Top 10 Openings in YA

TOP 10 (1)

If a book doesn’t have a great opening page, you’re unlikely to be hooked. A slow-burner of a book isn’t all bad, but we want to be engrossed from the very beginning.

So, I have trawled my bookshelf and found my favourite opening pages in Young Adult books, in no particular order. Some, I must admit, are not the very first page, as I might have skipped a prologue to get to chapter one, but all of them are great openings, I can guarantee you that.

(P.S. Some opening pages have been shortened. If you see ‘…’ then passages have been omitted).

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1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


forest first lines

I really love the opening page to The Forest of Hands and TeethIt’s that one line ‘That’s when I stopped believing her about the ocean’ that makes you stop and think for a second. Why on earth would this girl think the ocean doesn’t exist?

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Delirium was a series that I think got better as it progressed, but you can’t deny this opening fills you with questions.

3. Tamar by Mal Peet


Tamar is a book I’ve previously raved about on my blog. I think this opening line is beautifully subtle, but also instills us with the sense that the naming of this unborn child is going to extremely significant.

4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

red rising

Red Rising is another novel I’ve raved about on here. Pierce Brown is really a master of these kinds of profound, tense sentences, and it’s a great way to open a novel.

5. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

how i live now opening

How I Live Now is one of my favourite books of all time. Beautifully and uniquely written, and such a harrowing yet hopeful read. I love the opening to this book and the film adaptation is excellent too.

6. Sabriel by Garth Nix


The Abhorsen series is my all-time favourite series, like I’ve said so many times on this blog. This opening immediately introduces us to the magic of Sabriel’s world, but hints at something more sinister beneath the surface – necromancy.

7. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

rebel first lines

I read Rebel of the Sands earlier in the year and loved it! These opening lines perfectly capture the personality of Amani; feisty and honest.

8. Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

heart lines

I read Heart-Shaped Bruise a few years ago now but I can still remember how much I enjoyed it, especially this opening. It’s a bit of a dark read, but also fraught with emotion, and the protagonist Emily is very well-crafted.

9. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

sky first lines

I’m not a huge fan of contemporary, but I really enjoyed The Sky Is Everywhere and should probably read another Jandy Nelson novel! This book was inexpressibly sad, but also so funny and so unique.

10. Pure by Julianna Baggott

pure opening

The Pure series is one of my favourites. It was such an original concept, the writing was excellent, and the characters were brilliant. This is definitely a story I wish I’d written myself.

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Have you read any of these novels? Loved them? Loathed them? Do you think these openings are good? What are some of your favourites in YA? Let me know!