Book Recommendation · Bookish List

Fourteen Compelling Opening Lines from Books

Hello friends! In my experience, a lot of the times it takes a few pages – or even a few chapters – for a book to truly catch my attention and make me fully engaged in its story. It’s much rarer, as well as special, when a book immediately piques my interest with its very first sentence. I love when it happens and so books that manage to do that have a very special place in my heart. Which is why I decided to share some of my favorite opening lines with you today.

Unlike I’d normally do in a recommendation post, I decided against describing these books, because I would like their opening lines to speak for themselves. That being said, as per usual, I’ve linked the covers to goodreads, so you can easily look into these titles if you too are impressed by their opening lines. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the post.

Fourteen Compelling Opening Lines from Literature

Last Seen Leaving
by Caleb Roehrig

“There was a corpse in my neighbor’s front yard.”

by Daphne du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Howl’s Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones

“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three.”

Have a Little Faith in Me
by Sonia Hartl

“If I hadn’t made such a big deal about my virginity, I might not have spent a valuable portion of my summer checking nosebleed tissues for images of Jesus.”

Miracle Creek
by Angie Kim

“My husband asked me to lie.”

Not Even Bones
by Rebecca Schaeffer

“Nita stared at the dead body lying on the kitchen table.”

Silent in the Grave
by Deanna Raybourn

“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.”

Only Mostly Devastated
by Sophie Gonzales

“It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters.”

The Summoning
by Kelley Armstrong

“Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement.”

Strange the Dreamer
by Laini Taylor

“On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.”

Cemetery Boys
by Aiden Thomas

“Yadriel wasn’t technically trespassing because he’d lived in the cemetery his whole life.”

Tweet Cute
by Emma Lord

“To be fair, when the alarm goes off, there’s barely even any smoke rising out of the oven.”

Jane Steele
by Lyndsay Faye

“Of all my murders, committed for love and for better reasons, the first was the most important.”

The Widow of Rose House
by Diana Biller

“Alva Penrose Rensselaer Webster had been inside Delmonico’s for nine seconds before Mrs. Henry Biddington asked the maรฎtre d’hรดtel to throw her out.”

Let’s chat!

Has your attention ever been caught by an excellent opening line? What are your favorite opening lines? Have you read any of my recommendations?


22 thoughts on “Fourteen Compelling Opening Lines from Books

  1. I love a powerful first line. It always makes the story memorable I find. It was actually advice I got in my English class for the speaking exam, make sure you first line is powerful so it starts strong ๐Ÿ˜‚

    This was so fun to read though!! I think I could sit and read good first lines for hours ๐Ÿคฃ ones that really intrigued me here were have a little faith in me and silent in the grave (loved it ๐Ÿ˜‚). Although all of them make me want to read more of the book!!
    I think my favourite first line is from the book thief. I think technically it is the first few lines but love it!! ๐Ÿ˜
    I loved this post so much!! ๐Ÿ’›

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The entire preface of Strange the Dreamer was so… Intriguing! My head was swimming by the end of it, and my mouth was literally hanging open, it was so beautiful! Fairest is another book that caught my interest at the very first line. And also Percy Jackson, those staring lines are literally gold! It’s really rare for books to capture my attention so early on, so it’s quite a big deal when they do. But so many of these books you’ve mentioned have such amazing first lines, I really want to read them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Strange the Dreamer pulled me in so early and it never really let me go – I love that book and its sequel. ๐Ÿ˜ Percy Jackson has really good opening lines and so does Magnus Chase! Riordan is good at pulling readers into his stories. Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found the opening lines intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wait… I didn’t know the first line of Rebecca was โ€œLast night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.โ€ that is such a well known line! Wow, I need to read that book obviously because I am behind the times. I do love the first line of Jane Steele, that book was so good, I don’t know why more people don’t talk about it. And Strange the Dreamer! What a line. You’ve done well at picking lots of books with first lines that totally grab your attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ouhh I like thoses first lines – make me especially wanna read only mostly devastated!
    though Silent in the grave was a really good one too xD

    Now I wonder. do you just remember which book had a great first line? Or did you wrote them down prior to making a post?
    This and quotes are something i’m really bad of remembering xD they just vanish from my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Some of them I remembered – like Silent in the Grave, because I’ve read a lot of books by Deanna Raybourn and she is generally good at opening lines, not just to the books but to the chapters too. Some of the others – like Only Mostly Devastated – I forgot about and I just randomly picked up my favorite books and looked at their first lines, lol. I’m not great at remembering quotes, tbh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Out of these, I’ve only read Strange the Dreamer, but after those first lines, I kind of want to pick all of them up immediately! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    As for interesting first lines I’ve come across, I think two that stand out are the ones from Nevernight (People often shit themselves when they die.) and The Bell Jar (It was a queer sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.) I didn’t end up loving The Bell Jar, but that first line immediately had me hooked! I guess I have macabre tastes, lol.


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