Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Answers to June 7th First Line/Paragraph Post

by Susan Berger

I realize these answers were a long time coming, but we were the delighted hosts to the Vermont College of Fine Arts guest blogs. I have included Amazon links to all the titles, but you can find these books at at your local brick and mortar bookstore. In case you are traveling, here's a link to an independent bookstore guide. NewPages.

1. The statue has got to go.
That's my first thought as I prep the living room for Dustin's visit later tonight. I know I'm the only one who would notice the discriminating eyes of Mom's four-inch Jesus staring down from the mantle. Dustin probably wouldn't look away from my breasts if the room were two feet deep in holy water.
Still, I reach for it.

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden 
I read an interview with Denise and asked her if I could blog this first paragraph

2. Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job so he took to killing. It was the family business. He barely liked his family-and by family he meant his older brother Tom-and he definitely didn’t like the idea of “business.” Or work. The only part of the deal that sounded like it might be fun was the actual killing.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry 
This was a 2011 Cybil winner.

3. Now I have to start lying.
While I stare through the windshield at the building my brother lives in. I try to think up a good lie, but nothing comes to mind. “I was in the neighborhood”? Yeah. Right. It’s nineteen hours from Chicago to Albuquerque. If you drive all night. If you only stop for Mountain dews and KFC extra crispy. By the way, KFC closes way too early in Oklahoma.

Split by Swati Avasthi. 
This was a 2011 Cybil winner.

Sometimes I just know things.
Like when Lou asked me to go on that walk
Down by the reservoir last year
on the last day of eighth grade.
I knew he was going to say
He wanted to break up with me.

Her newest book is for adults: The Hunchback of Nieman Marcus. I heard her read from it at a meeting of Women Who Write and it was wonderful.

5. There were only two kinds of people in our town. “The stupid and the stuck,” my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. “The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out.” There was no question which one he was, but I’d never had the courage to ask why. My father was a writer and we lived in Gaitlin, South Caroline because the Wates always had, since my great-great-great-great-grand-dad, Ellis Wate, fought and died on the other side of the Santee River during the Civil War.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
I couldn’t put this book down and I immediately ordered the sequel. If you want the answer to what happens when you cross Harry Potter and the Twilight books, go read it. I can’t wait for the third. 

6. If Sarah hadn’t put the monkey in the bathtub, we might never have to help the monsters get big. But she did, so we did, which given the way things worked out was probably just as well for everyone on the planet – especially the dead people.

The Monsters of Morley Manor by Bruce Coville.
I’ve read a lot of Bruce Coville’s work and this is my favorite first line.

7. My dad used to be Abraham Lincoln. When I was six and learning to read, I saw his initials were A.B.E. Albert Baruch Edelman. ABE. That’s when I knew.

My Life With the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis
This and the flap cover intrigued me enough to buy the book. I enjoyed it.

8. May 1, 1910 Seventeen days till the End of the World.
Earth Will Pass Through Comet’s 24-Million-Mile-Long Tail on May 18

Selling Hope by Kristen O’Donnell Tubb
SCBWI Crystal Kite Winner. (Many of the Crystal Kite winners do not have a viewable first page at Amazon. It’s harder to blog those. No disrespect to those authors is intended.)

9. A light breeze blew plumes of sand across the empty schoolyard. On the other side of a low wall the flat desert stretched out against the horizon. Over the course of the morning, the dark rectangle this side of the wall would shrink, and by recess would provide just enough shade for children like Akash who didn’t care to play cricket or run after a ball. From his seat by the open window Akash scanned the sky for signs of a rainstorm, for the swollen monsoon clouds that usually built up this time of year before they exploded with thunder and lightning to unleash sheets of rain. But the breeze only dies and Akash resigned himself to another day of relentless heat.

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroeder
This was a long first paragraph, but it does a great job of setting the scene and the book was another Crystal Kite winner.

10. Dusk creeps in and day is done.
      The last few rays of stubborn sun
      Cling to the hilltop, tree and town.
      We wish that we could push it down.

Bats at the Ballgame Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
This is also a Crystal Kite winner. I picked this one up at the library for the title and read it. Great fun and proves there is still room for rhyming books. This is Brian’s tenth published book.

There will be more First Line/Paragraph posts. In the meantime, here are some link to older ones.


  1. Every one of the first paragraphs is compelling. Every one of the books listed is a must read. Thank you for taking the time and effort to compile the list. Off to the bookstore I go!

  2. I loved Denise's 'Losing Faith'. Really a great read. Looking forward to what she comes out with next!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  3. So glad you enjoyed my book--thank you so much for reading it! :)

  4. I'm so glad you wrote it. Thank you, Gayle.


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