Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Words of Popular Books: Young Adult Novels

What makes a good book? A good story, of course. Engaging characters, an intriguing plot and perhaps just the right setting.

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.

  1. Paper Towns (John Green): "The longest day of my life began tardily."
  2. 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."
  3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews): "I have no idea how to write this stupid book."
  4. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak): "First the Colors."
  5. 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."
  6. 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."
  7. 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.
  8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie): "I was born with water on the brain."
  9. Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell): "He'd stopped trying to bring her back."
  10. 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?

Next time: Science Fiction Classics!

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