15 of the Best Opening Lines in YA

Little BrotherFirst lines are powerful. It’s the author’s best chance to hook the reader. A great first line will pull you in, introduce you to the narrator, and set the tone for the entire book. Depending on what you’re reading, a great first line can be funny or meaningful or sad or somehow all of the above. Some great lines are flowery and beautiful, while others are direct and to the point. But a great line should always pull you out of your world and straight into the world of the book. Here are 12 opening lines in YA that immediately draw you in, from 12 great books that never let you go.

Best “This book is going to give me all the feels” line:

“They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver

Best “Ain’t that always the way?” line:

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

Best “I’m really glad that’s not me” line:

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.”
The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater

Best “I’m not putting this book down till my eyes burn” line:

“They say death aims only once and never misses, but I doubt Ty Yorkshire thought it would strike with a scrubbing brush.”
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

Best “Description of rain that puts all other descriptions to shame” line:

“The rain poured down on London so hard that it seemed that it was dancing spray, every raindrop contending with its fellows for supremacy in the air and waiting to splash down.”
Dodger, by Terry Pratchett

Best “Wait, what’s happening here” line:

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”
Feed, by M.T. Anderson

Best “Real glad I don’t go to that high school” line:

“I’m a senior at Cesar Chavez High in San Francisco’s sunny Mission district, and that makes me one of the most surveilled people in the world.”
Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

Best “Well, that changes everything” line:

“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”
The Kiss of Deception, by Mary. E. Pearson

Best “I already want to know what your life is” line: 

“One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke.”
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Best “I’m swooning already” line:

“It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy—that guy right over there—that’s him. The him.”
Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

Best “Introduction to the importance of lip care” line:

“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.”
Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins

Best “OMG tell me that didn’t actually happen” line:

“There is nothing more humiliating than being topless in the backseat of your boyfriend’s car when someone decides to throw an egg at the windshield.”
Shut Out, by Kody Keplinger

Best “I don’t know whether to laugh or feel really, really sad” lines:

“The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. I’m sixteen now, so you can imagine that’s left me with quite a few days of major suckage.”
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray

Best “I’m going to print that and put it on a motivational poster” lines:

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us.”
Paper Towns, by John Green

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Best “Started the book at 9 p.m., am going to read till 4 a.m.” lines:

“It doesn’t start here. You’d think it would: two terrified girls in the middle of nowhere, cowering together, eyes bulging at the gun in his hand. But it doesn’t start here. It starts the first time I almost die.”
Far From You, by Tess Sharpe

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