But what really brings you in? What catches your attention? Is the first line really that important?
Here's a list of the top ten New York Times Young Adult bestsellers, along with their very first opening sentences.
- Paper Towns (John Green): "The longest day of my life began tardily."
- Looking for Alaska (John Green): "The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party."
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews): "I have no idea how to write this stupid book."
- The Book Thief (Markus Zusak): "First the Colors."
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs): "I had just come to expect that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."
- The Fault in Our Stars (John Green): "Late in the summer of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently and devoted quite a bit of my free time to thinking about death."
- An Abundance of Katherines (John Green): "The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie): "I was born with water on the brain."
- Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell): "He'd stopped trying to bring her back."
- Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher): "A shoebox-sized package is propped up against the front door at an angle."
These are some of the most popular contemporary novels - do their first words match their reputation?