16 Books That Will Hook You From the Very First Line

Posted by Hayley on December 12, 2016
Love at first sight? Consider us skeptics. Love at first line, though…. Now that's something we'll get behind. A good opening line can grab us in an instant, igniting our imagination and our curiosity. We're powerless. Such lines demand our attention.

We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What book hooked you from the very first line? Explore the top picks below!

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Dark Places
by Gillian Flynn

First line: "I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ."

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A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness

First line: "The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do."

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I Capture The Castle
by Dodie Smith

First line: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

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by Neal Stephenson

First line: "The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason."

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The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

First line: "I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time."

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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

First line: "First the colors, then the humans."

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

First line: "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

First line: "Mr. And Mrs. Dursley, of number 4 Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

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Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
by Christopher Moore

First line: "You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don't."

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Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

First line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

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Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell

First line: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

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The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

First line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."

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by Daphne du Maurier

First line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

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The Martian
by Andy Weir

First line: "I'm pretty much fucked."

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A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

First line: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

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The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

First line: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

Did the books that hooked you not make the list? Don't keep them to yourself—share the titles and the lines with us in the comments!

Comments Showing 1-50 of 94 (94 new)

message 1: by Rui (new)

Rui Mateus "A long time ago I disappeared" - Caucasia by Danzy Senna

message 2: by Pavel (new)

Pavel Totzauer “It was a pleasure to burn.” - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

message 3: by Esther (new)

Esther "I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen." - Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

"Look, I did not want to be a half-blood." - The Lightning Thief

message 4: by Gamaliel (new)

Gamaliel Medina "He’d stopped trying to bring her back" - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

message 5: by F.B. (new)

F.B. "I'd never attended an execution before." - Nine Minutes

message 6: by Jeff (new)

Jeff "Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest." -- Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

message 7: by Zathoth (new)

Zathoth "The building was on fire, and it wasnt my fault" Blood Rites by Jim Butcher.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft.

"Ash fell from the sky." The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.

message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Dove "Idea for a novel: we have a banker rob his own bank." - The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray

message 9: by Vee (new)

Vee Neal Stephenson's Seveneves looks/sounds like a must read.

message 10: by Jenn (new)

Jenn " Camille said you stole a bag from a homeless guy."

Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster.

message 11: by Tressa (new)

Tressa "When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." – To Kill a Mockingbird

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." – The Great Gatsby

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” – The Bell Jar

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." – The Haunting of Hill House

message 12: by Isobel (new)

Isobel Bew Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

message 13: by Cindy (new)

Cindy He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. (Scaramouche by Raphael Sabatini)

message 14: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Pätzold "She was nicknamed The Graveyard." - One Hundred Names (Cecelia Ahern)

message 15: by Scott (new)

Scott Eggerding "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

message 16: by Sho (new)

Sho "There was a boy called Eustace Clarance Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

message 17: by Tishara (last edited Dec 12, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Tishara Corcoran The Named Her hair is black and thick with bouncing curls that bob around her shoulders.

message 18: by Tishara (new)

Tishara Corcoran Switched A couple of things made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday and my mother was wielding a knife.

message 19: by Tishara (new)

Tishara Corcoran Crank Life was good before I met the monster.

message 20: by Ferda (new)

Ferda Ak MR Vertigo

message 21: by Richard (new)

Richard "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

The Gunslinger

message 22: by cHriS (new)

cHriS Once upon a time....

message 23: by Maja (last edited Dec 12, 2016 01:01PM) (new)

Maja Banovak The Lions of Al-Rassan
It was just past midday, not long before the third summons to prayer, that Ammar ibn Khairan passed through the Gate of the Bells and entered the palace of Al-Fontina in Silvenes to kill the last of the khalifs of Al-Rassan.

message 24: by Jacky (new)

Jacky "They said I must die"
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

message 25: by Christopher (last edited Apr 19, 2017 10:57AM) (new)

Christopher Roxby Tressa wrote: "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been tu..."

I read that book in my High School years, and I thought the same thing then as I've thought every time I hear that line or any reference to Gatsby.... or Catcher in the Rye, for that matter...

Overrated, overhyped pretentious crap.

message 26: by Quaanitah (new)

Quaanitah “All this happened, more or less.” - Lord of the Flies

message 27: by Aiyana (new)

Aiyana "Boris Stuchenko would be dead in less than nineteen minutes.
And he had no idea why." The Ezekiel Option by Joel C. Rosenberg (The Last Jihad #3)

"Marley was dead: to begin with. There was no doubt whatever about that." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

I enjoy reading through the comments on here. So many great opening lines from different books!

message 28: by Amy (new)

Amy Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. "Replay" by Ken Grimwood.

message 29: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl “The circus arrives without warning.

“No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

message 30: by Kikush (new)

Kikush Tothova “Maybe I’d always been broken and dark inside

Sarah J. Maas. A Court of Mist and Fury

message 31: by Dani (new)

Dani Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.- Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.

message 32: by Janet Garcia (new)

Janet Garcia "This is how I kill someone."

The Female of Species, Mindy McGinnis

message 33: by Jose (new)

Jose Monarrez "En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor..."

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha, 15 de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛ "The Crown's Game was an old one, older than the Tzardom itself." -The Crown's Game, Evelyn Skye

"Every story fairy tale starts the same-once upon a time." -Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, Katie Alender

"'In all your life, your only choice,' Aunt Leonie said to her once, 'is the path of needles or the path of pins.' Rachelle remembered that, the day she killed her." -Crimson Bound, Rosamund Hodge

"Guilt is a hunter." Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

I wish you could like comments on here though, since a lot of these lines are really really good!

message 35: by Sitting (new)

Sitting Bull "This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places." Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey

message 36: by Chris (new)

Chris "Ten Days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. " The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

message 37: by Denise (new)

Denise "Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero. That’s just how it is. Anyone who doesn’t agree needs their head examined."

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

message 39: by Barbara (new)

Barbara "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

message 40: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve The storm came out of the south west like a fiend, stalking its prey on legs of lightning.

Abarat, by Clive Barker

(If it isn't verbatim, it's pretty close)

message 41: by Katie (new)

Katie Vee wrote: "Neal Stephenson's Seveneves looks/sounds like a must read."

It's fabulous. The hard core math and science scares people away. But it has great themes and moral, philosophical questions, once you get past the tech talk. (As a mathematician, I loved it )

Great characters, too. Good female characters of all types. Well written, what we've come to expect from Stephenson.

message 42: by Anshita (new)

Anshita They shoot the white girl first, but the rest they can take their time. - Paradise, Toni Morrison.

message 43: by Yodi (new)

Yodi A single shot to the back of the head, execution style. - One by One, Chris Carter

message 44: by Marie Anne T. (new)

Marie Anne T. Isobel wrote: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina"

That was exactly what I was thinking of!

message 45: by Murray (new)

Murray Why is this not on the list!!!!!! “It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.” - The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

message 46: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Scott wrote: ""Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel G..."


message 47: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Brophy "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

message 48: by Fragmentage (new)

Fragmentage "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful..." - Gone with the wind, Margeret Mitchell

message 49: by Tahani (new)

Tahani "No one died the next day."
- José Saramago, Death with Interruptions.

message 50: by Dana (new)

Dana Cristiana "The Mind Readers" (Book 1) by Lori Brighton.
First sentence that got my attention from the beginning:
"The man sitting across from me at the café was thinking about murdering his wife."

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