The first page, paragraph, even the first sentence, of a book is extremely important in grabbing the reader's attention and interest. There are some where you can tell it will be an amazing read, and others where you aren't that excited anymore. Below are some of the most thought-provoking opening lines I have ever read!
1. Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
"My mother takes the vase from the bookshelf and hurls it, smashing it to bits by my father's bare feet. My father doesn't even step back as the tiny pink and white pieces of ceramic skid past him on the hardwood floor. He just stands there, staring." I love the unusual nature of the father not instinctual moving, as well as the mother throwing it near the father. That signifies that whatever is about to come next, the context, is very important and very emotionally impactful.
2. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shawn David Hutchinson
"The boy is on fire. EMTs wheel him into Roanoke General's sterile emergency room. He screams and writhes on the gurney as though the fire that burned his skin away burns still, flaring deep within his bones, where the paramedics and doctors and nurses cowering around him, working desperately, will never be able to extinguish it." The imagery here is very skillful, instantly grabs my attention, and leaves me eagerly awaiting to find out more not only about this boy, but about how the narrator is able to witness it.
3. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
"If he touches her, I swear I'm going to rip his guts out with my bare hands and send them back to his next of kin for lunch." My first thought after reading this sentence was to think what a very rage-filled, slightly disturbing thought this was. Second thought was wondering "why"- the one word every writer should strive for.
4. Reality Boy by A.S. King
"I'm the boy you saw on TV. Remember the little freak who took a crap on his parent's oak-stained table when they confiscated his Game Boy? Remember how the camera cleverly hid his most private parts with the glittery fake daisy and sunflower centerpiece?" First, I love the rhetorical questions. Second, the crude imagery with a humorous, sarcastic note left me extremely intrigued in learning more of his character development since that time.
5. Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
"There are mice. Lots of mice. Running all over my room. Letting out crying sounds that grate on my ears. They crawl on my feet. My legs. I feel them on my arms. Soft things with toenails like blunt needles." I have never read a first sentence that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the book like this one does. Miles From Ordinary maintains a creepy, at times disturbing, tone throughout the story. This first few sentences perfectly foreshadow the rest of the book and instantly hooks the reader.
6. The Taking by Kimberly Derting
"My head was pounding. But not like a headache. More like someone was using it as a basketball against the pavement. For target practice. That was it, I realized, prying my eyes open at last. Something was hitting me." I love simile here, which provided an emphasis on how horrible her head must be feeling. What also makes this one gripping is the desire to know what is hitting her- and why. While I did not enjoy the story and did not end up reading more of the series, it still started out great!
8. How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
"She waits until we're driving over the bridge to tell me. This is a strategic move. Wait until your temperamental daughter is suspended over the Atlantic Ocean to drop the bomb, thereby decreasing the chance that she'll fling open the car door and hurl herself over the edge." The sarcasm in these first two sentences is awesome. In addition, now the reader really wants to find out what the mother will tell her, and why it is so awful that the main character references suicide over it?
7. Dry by Jared and Neal Shusterman
"The kitchen faucet makes the most bizarre sounds. It coughs and wheezes like its gone asthmatic. It gurgles like someone's drowning. It spits once, then goes silent." I love the personification of the faucet in the opening lines, which emphasizes the importance of the object and the ramification in the rest of the story. The similes and imagery are skillful and one can tell immediately that Shusterman has written an incredible novel.
9. Cured (Stung Book 2) by Bethany Wiggins
"A person can survive on sixty pounds of beans and three hundred pounds of rice a year. Dinner in the Bloom home tonight is beans and rice for the 365th night in a row. And we ran out of pepper yesterday." Well, that is... depressing, and quite dreadful to think of. So what will the narrator do to prevent the 366th night from being this way? That, I was absolutely dying to find out.
10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
"I've been locked up for 264 days. I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company. 1 window. 4 walls. 144 square feet of space." This one is gripping because of the extremely short sentences describing the narrator's cell. Of course, now the narrator wants to know why she is locked up- and what could possibly change.
What books do you think have the best opening lines?