Mysterious first lines – mystery solved!

 The most were guessed by Jadelennox, with nineteen correct answers (who still comes out ahead even not including the first lines she used in her own version of this meme), Lauralee with ten, Sara got eight, Zulu has six, TheLastGoodName got four, and Dine and Jaimie nailed three. You are all awesome and got thirty-one out of the fifty lines posted!

And here are the answers…

1. Gwyn’s grandmother gave him five gifts for his birthday, his ninth birthday. They were very unusual gifts, and if Gwyn had not been the sort of boy he was, he would have been disappointed. The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo. No guesses! One of my favourite kids’ fantasy books, liberally underlaid with Welsh mythology, and the first book of the trilogy that continues in Emlyn’s Moon (aka Orchard of the Crescent Moon) and The Chestnut Solider.

2. Claudia knew she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler by E.L. Konigsburg Two guesses!

3. The note said: SOMEONE IN THIS CLASS IS A WITCH. Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones Three guesses!

4. When Portia Blake and her brother set out for Creston, it was different from all the other summers. Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright One guess!

5. Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play Town. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh One guess, and one almost. 🙂

6. I saw him for the first time at the funeral. He was standing next to my elder brother John, and they both had closed, clenched jaws and angry eyes. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle No guesses! This is perhaps not a good representative first line, but this is my favourite lesser-known L’engle book.

7. “Great scott!” cried Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut. “Your mother just lost her hand in the rotating band saw!” The Clue in the Linoleum Lederhosen by M.T. Anderson No guesses! Sequel to Whales on Stilts.

8. The summer between fifth and sixth grades, something happens to your mind. With me, the box of Crayolas did it–thirty-two colors including copper and burgundy. The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor No guesses!

9. Anastasia was ten. She had hair the color of Hubbard squash, fourteen freckles across her nose (and seven others she preferred people not to know about), and glasses with large owl-eyed rims, which she had chosen herself at the optician’s. Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry One guess!

10. When Saffron was eight, and had learned to read, she hunted slowly through the colour chart pinned up on the kitchen wall. Saffy’s Angel by Hilary Mckay No guesses!

11. Zoom was knitting something warm. Zoom at Sea by Time Wynne Jones.One guess!

12. Linderwall was a large kingdom, just east of the Mountains of Morning, where philosophers were highly respected and the number five was fashionable. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Two guesses!

13. “Too many!” shouted James, and slammed the door behind him. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. One guess!

14. Mrs Lynde lives just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Four guesses! (And one almost.)

15. David often wondered about how he happened to be sitting there on the stair landing, within arm’s reach of the headless cupid, at the very moment his stepmother left Westerly House to bring Amanda home. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Two guesses!

16. That morning, the old witch Abagtha had set out to gather mushrooms, the silvery, fragile kind that spring up in the night and are gone by the time the sun is very high. The Spellkey by Ann Downer. No guesses! (This is the best fantasy series that no-one’s ever heard of. The second and third books of the trilogy are The Glass Salamander and The Book of the Keepers, although all three have also been published in an omnibus also called The Spellkey.)

17. It was a cold wet afternoon in October when Rose Larkin came to live in the house at Hawthorn Bay. The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn. No guesses!

18. “Hi. I’m the bus driver. Listen, I’ve got to leave for a little while, so can you watch things for me until I get back?” Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Two guesses!

19. The big hand of the clock is at 12. The little hand is at 7. It is seven o’clock. It is bedtime for Frances. Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban. One guess!

20. When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett. Three guesses!

21. The year Janet started at Blackstock College, the Office of Residential Life had spent the summer removing from all the dormitories the old wooden bookcases that, once filled with books, fell over unless wedged. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Two guesses!

22. Farris Nallaneen arrived at the gates of Greenlaw on the same day winter did. A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer. One guess!

23. Me and my friends Myrtle and Annie went to the bulletin board
Where the office puts up notes
if they’re approved by the school:
So-and-so wants a housecleaner or a painter
or somebody wants to babysit or be a janitor’s assistant.
Make Lemonade
by Virginia Frances Euwer. One guess!

24. I am a Dangerous Woman in a Dangerous Dress. The View from a Kite by Maureen Hull. No guesses!

25. So here I am, not a half-hour old as a tie salesman and trying to look like I know what I’m doing, which have got to be two of the biggest jokes of all time, when who should walk into Awkworth & Ames Department store but Skeezie Tooks. The Misfits by James Howe. No guesses!

26. He saw the first tree shudder and fall, far off in the distance. Then he heard his mother call out the kitchen window: “Luke! Inside. Now.” Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. No guesses!

27. The doll’s name was Jessie. Not Jessica which was elegant, or Jessmine which was splendid, or even Jess which had a certain dignity, but Jessie. The Doll by Cora Taylor. One guess!

28. I tell you, the world is so full of ghosts, a person wonders if there’s a soul to be found on the Other Side. Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Newton Peck. No guesses!

29. “Koly, you are thirteen and growing every day,” Maa said to me. “It’s time for you to have a husband.” Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. No guesses!

30. When I was young, if there was one thing I wanted in the world, it was to be invisible. Tamsin by Peter Beagle. No guesses!

31. The twin moons cast shadows like blood scores across the sand. Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen. One guess!

32. Wren stared at Tess in amazement. “You’re a what?” Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith. One guess!

33. The little town of Yellowtooth in the frozen north celebrates the New Year with a Blueberry Muffin Festival. Irving and Muktuk: Two Bad Bears by Daniel Pinkwater. No guesses!

34. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. Holes by Louis Sachar. Two guesses!

35. “Where’s Pa going with that ax?” Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Two guesses!

36. I didn’t know how long I had been in the king’s prison. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. One guess!

37. Although the label on the hair shampoo said Paris and had a picture of a beautiful girl with the Eiffel Tower behind her bare shoulder, it was forced to tell the truth in tiny print above the picture. The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. One guess!

38. When Elizabeth was a beautiful princess, she lived in a castle and had expensive princess clothes. The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. Two guesses! (‘m surprised more people didn’t get this one…)

39. A little boy was sitting in the corner of a railway carriage looking out of the rain, which was flashing against the windows and watching downward in an ugly, dirty way. The Children of Greene Knowe by Lucy Boston. One guess!

40. Lewis Barnavelt fidgeted and wiped his sweaty palms on the seat of the bus that was roaring toward New Zebedee. The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs. One guess!

41. Part of the problem, Nita thought to herself as she tore desperately down Rose Avenue, is that I can’t keep my mouth shut. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Two guesses!

42. It was a dark and stormy night. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Two guesses!

43. Blue eyes wide, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren watched her near-empty oil lamp. Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce. Three guesses!

44. Min Randall sat on the bench next to the Royal Bank parking lot and wondered how much longer Enid Bangs, her foster mother, would spend in the bank. Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little. No guesses–for the curious, this is the one I finished right before posting this list. I have a plethora of good kids CanLit right now–like this one, a new Christopher Paul Curtis, and a new Kit Pearson.

45. The King killed my canary today. Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl. No guesses!

46. She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. One guess!

47. Amos was old. Amos’s Sweater by Janet Lunn. One guess!

48. Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain. Many years later, Meggie only had to close her eyes and she could still hear it, like tiny fingers tapping on the windowpane. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. No guesses!

49. Dear Ms Clarry, it has come to our attention that you are incredibly bad at being a teenager. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty. No guesses!

50. It starts with this faint sound that pulls me out of sleep: a sort of calliope music played on an ensemble of toy instruments. The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint. No guesses!


2 responses to “Mysterious first lines – mystery solved!

  1. Ooh, go me! I am in awe of Jadelennox, though. 🙂

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Newsagent

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