Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Opening Lines

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Books in assorted colours with blank spines. I could have easily made this list twice as long. What a great topic!  Please note that the final opening line references the death of a child.

1.“I am sixteen when my mother steps out of her skin one frozen January afternoon- pure self, atoms twinkling like microscopic diamond chips around her, perhaps the chiming of a clock, or a few bright flute notes in the distance- and disappears. No one sees her leave, but she is gone.”

Laura Kasischke, White Bird in a Blizzard

2. “Like most forms of corruption, it began with men in suits.”

Mick Herron, Real Tigers


3. “Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.”

Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

Dark, ominious storm clouds swirling around in a sky4. “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines

5. “It was during Latin that the Austro-Hungarians arrived with their dogs and zombies to kill everyone at the Eden College for Young Ladies.”

David Wake, The Derring-Do Club and the Empire of the Dead

6. “Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.”

Fredrik Backman, Beartown

7. “Maybe punching her enemy right in the nose wasn’t the smartest way to get out of class, but it was definitely a much more entertaining way.”

Ophelia T. Starks, Nightfall Academy

8. “During the 1980s, in California, a large number of Cambodian women went to their doctors with the same complaint: they could not see.”

Sigrid Nunez, The Friend

A hot summer sun drying out a large patch of soil.9. “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

10. “The Lord gave, and the Lord took away, her grandmother said to her at the edge of the grave. But that wasn’t right, because the Lord had taken away much more than had been there to start with, and everything her child might have become was now lying there at the bottom of the pit, waiting to be covered up.”

Jenny Erpenbeck, Aller Tage Abend


113 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Opening Lines

  1. So many awesome opening lines, Lydia! The second one definitely had me chuckling because so accurate 😂 This is also the second time I’ve seen those opening lines from Beartown and now I’m thinking I really need to stop putting off reading this book! Great post 🙂

  2. Great list! I’m very intrigued by the first lines of Beartown, Real Tigers and The Derring-Do Club and the Empire of the Dead. I loved Everything I Never Told You so one of these days I need to cross Little Fires Everywhere off my TBR!

  3. These are all awesome opening lines and ones that would definitely encourage me to read more. The second one though, really says read me! Great list Lydia.

    • Thank you very much. And good to know about Nightfall Academy. I haven’t actually read that one yet. Just loved the first line.

  4. I need to read The Friend. I actually own a copy so it should be no problem one would think. I never read Little Fires Everywhere but did enjoy the Hulu adaptation. I’m sure the book is much better though but I thought the show was pretty good as well.

  5. This is a wonderful collection of opening lines!!! I need to remember to write them down when I come across them! I remember being struck by the opening lines of Little Fires and Beartown when I read them! Great post!!!

  6. This a great list! I’ve not read Mortal Engines but the opening line is definitely great and the opening for Real Tigers would definitely be enough to suck me in!

  7. I really need to read “Little Fires Everywhere”! It sounds super intriguing! This was a great list and made me very curious about some of the books. 😀

  8. Wow! They’re all so effective. (Cut to me going through all of this Tuesday’s posts trying to get perfect my writing craft, lol) I honestly am so hooked on every story on this list. They’re not all my typical genres, but I HAVE to find out what happens 😀

  9. Wow, the one from Real Tigers sure feels true, doesn’t it! These are all excellent opening lines. I haven’t read any of these except for Tuck Everlasting, but that was a long time ago. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’ve loved both Fredrik Backman books I’ve read but I still really need to get to Beartown!

  11. All of these are great. I especially like 7. “Maybe punching her enemy right in the nose wasn’t the smartest way to get out of class, but it was definitely a much more entertaining way.” I would pick up the book after reading that.

  12. There’s so many books I wouldn’t have thought of! Thank you for this list. Celeste Ng really does have a great way of writing doesn’t she. I need to check out “Little Fires Everywhere” now!

  13. Lots of great options here. That first one is some gorgeous writing. And I recognized the beginning Tuck Everlasting right away. I’ve always loved that Ferris wheel reference.

  14. Love that Herron line. The Bachman one’s pretty good, too.

    (not that the rest aren’t, but…you know)

  15. Great list! Beartown and Little Fires Everywhere are both so fantastic!

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