RTW: In the Beginning…

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing or reading-related question and answer it on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.




This week’s topic: A novel’s opening is like a pick up line. If it’s good, you might take it home. If it’s bad… well. You know. What are your favorite first lines? How do your own WIPs start?

Honestly, I never paid much attention to first lines until I started writing seriously. Now when I’m book shopping, I read the back cover blurb, then the first line before I decide whether or not to buy. When done well, they catch my attention, make me wonder and set the tone for the book. Here are a few of my favorites:


If I Stay by Gayle Forman – Everyone thinks it was because of the snow.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Gram is worried about me.
Looking for Alaska by John Green The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.

And here are the openings from two of my manuscripts:
Loving Max Holden – Riding to school with Max Holden is only slightly less traumatizing than riding the big yellow bus.
Where Poppies Bloom (still a WIP, so subject to change) – At first glance, you wouldn’t peg me as the type of girl who hotboxes her bathroom.

What about you? What are your favorite novel beginnings?


17 thoughts on “RTW: In the Beginning…

  1. Kirsten says:

    Love your picks. I picked up “If I Stay” in an airport bookstore last month and just about died reading the first chapter. OMG. So intense. I wanted to cry — and I was definitely hooked.

    And can I say that I also love both your first lines?? Definitely intriguing (and funny)

  2. Heather Howland says:

    I love both of your first lines, but MAX is definitely one of my all time faves. Jillian’s voice is fabulous!

    One of these days I’ll read IF I STAY. I have it, just haven’t read it!

    • katyupperman says:

      You’re too nice, Heather! You MUST read If I Stay. It was the first YA book I read and thought “I want to write books that are THAT moving and intense.” Also, it almost made me cry 🙂

  3. amiekaufman says:

    Oh, I love the beginning of Max Holden. It immediately grabs me–I want to read more, and find out why it’s more traumatizing!

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