21 Novels with the Best First Lines

These books had us at hello.

best first lines

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You can’t judge a book by its cover, so they say, but you can judge it by its first line. One sentence is all it takes: we’re intrigued, we’re shocked, we have to keep reading. The best first lines, though, stand alone; they’re like one-sentence poems. When read aloud, they carry the whole of the novel in them. Take a peek at the opening lines—poems? masterpieces?—of these 21 incredible novels.

Featured Image: Nikada/iStock

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About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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