The Crucial First Sentence

18 Aug

So, I’m working on a new post. I know it’s been a while. I honestly don’t understand how some of these book reviewers pump out a book review a week or more. At the end of a long work day sometimes the very last thing I want to be doing is sitting down to yet another computer and writing. Plus, you know, I have a life. Double plus, I am a perfectionist and obsess over each and every post for an inappropriate number of hours before making it public. But worry not, dear readers, whomever you may be. I am working on a new post, and I’m going to try something new. You see, I think the first sentence (or two) of a novel is really crucial. A well-written first sentence sets the tone for the rest of the novel, hooks the reader, can even help you overlook later bad writing (or is that just me?). So, I’m going to start each post, from now on, with the first sentence of the novel I’m reviewing. While I hammer out this next review for Kristen Cashore’s Bitterblue, here are some of my favorite first sentences from the teen books I have sitting on my shelves:

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”
~Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.” ~Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.” ~Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road

“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 thinking about death.” ~John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” ~M.T. Anderson, Feed

How about you? What are some of your favorite first sentences?


3 Responses to “The Crucial First Sentence”

  1. wikey51 August 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I wish I knew where all my Douglas Adams novels are. As I recall, his first sentences were as twisted as his stories, but I’ll be damned if i can remember any of them off the top of my head. The same goes for Piers Anthony’s Xanth series.


  2. Katherine Martinelli September 16, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Great post! First sentences are so so important. As a reader I find often whether I will buy a book or not depends entirely on that first sentence. Harsh, but true. The John Green quote reminded me of one of my favorite openings to a movie, the Royal Tenenbaums, which in many ways views like a book: “Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year. Over the next decade, he and his wife had three children, and then they separated.” Anyway not what you asked… 😉

    • monsterika September 16, 2012 at 7:07 am #

      Totally applicable! That is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I also love that opening line.

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