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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Opening Lines in Books

“There was a boy in her room.”

First line in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi, guys and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. It’s been a few weeks since the last one for me, but since the topic is a ‘freebie’ I thought I would take to opportunity to share my favorite opening lines. I recently realized that I’d never done this before which seems like a giant mistake on my part. I share first lines at the start of everyone of my posts so it must have slipped my mind to dedicate an entire post to them. Rectifying that today!

Top Ten Tuesday is as usual hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl so head over there to check out the future topics. Let’s start!


The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

“Hmm. No. I’m telling this wrong.”

What a way to start your sequel! It sort of negates the entire first book. The reader obviously loved it, but is now being told it was wrong. Interest is peaked for the second book.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”

Dog = the best kind of first line. On top of that, it’s a talking dog! You don’t care that it doesn’t have anything to say. You wanna read about the talking dog!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

“We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.”

Wait… Innocents? Why would you kill innocent people? And that’s not even the focus of the sentence. It’s about something as dry as keeping a record of it. The juxtaposition is haunting.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

“Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.”

Did you catch all of that? It’s almost an entire book in one sentence. I mean, you already have several “plot twists” before the story has even started.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

“Books ran away when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real.”

You better keep an eye on all of those unread books on your bookshelf. They might run away.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”

A book that knows that it’s not for everyone and is being kind and helpful about it. Although it’s fake. It’s actually forcing you to read it because there’s no way you’re putting the book down after reading that.

We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

“Life is bullshit.”

Simple, but effective.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Simply iconic. The ‘almost’ promises that you will love Eustace Clarence Scrubb just a little bit during the book which makes this beginning both funny and hopeful.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

“Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am.”

Chills! An epic introduction to an epic trilogy. Is he a hero or not? It’s a story you want to know.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“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 relatability is unparalleled. The over-analyzing mother, never leaving the house and reading the same books again and again. Same, girl.

I love first lines. But hey, these are just some of the great ones. I’ve also only used lines from books I’ve already read, so please share your favorites in the comments if they aren’t included here. Happy Top Ten Tuesday and happy reading!

27 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Opening Lines in Books

    1. Totally understand that. We can’t read everything. Fangirl is sort of my favorite book but I agree with you about the ending to The Fault in our Stars 🙂

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  1. I love all of these, they’re so intriguing! I’ll have to admit, though, I don’t usually remember a lot of opening lines 🙈 But I do think Nevernight’s (People often shit themselves when they die.) is also pretty iconic 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I don’t remember them either so don’t worry. I have to look them up every time. I haven’t read Nevernight but I’ve still heard that first line before. Pretty shocking to open with lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, I LOVE first line posts! A good first line can really make the difference for me about whether to pick up a book or not if I’m on the fence about it. :3

    I love the opening to Scythe, and I feel like that one sentence really sets the mood for the whole series, doesn’t it!? So much tension and juxtaposition and immediate questioning of WHY?!

    I haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go yet, but I so need to. That opening line is just *chef’s kiss*. Who can resist talking dogs?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First lines can really hit you if they’re done right so totally understand you.

      And yes, I think I especially love the Scythe one because it’s not a line you will find in any other book. It will only fit Scythe and its mood. It of course also leaves you with so many questions lol.

      Oh I do hope you get to The Knife of Never Letting Go. It’s so good but you obviously already know that because it has a talking dog.

      Liked by 1 person

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