10 Amazing Books with a Compelling First Line

10 amazing books with a compelling first line

Recently I’ve noticed that when I browse through books in the bookstore, the first thing I do when I pick up a book (after noticing the pretty cover) is read the first sentence. I usually don’t look at a book’s synopsis if I can help it because I like to go in without knowing much about the plot. Because of this I find that a book’s first really does play a big role if I buy a book on the spot or not. If I pick up a book I don’t know much about but the first sentence is unique and compelling enough, there’s a high chance I’ll still buy it. I feel like a lot of books are known for their famous last lines but I think the same importance should be placed on the opening line as well. An opening line sets the tone for the rest of the book and what you can expect from the plot to a certain extent. So today I have compiled a list of 10 amazing books on my shelf with a compelling first line/sentence.

10 Books With a Compelling First Line

Related imageImage result for beartownImage result for circe bookImage result for the leaversThe Blind Assassin by [Atwood, Margaret]

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger.

3. Circe by Madeline Miller

When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. 

4. The Leavers by Lisa Ko

The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school, 

5. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. 

Image result for the nightingale coverRelated imageRelated imageImage result for angelfall coverImage result for we are the ants

6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. 

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. 

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say, about anything. 

9. Angelfall by Susan Ee

Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious. 

10. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Life is bullshit. 

Ending on a positive note.

What is your favourite opening line of a book? Did you find any of the above first lines compelling? How do you choose to buy a book; from the cover, synopsis, hype or maybe first line? Let’s chat in the comments 

Signature Mara

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22 thoughts on “10 Amazing Books with a Compelling First Line

  1. Rebecca Alasdair says:

    First lines and openings are SO important, right? One of my favourites in the last few months was from The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan:

    “When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse and check his pupils to see if he’s ingested anything nasty, or you can believe him.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mara says:

      Oh wow that’s a really good one! I haven’t heard of The Steel Remains before but if I read that opening line in the bookstore I would be very tempted to buy it! I’ll have to look up the book now😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lois says:

    I love it when a book has a compelling first line, it adds that sense of intrigue that makes it easier to get your teeth sunk into it. I have to say The Night Circus will forever be one of my favourite books and that opening line is epic.
    I’ve had my eye on Beartown for ages and it is definitely one book I plan on treating myself to in the near future, especially after reading that line.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

    Oooh, I love this list! I still haven’t finished Beartown (got stuck somewhere and haven’t picked it up) because it was sort of hard for me to get into, despite having a great opening and loving Backman’s work. I’ll definitely finish it this year, though. I just bought Angelfall, too, so I’m excited about reading that.

    I have to say, though, We Are The Ants probably has the best and truest first line I’ve ever seen. xD


  4. Zoie says:

    Wow, the first line for Circe is so… intriguing! I need to do some research on that book now 😊 Also, the first line for We Are The Ants… 😂 I feel like everyone has adamantly believed in that statement at least once in their teenage years. Anyways, lovely post! I enjoyed reading your picks!


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