Last week I posted on First Line Don’ts. To capture the flip-side of what works in a novel’s first line, I have listed several opening sentences of popular, and relatively recent, YA novels.
The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. —Goving Bovine by Libba Bray (Granted, this reference a past event, but really, don’t ya wanna read more?)
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense. —Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping. —The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
It was funny. At a time like this, wasn’t I supposed to be thinking serious thoughts of eternity, and the afterlife, and all that? As I glanced around me at the small groups of people huddled around the room, it seemed like that’s what they were all thinking about. Each somber face reflected their pious thoughts, but all I could think about was the hair-dyeing incident.—The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Moonlight has special powers. Even in Beverly Hills, where everything sparkles whether it’s real or fake, there’s something magic about that big full moon. It can make you crazy, take a risk you’d never consider in the daylight, or even fall completely head over heels. Moonlight can totally change your life. And it all starts so simply. —Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache. The school bus wheezes to my corner. The door opens and I step up. I am the first pickup of the day. The driver pulls from the curb while I stand in the aisle. Where to sit? I’ve never been a backseat wastecase. If I sit in the middle, a stranger could sit next to me. If I sit in the front, it will make me look like a little kid, but I figure it’s the best chance I have to make eye contact with one of my friends, if any of them have decided to talk to me yet. —Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
All right, folks. What do you think? What about these opening sentences makes them work?