As an avid reader as well as a writer, there is nothing quite so powerful to me as the first line of a novel. I can often gauge how much I’ll like a book by that very first sentence. From when I was a young girl and got hooked by “Where’s Papa going with that axe?” I understood the magic of a great beginning. So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite first lines from young adult novels and in each case, I knew I’d love the book from that first sentence (and I did).
“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.” Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.” The Giver by Lois Lowry
“Everyone thinks that it was because of the snow.” If I Stay by Gayle Forman
“They say that just before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.” Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
“First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.” The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
And finally, from one of my all time fave YA books:
“My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die. I counted.” On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Feel free to share your fave first lines in the comments!
Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog and Twitter. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs. Grab a copy of BURN OUT on Amazon, Indiebound, or Barnes & Noble.