Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Answers To First Lines from Cybil Finalists

by Susan Berger

These are the First Lines from the 2012 Cybil Finalists with links to the books.

Five of these of the books also made the Ala List.

Some of my links are Amazon. A few are Goodreads. I am beginning to like the Goodreads links becasue they lead to other sources for the books. Including libraries. I hope you enjoy finding out who wrote these lines and I hope some will make it to your reading list.
1. On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys, Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.


ExtraYarn by Mac Barnette. Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Extra Yarn is a also Caldecott Honors Book for 2012

2.    Prologue: May 22, 1950
HE HAD A FEW MORE MINUTES to destroy seventeen years of evidence, Still in pajamas, Harry Gold raced around his cluttered bedroom, pulling out desk drawers, tossing boxes out of the closet, and yanking books from the shelves. He was horrified. Everywhere he looked were incriminating papers-a plane ticket stub, a secret report, a letter from a fellow spy.

Bomb  The Race to build and steal the world’s most DangerousWeapon by Steve Sheinkin

Bomb won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children, ,Newbery Honor and YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:  This one I have to read.

3. At least look at the picture!” Flora’s dad begged. “Don’t you want to know what to expect?” He pushed the glossy brochure across the table. It had a photo on the cover of a large white house on a very green lawn, and the words “Penrice Hall-Individual Fulfillment in a Homelike Atmosphere.”

Beswitched  by Kate Saunders

4. It was his own grandmother who fed Henri Pierre to the Cabinet of Earths, long ago when he was only four. Don’t misunderstand! It happened like this.

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet.

5. When an Irish lad named Frank Browne was seventeen, his uncle Robert gave him a camera. Frank fell in love with photography and before long he was snapping that shutter everywhere he went.

Titanic :Voices from The Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

Titanic was a finalist for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children, and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

6. MR. BENNETT WALKED into room 212 carrying a plastic bag. He smoothed his sweatshirt that read DEATH TO STEREOTYPES, tucked Claus his rubber chicken under his arm, raised one eyebrow, and jumped on his desk. He opened the bag, lifted a loaf of bread into the air and shouted, “Sell it to me.”

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

7. I AM A COWARD. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl the let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. After the ridiculous deal I made with SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden, I know I am a coward. And I'm going to give you anything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely every last detail.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

8. ONE WEEK BEFORE OUR SENIOR YEAR of high school begins, Erin's wearing her basketball practice jersey and I can see her black sports bra through the armhole, which is sort of sexy, at least to me.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

9.    I wake up.

Immediately I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body-opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

Every Day By David Levithan

10. “I’m going to whack a duck,” said Bink 

Bink and Gollie, Two for One By Kate diCamillo and Allison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

For me, that's a great first line. I want to read this one.


  1. Awesome to see first lines and focus on them. You can really see what works. They are so tricky to get right in our own writing. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Great post! I love the selection of books and am so glad I visited.

    1. We are always glad to see you, Nancy.
      The Management.

  3. Susan these were great. Thanks for sharing them. I did enjoy #10. Some days I do fell like whacking something, but probably not a duck, LOL.

    1. I used to play a game at Chuck E Cheese where you whacked frogs, but never a duck. Thanks for commenting, Susan.

  4. The dreaded first liners!!! Got to get that hook. :0)
    Thanks for the great examples.

    1. Glad you liked them. Thanks for stopping by, Tracey.

    2. Glad you like them. I love looking for the good hooks. Thanks for stopping by, Tracey.

  5. Absolutely agree. I love reading and analysing first lines. This is a great look at the awards book. Thanks!

  6. I agree, the Bink and Gollie line is great. And that David Levithan...he knows what he's doing. :)

    1. Yeah, he does, Kathy, and so do you. Can't wait to read your next book.

  7. I always love reading first lines. This is so nice.! Fun to read ...thanks guys.

  8. I always love reading this. It's so nice and fun to read. Thanks a bunch!

    1. Thanks, Catherine. We love you.
      The management/


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