But how important are these things to actual readers?
Of course the first chapter would be important, since a boring first chapter would get you nowhere. And the first five pages should probably include something more than aimless dialogue or incessant exposition and back-story. But what about the first page? Or the first paragraph? Or, especially, the first sentence?
Usually, in my experience, by the time a reader opens a book to read the first page or two, they know at least a bit about the novel either from a friend, a magazine/newspaper article, a poster, the back of the book, or whatever. While the reader might put the book down if it just isn't for them, I question whether a first sentence, paragraph, or page will sway someone one way or another given what they already know about the book.
So I wanted to ask YAYA readers and contributors: Do you ever put a book down after reading the first sentence? The first paragraph? The first page?
I definitely understand putting a book down when the actual writing style doesn't mesh with your personal likes, but that would be true regardless of what the author put in that first page. Does the actual content ever sway your decision?
I took a look at the limited number of young adult books I have on my desk next to me and decided to write down some first sentences. Would you keep reading?
1. The day begins in the middle of the night.
Which of these sentences make you want to keep reading? Any of them? All of them? None of them?
Can you identify any of the books these came from? (Answers will come next week. I'll be surprised if anyone gets these(without using Google!), as the books are an eclectic mix spanning the last several years.)
One last question: Do you have any favorite first lines?