Finding books that are all around awesome is such a pleasure – but finding books that start with a killer opening line, the type you cannot easily forget, and then keep impressing you is even better. To celebrate these books and the authors who created them, I brought you twelve novels that aren’t only amazing reads, but that also have some of the most unique, most engaging, or the most fun starts I’ve ever seen.
“My life is none of their business.”All in Pieces by Suzanne Young
Why I love it: It fits the overall mood of the book really-really well. The story centers around Savannah who is put into an alternative high school after stabbing her ex-boyfriend’s hand with a pencil. She was, to be fair, fully justified, because he made fun of her disabled little brother, but it’s as if all the adults in charge, including her aunt, are unwilling to consider Savannah’s side. The first sentence shows Savannah’s slightly rebellious, confident side perfectly.
“Cherry Neita was not the type of woman to voluntarily use stairs.”The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert
Why I love it: It’s funny and entertaining – a perfect start to any romance novel, and the kind of start I’ve come to expect from Talia Hibbert, the queen of contemporary romance.
“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive. There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody.”To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Why I love it: I mean, do I really have to say it? It’s just so dark and morally gray, and it captured my attention immediately.
“What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands.”A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Why I love it: A Thousand Perfect Notes is a story of abuse – verbal and physical – and the first sentence is already showing that. Beck, the main character, is an incredible pianist but he’s lost his love for the piano as his mother makes him practice, practice and practice until his hands hurt and bleed. It’s a painful story to read, and the first sentence already does a great job of conveying Beck’s despair.
“The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard.”Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Why I love it: I absolutely adore retellings, especially if they put a big twist on the original material, and that’s exactly what the first sentence of Spinning Silver seems to promise. But even beyond that, I love darker fantasy novels, and the first sentence makes Spinning Silver sound like one.
“Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses was a cultivated skill.”New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind
Why I love it: I went into New Orleans Rush wanting a cute, entertaining romantic comedy, and that’s exactly what I got, starting from the very first sentence. Bea, the heroine, is someone I’d 1000% want to befriend – she’s kind, positive, a bit rash, but someone who always acts with the best intention.
“Almost every night, between nine and ten past, Lainie Graham passionately kissed her ex boyfriend. She was then gruesomely dead by ten o’clock, stabbed through the neck by a jealous rival.”Act Like It by Lucy Parker
Why I love it: That’s an iconic first sentence if I’ve ever seen one… well, first two sentences, because I wanted to give more context. I love how playful and funny it is, which is exactly what the whole book is like.
“The problem with fairy tales is that most of them begin with a tragedy.”Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
Why I love it: That’s a brilliant start to a fairy tale retelling – it starts with a punch… which is necessary because the heroine, Ella, looses her mother in a car accident, and gets close to dying herself at the very beginning of the novel. At its core, Cinder & Ella is a fluffy fairy-tale retelling of Cinderella, but it’s also a story of grief and loss, and the first sentence is a perfect representation of that.
“So I didn’t handle the mugging as well as I could have.”The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
Why I love it: Similarly to others on this list, the first sentence already shows the vibe and overall mood of the novel – which is light-hearted and funny, above all else. Plus, as the sentence shows, Genie Lo starts with a bang, and it will only evolve from there.
“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor”Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Why I love it: This is, hands down, one of the best openings I’ve ever seen – the story and the main character had my attention right then and there. Deanna Raybourn is a masterful story-teller and incredible at foreshadowing. If you like mystery I highly – and I mean HIGHLY – recommend the Lady Julia Gray series, starting with Silent in the Grave.
“Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement.”The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Why I love it: I have a soft spot for (YA) novels that start with a childhood flashback, so that’s part of the reason. Beyond that, I just love a good scare, and we all know that if the basement is scary in a novel or movie… then it is SCARY, and that’s 1000% the case here.
“They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days.”My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Why I love it: I’ve read four novels and an anthology by Daphne du Marier, and there’s no question that she knew how to create a gripping, atmospheric story that captivates her readers from the first sentence.
Have you read any of these novels? Do you feel like reading any of them after these first line? What are some of your favorite opening lines?