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!
Blue 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?
There 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???
I 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!
Looking 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.
There 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.
Here 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.
I’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.