Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Contest!

Ok, readers, it's time to test how much you REALLY know about kid lit.

I've been struggling with rewriting the opening to my middle-grade fantasy novel because, well... ok, I might as well admit it: I'm reading an ARC of INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher, and the chapter that introduces Claudia, the daughter of the warden, describes her up in an oak tree, surveying her father's estate. And, darn it all, that's exactly how my novel started...

So, needless to say, I have to rewrite the first chapter. One recent day at work, I spent a few wonderful minutes poring over opening lines of several YA and MG novels for inspiration. And the thought occurred to me that this would make a great contest.

Guess the titles of these books. One chance per person per day.

I couldn't use anything obvious. I mean, the first line of ARTEMIS FOWL is "How does one describe Artemis Fowl?" Heh heh. So, naturally, that's not included. And you'd be amazed how few novels from 10 or 20 years ago start with a grabber of an opening line. Shows how much publishing has changed.

Oh, you wanna know the prize, eh? Sheesh. Well, I just happen to have a few ARCs lying around. So here it is: The FIRST person who correctly guesses all of these opening lines, will win ARCs of LINGER, by Maggie Stiefvater, LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor, NUMBERS by Rachel Ward, and FINALLY by Wendy Mass.

The one restriction I will impose on you is: PLEASE, no using Amazon. I work for an indie bookstore, for pete's sake. Try to figure it out yourself. Spend some time in your local library or independent bookstore (ok, ok, the chains if you must), browsing away. You know you go there anyway.

Remember, all of these are currently in print, either middle grade or young adult novels. I take full responsibility for any mistakes I might have made in transcribing these opening lines.

Ready? So, here goes:

1) There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

2) There were only two kinds of people in our town.

3) Sophie couldn't sleep.

4) Everyone thinks it was because of the snow.

5) The day after my mother died, the priest and I wrapped her body in a gray shroud and carried her to the village church.

6) The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World.

7) If you asked the kids and teachers at Lincoln Elementary School to make three lists -- all the really bad kids, all the really smart kids, and all the really good kids -- Nick Allen would not be on any of them.

8) My mother used to tell me about the ocean.

9) I have been accused of being anal retentive, an overachiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things.

10) Killing him should be easy; he's only six.

Good luck!


  1. OMG YOU have arcs of Linger lying around and you didn't tell me!! AAAAHHH! Ok I'm entering!!! Here I go!

    1.The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
    2. Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
    3. The BFG, Roald Dahl
    4.If I Stay, Gayle Forman
    5. Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Avi
    6.Going Bovine, Libba Bray
    7. Frindle, Andrew Clements
    8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan
    9. Milicent Min, Girl Genius
    10. Devil's Kiss, Sarwat Chadda

    Hehehe I barely had to look anything up:-) Also would love to know how you like Incarceron, that's been on my list:-)

  2. Ooops forgot to write Lisa Yee after 9---man I LOVE that book!

  3. Frankie, you are AMAZING! Of course, you got them all right. Wow. I guess I didn't make it tough enough. Hmm... Note to self: make next contest really hard.

    Congrats. You win the ARCS. Just as soon as I finish reading LINGER, heh heh.

    I know your address. Can you be patient and give me a couple of days? Thanks.

  4. LOL sure!!! SQUEEE!!! Sorry, you know Im a book a holic and totally obsessed with opening lines. Now I want to reread If I Stay...


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