Roundups

10 of the Best First Lines in YA Thrillers

The Devil You KnowThriller authors don’t have a whole lot of time to hook you. If you don’t believe they can spin your head on a dime, upend your world with just a few well-chosen words, screw with your mind before you even realize they’ve entered it…well, then they’re not very likely to do their job of “thrilling” you, now are they? Thankfully, the YA thriller genre is filled with some master craftsmen. Here are 10 of our favorite YA thriller opening lines (and paragraphs, because some of the best genius simply cannot be contained) to prove it.

Trust Me, I'm Lying

Trust Me, I'm Lying

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Trust Me, I'm Lying

Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Trust Me, I’m Lying, by Mary Elizabeth Summer
“I can’t say I have much personal experience with conscience.”

Trust Me, I’m Lying, by Mary Elizabeth Summer
“I can’t say I have much personal experience with conscience.”

Last Seen Leaving

Last Seen Leaving

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Last Seen Leaving

Caleb Roehrig

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Last Seen Leaving, by Caleb Roehrig
“There was a corpse in my neighbor’s front yard. Sprawled before a hedge of juniper bushes, its twisted arms and legs flung out bonelessly, as if it had plummeted there from a passing helicopter, there was an enormous granite boulder where its head should have been. The gardening glove on its right hand was pulling away from the cuff of a flannel shirt, and a chunk of ghostly white foam rubber innards peeked through the opening.”

Last Seen Leaving, by Caleb Roehrig
“There was a corpse in my neighbor’s front yard. Sprawled before a hedge of juniper bushes, its twisted arms and legs flung out bonelessly, as if it had plummeted there from a passing helicopter, there was an enormous granite boulder where its head should have been. The gardening glove on its right hand was pulling away from the cuff of a flannel shirt, and a chunk of ghostly white foam rubber innards peeked through the opening.”

Charm & Strange: A Novel

Charm & Strange: A Novel

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Charm & Strange: A Novel

Stephanie Kuehn

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Charm & Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
“I don’t feel the presence of God here.”

Charm & Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
“I don’t feel the presence of God here.”

Pretending to Be Erica

Pretending to Be Erica

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Pretending to Be Erica

Michelle Painchaud

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Pretending to Be Erica, by Michelle Painchaud
“I still haven’t gotten used to writing my new name. It’ll get easier with time. Most things do. But for now the word Erica is strange and unfamiliar as it bleeds from my pen and onto the corner of my math worksheet. It’s a pretty name, a sweet name. Doesn’t suit me.”

Pretending to Be Erica, by Michelle Painchaud
“I still haven’t gotten used to writing my new name. It’ll get easier with time. Most things do. But for now the word Erica is strange and unfamiliar as it bleeds from my pen and onto the corner of my math worksheet. It’s a pretty name, a sweet name. Doesn’t suit me.”

The Darkest Corners

The Darkest Corners

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The Darkest Corners

Kara Thomas

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The Darkest Corners, by Kara Thomas
“Hell is a two-hour layover in Atlanta.”

The Darkest Corners, by Kara Thomas
“Hell is a two-hour layover in Atlanta.”

Never Missing, Never Found

Never Missing, Never Found

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Never Missing, Never Found

Amanda Panitch

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Never Missing, Never Found, by Amanda Panitch
“I didn’t choose to join the illustrious society of missing girls. I didn’t grab an application, dot my i‘s with hearts (it was third grade, okay?), and sign my name with a flourish in my newly acquired cursive. I was taken.”

Never Missing, Never Found, by Amanda Panitch
“I didn’t choose to join the illustrious society of missing girls. I didn’t grab an application, dot my i‘s with hearts (it was third grade, okay?), and sign my name with a flourish in my newly acquired cursive. I was taken.”

The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

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The Devil You Know

Trish Doller

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The Devil You Know, by Trish Doller
“Freedom is ticking its way around the face of the old clock above the door—so close, so close, so close—when Justin comes into the market and I die a tiny, unnoticeable death.”

The Devil You Know, by Trish Doller
“Freedom is ticking its way around the face of the old clock above the door—so close, so close, so close—when Justin comes into the market and I die a tiny, unnoticeable death.”

Fake ID

Fake ID

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Fake ID

Lamar Giles

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Fake ID, by Lamar Giles
“This is how you get your ass kicked.”

Fake ID, by Lamar Giles
“This is how you get your ass kicked.”

Liars, Inc.

Liars, Inc.

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Liars, Inc.

Paula Stokes

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Liars, Inc., by Paula Stokes
“I don’t make to-do lists, but if I did, today’s would have gone something like this: 1. get drunk, 2. get laid, 3. go surfing (not necessarily in that order).”

Liars, Inc., by Paula Stokes
“I don’t make to-do lists, but if I did, today’s would have gone something like this: 1. get drunk, 2. get laid, 3. go surfing (not necessarily in that order).”

Gated

Gated

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Gated

Amy Christine Parker

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Gated, by Amy Christine Parker
“‘Shoot to kill this time, okay?'”

Gated, by Amy Christine Parker
“‘Shoot to kill this time, okay?'”