My Favourite First Lines


“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” – Stephen King

Eliza from The Bookish Universe wrote a blog post on her favourite first lines. Since I read this article on why Stephen King spends months and years writing first lines in books, I’ve become interested with first lines. It’s a great way to draw the reader in, capture their attention and give them a reason to read on. It’s a significant part of writing a book. Before that, I never realised how important first lines were. I would read a book regardless of whether the first line was good or not.


To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth—deep down, I always did. I was just a girl. – The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Lesyle Walton 

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. – A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

Every morning I wake up and tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.Where She Went, Gayle Forman

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 Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. – The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett



These are just some of my favourites. I have yet to discover more great opening first lines. What are some of your favourite first lines?

(Source: I found these arrow illustrations on Pinterest)


4 thoughts on “My Favourite First Lines

  1. AHHHH The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender!! (Such a mouthful, haha.) I LOVED that book; so so beautiful and weird but magical. I think when I read the first line, I knew I would love it.

    I think one of my favourite first lines of all time is:
    “I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.” – Red Rising by Pierce Brown

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes it is rather a mouthful! Yes it was definitely an unusual YA but beautiful in its own right 🙂 There was something about that first line, so well written! And it made me want to read on.
      Oh that line from Red Rising sounds very intriguing! Heard a lot about that book from Katytastic.


  2. Lately, I’ve been more interested in using quotes in my reviews. It sounds silly but before I didn’t really notice the words I was reading other than story. Sometimes I’d think a writer would have beautiful or evocative prose, but I’ve never been a quotes person or someone that notices intriguing opening lines. But I’ve definitely noticed the beauty of writing ever since I started to blog. And I love the opening lines you chose! The Great Gatsby (though I didn’t love it as most I still enjoyed) and HP book 1 will forever hold impressionable first lines. And interesting fact about King, haha. Great post, Thuong!

    Liked by 1 person

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