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    50 Opening Sentences From 2020 Books That Are Incredibly Intriguing

    “The world is not tame.” —Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis

    I collect first sentences. There are few things better than the feeling you get from browsing the first page of a book and knowing you're about to be hooked. The perfect introduction to a novel looks many different ways: It invites you to ask more questions. It makes you stop, think, and then reread. It provokes a response — laughter, tears, snorts, terror. And hopefully, the urge to keep reading. Here are some spectacular lines from 2020 books.

    Zoraida Córdova / Via Canva.com

    1. “I sing the city.”

    The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

    2. “The harvest begins, and all that exists is fear.”

    The Loop by Ben Oliver

    3. “In the deep wilds of the north, there is a Shrine cut into the mountainside.”

    The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

    4. “I didn’t mean to kill Josh Harper.”

    When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

    5. “The first thing Silverfish had learned on board the Brackish was how to hold a knife.”

    Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

    6. “People were too scared for music tonight.”

    The Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

    7. "One day after the emperor had died and been eaten, the call went out to select his successor.”

    House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

    8. “They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.”

    The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

    9. “They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

    The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

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    10. “On the last day that the town of Beckettsville would ever know, the weather was so fine you could see all the way to the soft blue skin of the horizon.”

    The King of Crows by Libba Bray

    11. “'Something wants to eat you,' called Almost Brilliant from her perch in a nearby tree, 'and I shall not be sorry if it does.'”

    The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

    12. “My mother told me once that being an Oliva meant measuring our lives in lengths of red thread. And probably, that was true.”

    Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

    13. “Silence on a tropical island is the relentless sound of water.”

    Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

    14. “I am a girl surrounded by monsters and ghosts from an ancient world.”

    Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani

    15. “Hal was not yet a prince when she fell in love with Lady Hotspur, but she would be within the hour.”

    Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

    16. “I was eighteen years old, give or take a fairy-tale century, when I had my first kiss.”

    The Night Country by Melissa Albert

    17. “I wake up the same way I fell asleep: knife in hand, boots for a pillow, and Nameless.”

    Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin

    18. “As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful.”

    Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

    19. “Begin at the end: plummeting down the side of the ship in the storm’s wild darkness, breath gone with the shock of falling, my camera flying away through the rain—”

    The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

    Zoraida Córdova / Via Canva.com

    20. “The world is not tame.”

    Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis

    21. “Let’s say that you are a sixty-nine-year old Jamaican man called Stanford, or Stan for short, who once faked your own death.”

    These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

    22. “Sweet sixteen is when the claws come out.”

    Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

    23. “When a star reaches the end of its lifetime, it explodes in this violent supernova.”

    And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

    24. “My grandmother used to tell me that when our ancestors die, they don’t just disappear, they continue to watch over us.”

    The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

    25. “There were warning signs in the Ward that day that anyone could have seen.”

    The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkowski

    26. “When a body goes down in Lake Tahoe, they say, it does not rise again.”

    Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

    27. “The light, sweet honey scent of burning candles did not quite masked the odor of blood and sweat in the makeshift ballroom.”

    The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood

    28. “My mother is a wizard.”

    Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

    29. “Salt for pride. Mustard seed for lies. Barley for curses.”

    Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

    Zoraida Córdova / Via canva.com

    30. “Diamonds, scientists say, are the world’s hardest material. And yet, like a heart, a diamond can break.”

    Cartier’s Hope by M.J. Rose

    31. “The last two were a girl and her father who lived along the old eastern range on the side of a mountain they called the mountain that stands alone.”

    The Bear by Andrew Krivak

    32. “California revealed itself to Kate as a series of spots, like a scratch-off lottery ticket, the forested hills emerging in patches as the plane lowered through the clouds.”

    Take me Apart by Sara Siglar

    33. “Around me was an ant colony of black motorcars. In my jacket pocket, hidden inside a mint candy box, were the ashes of my father — Sadegh Mozaffarian — dead for two weeks and estranged from me for thirty-eight years.”

    Man of My Time by Dalia Sofer

    34. “It was after midnight when the boatman and his daughter brought the witch out of Sabbath House and back onto the river.”

    The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson

    35. “Oona stopped trusting the mirror years ago. After all, it told only a sliver of the story.”

    Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

    36. “Pastor Newsome’s rules for First Missionary House of the Lord were simple.”

    Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

    37. "'Oranges don’t have nipples,' says Sophie.”

    Yes No Maybe So by Aisha Saeed and Becky Albertalli

    38. “The little girl’s memories began in a dark cellar.”

    The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

    39. “From above, the heart of the city is easy to see. Beijing is a bull’s-eye.”

    Little Gods by Meng Jin

    Zoraida Córdova / Via canva.com

    40. “Tonight, five years to the day since I lost you, forty-eight white-throated sparrows fall from the sky.”

    The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

    41. “Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not.”

    Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

    42. “When you live in a place like this, you’re always planning your escape.”

    We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

    43. “The beach smelled of death. Half a dozen sharks lay under the sun, waiting to be salted.”

    Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    44. “Eleanor West was fond of saying — inasmuch as she was fond of saying anything predictable, sensible, or more than once — that her school had no graduates, only students who found somewhere else to do their learning for a time.”

    Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

    45. “Katrina King loved love. Even when it didn’t love her.”

    Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

    46. “Death,

    As blackness eats my last sliver of consciousness, I realize I regret.”

    A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen

    47. “He was seventeen the first time he saw her. A February dusk in 1943 on the cold plains of Manzanar.”

    The Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II by Andrew Fukuda

    48. “A white castle once stood in the forest, with spires that soared to the lower floors of heaven and dungeons that stretched ever downward, or so the legend went, to brush the very chimney stacks of hell.”

    Don’t Call the Wolf by Aleksandra Ross

    49. “I know too much of mud.”

    Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

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    50. “When I close my eyes we’re all still alive and it becomes obvious what the gods want from us.”

    Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

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