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



Filed under Blog Hops

113 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Opening Lines

  1. I like the second one, “Like most forms of corruption, it began with men in suits.” (Mick Herron, Real Tigers). Brilliant quote. So true. 😉

    My TTT.

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. I really like the quote from Real Tigers, it’s so true! And the one from Mortal Engines definitely captures the attention.

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

    THIS! Brilliant opening line

  6. I had Beartown too! Such a great book!

  7. Wow, these are really catchy opening lines! #8 is particularly intriguing to me, though I hadn’t heard of Nunez’s The Friend before.

  8. It’s interesting that you quoted the first line of Beartown. That first line was all I needed to read to know this was not a book for me!

  9. Wow. You found some great opening lines. I love all of these! 🙂

  10. I don’t think I’ve heard of most of these. Interesting choices. Some of them really do jump out and grab you.

  11. Some very dramatic openings here. Number 2 & 8 stands out the most to me.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, have a lovely day.

  12. Carla

    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.

  13. I forgot about the opening lines from Little Fires Everywhere. So good! I’m currently watching the adaptation and loving it!

  14. You did a great job. I like the beginning to Nightfall Academy. I had a difficult time with this one though.

  15. 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.

  16. I love that Tuck Everlasting one. It’s one of the most atmospheric openings I’ve ever read…I need to reread it! The Mortal Engines one made me laugh out loud.

  17. 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!!!

  18. 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!

  19. Great list! Looks like we both included White Bird in a Blizzard 🙂

  20. I really like that first excerpt. Great choices!

  21. Virginia

    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. 😀

  22. MK

    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 😀

  23. Denise @ Life With No Plot

    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!

  24. Louise

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

  25. These opening lines definitely have me intrigued especially Little Fires Everywhere and Mortal Engines.

  26. 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.

  27. Love the Little Fires Everywhere one – really makes me want to read it!

  28. Lots of great opening lines here!

  29. They all sound so intriguing!

  30. Some of these really make you want to know more! The Ng book in particular I’ve heard good things about.

  31. Tuck Everlasting is one of my childhood favorites! I just finished Little Fires Everywhere. I agree that it has a great opening line.

  32. Beartown’s opening line gives me chills every time I read it.

  33. Reading the first line of Little Fires Everywhere makes me want to read it even more! Great list 🙂

  34. I haven’t read any of these, but I watched Mortal Engine movie and thought it was interesting!

  35. Tuck Everlasting – I miss that one. 🙂

  36. The first 7 are great.

  37. 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!

  38. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those opening lines to Beartown. Talk about an attention grabber!

  39. I love that quote from Beartown. It provides some foreshadowing that I kept in my mind the whole book. Wow. THanks for visiting my blog.

  40. Some very intriguing opening lines here! I especially like the one from “Friend”, I’ll have to check this book out 😀

  41. Lydia, I haven’t read any of these, but we such great opening line, I feel I need to try a lot of them!😅

  42. verushka

    Number 3 certainly has my attention — what happened to Isabelle?

  43. I’ve only read Little Fires Everywhere, which is an absolute belter of a first line! You’ve made me intrigued about the others though.

  44. Haha, the one from Nightfall Academy cracked me up!

  45. I’ve not read any of these, but there’s a couple that intrigue me, the second quote especially!

  46. Poinsettia

    I’ve never read it, but I like the quote from Tuck Everlasting!

  47. RS

    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.

  48. Ahhh, I’d forgotten about Mortal Engines until I saw it in your list, but it’s such a good one!

  49. HC

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

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

  50. I remember reading the opening line of Beartown by Fredrik Backman and being shocked!

    Here’s my TTT!

  51. I like the one from Tuck Everlasting! Great list

  52. Christine @ LifeWithAllTheBooks

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

  53. These are so great, they really make me curious about the books. Which reminds me, I keep saying I’ll give Mortal Engines a try.

  54. tuck everlasting has always been one of my favorite books.

  55. I love so many of these! The ones from Real Tigers, Beartown, and Little Fires Everywhere especially! Makes me want to pick up a lot of these books!

    I also love the opening line from Tuck Everlasting – a favorite of mine – and I am bummed I didn’t think to include it in my list!

    My TTT:

  56. These are all great! Little Fires Everywhere is on my TBR and I am very intrigued by the opening line.

  57. The second quote is funny because it’s true 🙂 I also love the Tuck Everlasting one, and Little Fires Everywhere is on my TBR.

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