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

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

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

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

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

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