Authors everywhere sit anxiously, chewing their pens, brainstorming the perfect hook that will catch their readers at first glance and not let them go until the final page: the first line of their book. Maybe you don’t judge a book by its cover, but a reader can tell a lot about a story from simply reading the first sentence. Classics such as George Orwell’s 1984 begin with, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Or observe how beloved C.S. Lewis captured his readers in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” Here are a few of our favorite first-liners from this year’ s fiction:

“That Wednesday two weeks before Thanksgiving was a bad day to find a corpse on campus…” –Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor

“There on the damp pine needles Kirsten Young lay on her back, a serene Ophelia in her dusky pond of blood…”-Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott

“Our worst spring storm broke on the edge of midnight, a river thrown from the sky…”-I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke

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