Books, Fiction, Fun Stuff, Young Adult

Opening Lines – What hooks a reader? #AmReading

It’s been a few years since I published an opening lines blog post highlighting my favourite novels. To celebrate some of the incredible books I’ve read recently I thought I’d do it again. Feel free to join in and tag me so I can read your posts.

Here are eight novels where the opening lines really hooked me in:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six Of Crows

Joost had two problems: the moon and his moustache.

He was supposed to be making his rounds at the Hoede house, but for the last fifteen minutes, he’d been hovering around the south-east wall of the gardens, trying to think of something clever and romantic to say to Anya.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Lost Boy

Once I was young, and young forever and always, until I wasn’t. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan.

Peter will tell you that this story isn’t the truth, but Peter lies. I loved him, we all loved him, but he lies, for Peter wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around.

He’ll do anything to be that sun.

Keepers by Sacha Black


My mother and father are fidgeting. Perched along with everyone else’s parents, on the front row of the lecture hall’s steep tiered seating. Someone must have opened a door because a ripple of air drifts through the auditorium and makes the stage’s velvety green curtains wrinkle.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Discovery of Witches

The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable. To an ordinary historian, it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, ancient and worn. But I knew there was something odd about it from the moment I collected it.

Hope by Terry Tyler


We don’t notice our world changing around us, because those little shifts take place so gradually. Attitudes are altered one decision, one blind eye turned, one ‘I accept’ at a time, until a situation that would have seemed unthinkable ten, twenty, thirty years ago, becomes the norm.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


Pick me.

It’s all I can do not to scream. I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting. Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can’t tell if it’s from dawn’s early heat or from my heart slamming against my chest.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep

“They’re coming.”

I looked down the row of Aska hunched against each other, ducking behind the muddy hill. The fog sat on the field like a veil, but we could hear it. The blades of swords and axes brushing against armor vests. Quick footsteps in sucking mud. My heart beat almost in rhythm with the sounds, pulling one breath in and letting it touch another before I let it go.

Oath Keeper (Book 2 of Hood Academy) by Shelley Wilson (yes, of course I would add my own!)

Featured Image -- 8564

A trickle of sweat trailed down the side of my temple, and I swiped at it with a trembling hand. I wished the tremors in my limbs could be blamed on the unusually balmy weather conditions, but they couldn’t. I was being hunted, and every part of my body screamed at me to run.

Do you have a favourite opening line from a novel you’ve read? Share it in the comments below.

34 thoughts on “Opening Lines – What hooks a reader? #AmReading”

      1. Oh good, phew! It was only after publishing that I realised the 1st chapter makes it seem totally dark, whereas, as you will have discovered, there’s a lot of humour and light stuff amongst the dark!! Julia really loved Part 1 – there’s a great deal about social media trends, etc 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a great opening line stays with you. Blurbs and cover art are just one element to draw in a reader, but if you get that hook right then you’ve got something special.


  1. I’ve been making a practice of writing down opening lines of every novel I read recently and most of them are surprisingly prosaic. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the quality of the opening line and the quality of the book as a whole.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, how come I didn’t know Terry Tyler had a new book out? Had to go and download it. One of my favourite openings, which I’ve posted before I’m sure, is from Des Dillon’s novel Six Black Candles. “I’ve got six sisters. They’re Witches. Real Witches. So far they claim to have killed quite a few people. Here’s some examples. Brian McGowan that called Wendy a lezzy. Peter Bannan that caled Donna The Ghoul one time too many. And John Cassidy, apluber with the burgh that never plumbed my Maw’s washing machine in right. They’re all dead…”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I personally think Dickens was the master of opening lines!

    ‘Marley was dead, to begin with.’ – Christmas Carol

    ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.’ – A Tale of Two Cities

    ‘Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.’ – Oliver Twist

    Dude could do short or long sentences/openings with ease – he can lay it on a bit thick sometimes, mind 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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