Thursday, December 31, 2020

First Sentences of Book Read 2020

Opening sentences are our first step inside a story. Some hook us right away while others ease us in. I started keeping track of first sentences years ago. I enjoy looking back on these opening lines and seeing what memories they stir up. 

Below you will find the first sentences of books I read in 2020. 


My father was a king and the son of kings. ~ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

"Smile and circulate," Irene said through gritted teeth, drawing her skirts back from the blood that had spattered by her feet.  ~ The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman

In an old house in Paris 
That was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines.  ~ Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans

Everyone deserves a holiday break. ~ Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde

Amelia Bedelia saw hearts everywhere. ~ Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine by Herman Parish

In the morning I got Chrissie to cut off all my hair. ~ An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

At first, the children were laughing. ~ The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins

It had been a long time since I was on a train, and I found I hadn't missed it a bit. ~ A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris

In a warm and sultry forest, far, far away, there once lived a mother fruit bat and her new baby. ~ Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Amos McGree was an early riser. ~ A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree
Came by special delivery. ~ Mr. Willowby's Christmas by Robert Barry

This is George. ~ Curious George and the Puppies by Margret Rey & H.A. Rey

A long time ago,
When Mr. Fish was very small,
He headed off to school
For the first time of all. ~ The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen

Deep in the water
Where the fish hang out
Lives a glum gloomy swimmer
 With an ever-present pout. ~ The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

I am Rosa Parks. ~ I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer

Life was going along okay when my mother and father dropped the news. ~ Superfudge  by Judy Blume

It might have been coincidence--the chairman of Eaglehawk Company standing in the foyer of the Grande Hotel, watching the news vid on the three-floor-high screen--but Leonard Wickmore didn't believe in coincidence. ~ Stars Beyond by S.K. Dunstall

I stood in the warm L.A. sunshine, admiring the marquee sign above my store. ~ Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

It was a book that started all the trouble. ~ Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

From where he's standing across the street, Justyce can see her: Melo Taylor, ex-girlfriend, slumped over beside her Benz on the damp concrete of the Farm-Fresh parking lot. ~ Dear Martin by Nic Stone

There had been a problem in Bean's house. ~ Ivy + Bean: What's the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

If you have to do a chore, you might as well set a the table. ~ Big News! (Emma is on the Air #1) by Ida Siegal

Amelia Bedelia never meant to lead a pack of dogs on a wild goose chase. ~ Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish

One dark, dark night in Barrow Down,
a rabbit named Eliza Brown
found a book and settled down. ~ The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

In a dry, dusty place where
the sand sparkled gold,
Stood a might flat rock --
all craggy and old. ~ The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

For a moment, the falling feels like something else entirely--like a brief, wild glimpse of freedom. ~ The Deep by Alma Katsu

All the books in my library hold a memory. ~ Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim (ed)

This is a book with no pictures. ~ The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

'How did you get invited to this exhibition, Orla?' ~ The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Alice met the unicorn at her tenth birthday party in the park. ~ Go Away, Unicorn! by Emily Mullock

Bean looked around the lunch table. ~ Ivy + Bean: No News is Good News by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Twenty-five. ~ In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In the town of Happville (which wasn't a very big town), Mr. Peabody was congratulating his Little League team on a great game. ~ Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna

"Girls are strong!" ~ Ivy + Bean Make the Rules by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

That doesn't sound like a school trivia night," said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette." ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A puppy is  puppy is  puppy. ~ Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

When Nory Horace turned into a koat, she had the body of a black kitten and the head of a tiny goat. ~ Sticks & Stones by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Rhyme relies on repetition: pink drink,
big wig, tramp stamp, rank skank. ~ Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen

Today is Tết,the first day of the lunar calendar. ~ Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhaa Lai

Where is Daniel Ahern? ~ Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet

Bean wasn't allowed to watch television. ~ Ivy + Bean Take the Case by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

"My Important People," wrote Bean at the top of her paper. ~ Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family (#11) by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

The house at 136 Cypress Lane didn't look like trouble--quite the opposite. ~ A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Rebecca Rubin tugged at her wooden doll until the top and bottom pulled apart to reveal a smaller doll nesting inside. ~ Rebecca: The Sound of Applause by Jacqueline Dembar Greene

I stared down into the open grave and wished that I could summon a tear. ~ A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

The whole thing was really Onetree's fault. ~ Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford

This story ends in blood. ~ The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Something was in the air. ~ Witch Hunt by Cate Conte

Something bad happened in our town. ~ Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer Zivoin

I'm Aria, and this is my hair. ~ Don't Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller

The parties at the Tunons' huose always ended unquestionably late, and since the hosts enjoyed  costume parties in particular, it was not unusual to see Chinas Poblanas with their folklore skirts and ribbons in their hair arrive in the company of a harlequin or a cowboy. ~ Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

How did you feel the first time you saw the title of this book? ~ Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad

I was ready; so ready for him to ask me. ~ Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

Had anyone told Honorable Harrington Sackville that the investigation into his death would make the name Sherlock Holmes known throughout the land, Mr. Sackville would have scoffed. ~ The Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

I am a white woman. ~ White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

I stole a glove. ~ Westside by W.M. Akers

I am a cat. ~ The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

"Would you like another beer?" ~ Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

I despised suites and ties. ~ How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

"Hold still and stop fighting me," his father said, and slapped him hard enough to leave a mark. ~ Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Books ran when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real. ~ The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith

"More coffee?" I asked Dylan as I got up from the table to pour us both a refill. ~ Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook

"The best part of spring is spring break!" George Fayne said. ~ Big Top Flop by Carolyn Keene

My aunt lay dead and I was lost in her life. ~ In My Attic by Lina Hansen

I was thinking about purple pansies when it happened. ~ Don't Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross

Kaz floated nervously back and forth in front of the dusty classroom wall. ~ The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler

You know when something is bothering you and you can't stop thinking about? Spill the Beans by Sarah Mlynowski

"What's the matter, Kaz?" Claire asked as she shook the dice in her hand. ~ The Ghost in the Attic by Dori Hillestad Butler

Cuckoo! ~ The Ghost Backstage by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Woof!" ~ The Five O'Clock Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Kaz!" Little John called from behind the wall of books. ~ The Secret Room by Dori Hillestad Butler

Once upon a time, before the whole world changed, it was possible to run away from home, disguise who you were, and fit into polite society. ~ The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Claire's phone buzzed during dinner, interrupting a big conversation her parents were having. ~ The Ghost at the Fire Station by Dori Hillestad Butler

"Who left the TV on in here again?" Mr. Kendall grumbled as he wandered into the living room. ~ The Ghost in the Tree House by Dori Hillestad Butler

My name is A.J. and I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. ~ Dr. Snow Has Got to Go! by Dan Gutman

Saturday morning, I was lounging in my backyard and enjoying a little sun. ~ 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

The Sun shone down on the glittering, pearly - white turrets of Unicorn School. ~ Team Magic by Linda Chapman

"One . . . two . . . three . . . GLOW!" Little John shouted. ~ The Hide-and-Seek Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler

"You guys! Come quick!" Little John shouted as he swam into Claire's living room. ~ The Ghosts at the Movie Theater by Dori Hillestad Butler

I decided that Orion needed to die after the second time he saved my life. ~ A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

"Look, Kaz!" Little John gazed out Claire's window. ~ The Underground Ghosts by Dori Killestad Butler

Charlene Morris may be impulsive sometimes, but crazy she was not. ~ Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton

I am Ivan. ~ The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Call me a harlot. ~ In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Krak! ~ Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

"When will they be here?" asked Ramona Quimby, who was supposed to be dusting the living room but instead was twirling around trying to make herself dizzy. ~ Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

I craned to see the everlasting tree through the press of people, a familiar excitement humming through my veins. ~ Leads & Lynxes by Rebecca Chastain

Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity ~ Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Sometimes I wonder if my mom is BRAIN DEAD. Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell

They named the child Rory, because the firstborn of every generation was always a Rory, and had been since the first of that name had cut his way through the cursed briars on the homeworld and saved the kingdom of Thorne--and, incidentally, the princess--from the consequences of poor manners. ~ How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

"This is it!" Mom said brightly, opening the door to my new room with a grand, ceremonial swing. ~ Together, Apart by Erin Craig et al

I can't believe this is happening to me! Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renée Russell

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport. ~ Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. ~ Wonder by R.J. Palacio

No one in the moderately sized rural southern town of Cypress would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked. ~ The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James

OMG! ~ Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renée Russell

Mwaaah-hah-hahah-haaaaaa!!! ~ The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Sandy! ~ Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez

Books can take you to magical places. ~ Book Love by Debbie Tung

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  1. I love that you do this every year. It is fun to read some of these first lines.

    1. Carole - Thank you! I never know if anyone but me appreciates it. :-) I enjoy looking back on them at least.

  2. Oooh, I love the idea of this post! I really like first lines. I feel like really good ones can make me absolutely NEED to read a book, since it hooks me right away! The first line of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires is certainly one of those!

    1. Sammie - Yes! The best first lines hook the reader immediately. The Southern Book Club's Guide to the Slaying Vampires is a fun one. Definitely worth reading.

  3. I like the Ivy + Bean first sentence: It was a book that started all the trouble. My daughter loved those books when she was young.

    1. Helen - The Ivy + Bean books are among my daughters favorites. :-)

  4. The first lines of Madeline bring me back to when I was a kid! I loved the animated series!

    1. Eustacia - My daughter has only seen the Christmas special, but she enjoyed it. :-)


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