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Pick your favorite first line from the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”  (I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith). I wanted to try something a little different and highlight the books currently nominated for the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults so I decided to compile a list of all the first lines from all the nominees – as of August 3, 2011  – and ask you to pick your favorite.


It was harder than I’d originally thought because many of the books are still in galley form and not due out until the fall and, as many books as I have, I still didn’t have more than 1/4 of them!  Thank God for Amazon and it’s “search inside the book” feature. I was able to find many first lines there for books I don’t have.

Out of the entire list, I was only unable to get the first lines from 3 titles: Philip Reeve’s Web of Air, Leila Sales’s Past Perfect and Beth Bernobich’s Fox & Phoenix. I hope someone has them and can let me know what they are!

Rather than just list all the first lines here and bore everyone, I’ve created 2 screencasts with the text and the audio of all the beginning lines. Listen and follow along if you’d like: – First one – Second one

(Just click on the link to see the screencast with the list and hear the audio; if you hit control & click on the link, you’ll only get the audio)

I’ve revealed my favorite line from one of the books  at the end of the 2nd screencast.

What’s your favorite line from these books? I’d love to know and I hope that this will make you want to read the rest of the book!


Sharon Rawlins, currently reading Bump by Megan McCafferty

(My favorite line is from Chime by Franny Billingsley, “I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged.”)

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Sharon Rawlins

Sharon is the Youth Services Specialist at the NJ State Library in Trenton, NJ


  1. Beth Beth

    Hi! I can help you with the first line for Fox & Phoenix. It’s: “Once upon a stupid time, I liked fairy tales.”

  2. Sharon Rawlins Sharon Rawlins

    Thanks so much Beth!

  3. A Web of Air’s first line is: Something was upsetting the angels.

  4. Sharon Rawlins Sharon Rawlins

    Thanks Jo! I appreciate it.

  5. […] morning! Last Friday, Sharon Rawlins asked about your favorite first lines from the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees. Today, our Monday poll focuses on great last […]

  6. Stephanie Wilkes Stephanie Wilkes

    Hey Sharon!!!!! I have Leila Sales book at home…I’ll get the first line to you ASAP!

  7. Laura C Perenic Laura C Perenic

    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.”

  8. Stephanie Wilkes Stephanie Wilkes

    There are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.

    Past Perfect – Leila Sales

  9. Sharon Rawlins Sharon Rawlins

    Thanks so much Stephanie. I’m happy to have all the first lines now! I still like Franny Billingsley’s one best, with Allan Wolf’s a close 2nd.

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