First Line Test: YA Part 2

All righty, the second part of the First Line Test series for my blog is now available! I apologize for the delay–have been on vacation in the beautiful country if Italy for the past two weeks. Blog post about my adventures will be posted soon–to include PLENTY of photos of beautiful landscapes and, my all time favorite, food. NOM NOM.

So back to these first line tests. What is the original goal? To help you discover what first lines work, which ones don’t, possible ways to improve, etc. It’s always about growing as a writer, right? And the best way is to see what’s out there.

Definition of a First Line: A first line doesn’t necessarily have to be a single line but a few phrases that encompass the preliminary emotion/tone/imagery a reader is introduced to.

Your task: Give it all to me: the good and the bad. What can be improved? Could you possibly rewrite it to enhance it? Don’t be afraid to practice and see ways we can enhance it. Let’s play!

Let’s see if these published books hook you enough to buy them. Let me know in the comments below.

Analysis #1:

“There was a boy in her room.

Cath looked up at the number painted on the door, then down at the room assignment in her hand.”

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

What do you think? Right away, notice how we dive into the confusion of the moment with the character.

The writing captures the main character’s personality within the first sentence. Did she question it? No. Did she freak out? No. The situation is stated factually. Her response gives us some insight to who she is and how she’ll react to other experiences throughout the story.

There’s also a simplicity to the writing that is nice to read. And please do not misconstrue simplicity with plainness or boring. There are many writers where reading their works is effortless, and this happens to be one of those instances. Another favorite of mine where reading is effortless is Grace Draven’s “Radiance”.

Analysis #2:

“Janie finished her essay.

She never knew what grade she would get in Mr. Brylowe’s English class.”

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney


Classic thriller/mystery beginning! Gotta love it. Right away, I’m left to wonder why she never found out what her grade was on her essay.

The name of the book is a perfect parallel to this story, too. Do we still have missing children advertised on milk cartons today? Anyway, this ties back to my childhood and the numerous faces that used to cover the milk cartons we brought home. And the faces, the many faces that covered the thick paper material, always left a haunting mystery. Who were these kids? Where did they go? Will they ever come home?

Although this hits home with me, as children’s faces on milk cartons were more prevalent when I was a kid, how relevant would it be for young adults today? Would they understand the reference?

Other than that, well done. Lovely hook.

Analysis #3:

“Death. This carriage was taking me straight to my death.”

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

Uhhh…gimme, gimme, gimme.Within ten words, the author has effectively told us the problem, the setting, and the voice.

The problem: the main character is being brought to her death (by carriage by the way! Fancy).

The setting: Victorian era.

The voice: Factual (very similar to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl above, though with a much darker undercurrent).

Does yours do the same? WOW! I mean just wow! I’m floored.



So what do you guys think? Share below and let me know 🙂


One Comment Add yours

  1. reallyhateblogging says:

    These are really good evaluations, you should so get more likes


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