshelves and she often eats full books before breakfast.