Friday, July 16, 2010

Fabulous first lines

First lines, as any reader knows, are important -- they draw you in and make you want to read more, or leave you cold and uninterested in turning the page. Here are some books with great first lines -- look for them using the Amazon / World Catalog boxes here on BookBag!

True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex (Hyperion) Humorous Science Fiction. "ASSIGNMENT: Write an essay titled The True Meaning of Smekday." What, you may wonder, is "Smekday?" It's a holiday that commemorates the alien Boov's conquest of Earth, but the story that 12-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci has to tell starts before the invasion, when the Boov abducted her mother. Now, King Smek of the Boov is forcing all Americans to move to Florida, and Tip is on her way there to find and rescue her mom when a renegade Boov named J. Lo joins her. J. Lo is in trouble and on the run because he revealed Earth's location to another alien race, the Gorg. Can Tip and J. Lo save Tip's mom--and the entire planet? Fasten your seat belt and get ready for some wacky adventure and pun-tastic humor!

The Monsters of Morley Manor, by Bruce Coville (Magic Carpet Books/Harcourt)Fiction. "If Sarah hadn't put the monkey in the bathtub, we might never have had to help the monsters get big." With an opening line like this, you know that you're in for a wild ride--and this part-horror, part-science-fiction, part-fantasy adventure is exactly that. Anthony and his little sister Sarah bought a box of small brass figurines when the new owner of creepy Morley Manor held a garage sale...but little did they know that water would bring the figures (a vampire, a werewolf, and a snake-haired siren) to life. Nor could they possibly expect that they'd be fighting alongside their monsters against alien frogs, evil twins, ghosts, and beings with soul-sucking guns. If you don't mind things getting a bit ridiculous, you'll have a blast reading this weird and wacky tale.

Antsy Does Time, by Neal Shusterman (Dutton) Fiction. "It was all my idea. The stupid ones usually are." In this sequel to The Schwa Was Here, 14-year-old Antsy Bonano and his pals are heading to Manhattan to witness a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade disaster-in-progress (involving a huge raccoon balloon) when they run into their classmate Gunnar √úmlaut. After Gunnar tells Antsy that he has only six months to live, Antsy promptly draws up a legal-looking document and deeds one month of his own life to Gunnar. Soon others are following suit, and the momentum of Antsy's gesture spins completely out of control. This clever, funny, and moving story has fantastic characters and surprising plot twists that fans of the first book will love.

Jolted: Newton Starker's Rules for Survival, by Arthur G. Slade (Wendy Lamb Books) Fiction. "Newton Starker knew he would most likely die from a lightning strike." How did Newton know this? Because for many centuries, nearly every member of his mother's family has been killed by lightning, making him a very nervous 14-year-old who's unusually preoccupied with the weather. Determined to beat the odds, Newton enrolls in the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival, where the curriculum includes courses designed to help students "stare down disaster." Clever, funny, and featuring not only a brainy, truffle-hunting pig but also recipes (Newton is a budding chef) and tips from the Jerry Potts survival handbook, Jolted will be a hit with fans of boarding-school adventures and odd characters.

Sisters of the Sword, by Maya Snow (HarperCollins) Historical Fiction. As daughters of the feudal Lord of the Kai Province in 1216 Japan, sisters Kimi and Hana are well-trained in dancing, tea ceremonies, calligraphy...and the martial arts. And, as the opening line "I have become invisible" reveals, Kimi has developed skills worthy of a samurai. Little does she know how much she'll need them--until a vile and brutal betrayal robs the sisters of their home and family and forces them to take refuge in a local dojo, disguised as boys. This bloody, suspenseful, and action-packed story about family honor, treachery, and revenge is the first volume in a gripping series that fans of girl heroes will savor.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee (Arthur A. Levine Books) Fiction. "I have been accused of being anal retentive, an over-achiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things." Technically, Millicent Min (who opens this book with the previous line) is a genius--and she's the only 11-year-old attending her high school. While her brains impress adults, they don't exactly skyrocket Millie to popularity. So, when she has a chance to make friends with volleyball teammate Emily, Millie goes to great lengths to pretend that she's just an ordinary kid. This funny, feel-good story has wonderful characters and will ring true for anyone who's ever struggled to fit in -- even non-geniuses.

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