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There are very few pleasures in life than cracking open a new book, reading the first sentence, and thinking: damn, what a way to start!
Opening lines often set the pace of what is to come. Who doesn’t recognise the famous “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” in Pride And Prejudice or “Happy families are all alike; unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way” in Anna Karenina?
Toni Morrison, as well, is quite known for her strong first lines, which have a tendency to keep the reader interested and guessing.
Here at Book Riot we love a good opening, and we have compiled 22 of the best first lines in books out there, as well as what makes them such strong openings to a book.
For all lovers of mysteries and of opening lines, I have created the perfect quiz for you. Twenty-two mystery novels, 11 opening lines: your task is to match each line to its rightful novel.
Do you think you can crack the mystery? (Check below the quiz for the results!)
Curious to find out the results? Here they are!
- “Inside Laura’s head, Deidre spoke. The trouble with you, Laura, she said, is that you make bad choices.” — A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
- “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.” — Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- “I am a frozen statue of a girl in the woods. Only my eyes move, darting from the gun to their startled expression.” — Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- “State your name for the record, please.” — Portrait Of a Thief by Grace D. Li
- “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a book.” — Death by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. Chow
- “The locals called the river in autumn the Eye Of God.” — On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel
- “My mother vanished without trace ten years ago.” — Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
- “Ike tried to remember a time when men with badges coming to his door early in the morning brought anything other than heartache and misery, but try as he might, nothing came to mind.” — Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
- “Welcome to Johnstown: Home of the World’s Steepest Vehicular Inclined Plane.” — Jackal by Erin E. Adams
- “The first thing I noticed was the eyes.” — Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen
- “Hope Miller shifted her gaze from the gas nozzle to the pump. When the gallon counter hit twelve, she scolded herself for not filling up before her trip into the city. She couldn’t risk an empty tank.” — Find Me by Alafair Burke
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Looking for more quizzes? Here is one to match first lines to their rightful fantasy novels, and a whole archive filled with quizzes waiting for you!