Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten First/Last Lines In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week we get a new topic for a top ten list. Beginning and ending lines make or break a book. You need the first line to catch your attention immediately and you need the last line to tie everything up perfectly. Here are five of my favorite opening lines and five of my favorite last lines.

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First Lines

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1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling. This one line both completely characterizes the Dursleys and sets up Rowling’s narrative voice. It’s the perfect opening line to the series.

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. I love how this sentence is funny while still pointing out societal conventions.

3. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein. I love this line. LOVE IT. I think it’s the best one of this list. It becomes so much more effective the longer you read and the more you understand what’s happening. That’s the best kind of opening…one that continues to resonate throughout the whole book.

4. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones. Whimsy, humor, and setting all established in one sentence. (You knew I was going to include a DWJ quote!)

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor. Ok, so technically this isn’t the first sentence. It’s the pre-opening sentence. But I love it so much. It builds up all kinds of anticipation for the story to come.

Last Lines

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6. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green. Sob.

7. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone knows this line. It’s one of the best endings of an American novel ever.

8. I Am The Messenger, Markus Zusak. This is one of my favorites because it sums up the meaning of the entire novel so perfectly.

9. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. This author just seems to know how to hit the reader right in the heart with a single sentence.

10. The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen. So this is more a favorite last paragraph than sentence, but I love the feeling this book leaves you with. It’s like anything is possible.


22 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten First/Last Lines In Books

  1. I can’t think about the ending of The Fault In Our Stars without getting all sad inside. The Book Thief is on my list, too. The last line positively chilled me. I couldn’t get into Code Name Verity, but maybe I should give it another chance sometime. Happy reading!

  2. I love the pictures! You’ve perfectly captured the moment!
    I’d forgotten how much I loved the start of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Love that book. I loved the Messenger too. People often tend to overlook it and only pay attention to the Book Thief – but the messenger… I loved that book.

    I borrowed Code Name Verity from the library the other day. Just about to start reading it. Now I’m anticipating my read even more!
    Fantastic list!

    My TTT

    Kate @ whYAnot

  3. Seriously, Harry Potter! That whole first chapter is amazing. And Pride and Prejudice! I haven’t read The Book Thief, but I’m thinking I should.

  4. HP and P&P also made my list this week! I’m proud to say I FINALLY got around to reading TFIOS, and WOW I can see what all the fuss is about. Perfect ending. The Book Thief and Gatsby are on my TBR for this week, and your ending quotes have me even more excited to get with the rest of the world and read these! Great list, I love your use of images!

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