Top Ten First Lines

Cindy and Lynn: Author Paul Zindel once set off noise makers that sounded like firecrackers in our library during a presentation to our students. He told them that stories should start with a “Bang!” The added sound effect got the point across to our middle schoolers. We’ve always been on the lookout for good opening lines and so we’ve gathered ten from this year’s books that make us want to read more. How about you? Take time between pieces of pumpkin pie to leave your favorite opening lines here in the comments. We’re feeling thankful for all of our readers so there will be a prize for one of you. We’ll draw one entry from our sorting hat (annoying spammers trying to sell products in our comments will be excluded thank you very much). Don’t miss your chance to win. We don’t know what the prize is, but I’m sure it will be amazing.

“I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged. Now, if you please.”
–from Chime by Franny Billingsley (Dial 2011)

“That nice Mrs. Kramer lied to me about third grade.”
–from Marty McGuire by Kate Messner (Scholastic 2011)

“My name is Elly Pickering. I’ve lost my mobile phone at the mall and am now facing certain death.”
–from I Lost My Mobile at the Mall: Teenager on the Edge of Technological Breakdown by Wendy Harmer (Kane Miller 2011)

“It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”
–from Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Harper 2011)

“Being a heroine is nowhere near the fun folks make it out to be.”
–from Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede (Scholastic 2011)

“The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.”
–from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Candlewick 2011)

“Finally, Friday afternoon and the last bell–the moment he lived for. He bolted out of school. Another long week of hell over.”
–from The Phantom Limb by William Sleator and Ann Monticone (Amulet 2011)

“It wasn’t clear to Serena Shaw which woke her up–the burning smell or the persistent wail of the smoke alarm.”
–from Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones (Farrar 2011)

“Sitting near Darci Madison on the school bus is enough to put anyone with woman-sprout issues over the edge.”
–from The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder (Houghton/Graphia 2011)

“Since Saturday, I’ve fried Sergio like catfish, mashed him like potatoes, and creamed his corn in ten straight games of bowling.”
–from How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (Harper/Balzer & Bray 2011)

“Mal looked in the mirror and saw a road map of mistakes.”
–from Those That Wake by Jesse Karp (Houghton 2011)

“They took me in my nightgown.”
–from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin/Philomel 2011)

“Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two.”
–from Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George.  (Bloomsbury 2011)

“Sometimes things are dead, but still move.”
— from Zombie Mommy by M. T. Anderson (S&S/Beach Lane 2011)

Cindy: Okay, so you counted and are doubting my math skillz. Yes. I know there are more than 10 here. Lynn is busy with the focus group while I am enjoying a day off from school and I decided to use her method of making top ten lists by exceeding my limit a tad. Please forgive me. I am thankful for an abundance of talented authors…

 

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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