First Lines

Following Kaye’s lead, I am doing a first-lines post.

Only, to make my list unique (I have seen a number of these floating around in the last few months), I am choosing books I have read that I haven’t seen in a list of first-lines.

Most of mine are from children’s books, as I feel these are woefully under-represented in lists of merit.


Tawny shivered, not understanding this and not liking it because he did not understand.

Desert Dog by Jim Kjelgaard (a last name I still can’t pronounce)

The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child anyone had ever seen. It was true, too.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

However perilous and astonishing the exploits of the Mouse Prisoners’ Aid Society, each separate adventure always started off at a formal General Meeting. (Corporate rules and regulations, order and decorum, provide a solid foundation for individual heroism.)

Miss Bianca by Margery Sharp

There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Linderwall was a large kingdom, just east of the Mountains of Morning, where philosophers were respected and the number five was fashionable.

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

“She won’t be angry with me,” said Alicia. “Why should she, Kate? Every word I wrote her was true. This is the most horrible place in the world. You know it is.”

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Long ago a river divided two kingdoms– one great and one small.

The Bridge by Jeri Massi

It was Old Bess, the Wise Woman of the village, who first suspected the baby at her daughter’s house was a changeling.

The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw


4 thoughts on “First Lines

  1. I LOVE Holes! We read it the semester we focused on Children’s/YA literature in grad school!

    The one from Desert Dog reminded me of the opening of a book I read until the cover fell off when I was a kid:

    I lay there shivering in the wet grass. I ate some of it. Then threw up. The knots in my stomach unwound and I crept back inside the paper bag. It crinkled loudly as I crawled far back to the rounded corners and curled myself into a tight ball. It was all the protection I had from the night.
    Spunky by Dori Brink (1980)

    I’m intrigued by several on this list—I may have to make a trip to the library soon!

  2. Of these, this is my favorite:

    “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.” I don’t know the story but it makes me very curious!

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