Conflict, conflict, conflict.
A secret is a strange thing.
-The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge.
-Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.
-The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.
-Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
There was a boy in her room.
-Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
First the colors.
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod "the Death Shop."
-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
If I'm being totally honest, some of those first lines are way better than others.
And, I think the difference might be conflict. Or, at least the sense that you are in the middle of something that is interesting. If your dad is dying, or there are strange secrets going on, I want to know more. Not all these first lines make me want to know more. But, at the same time, these are all books I really enjoyed by the last page.
So I'm curious, what hooks you when you start a new book? How soon do you need conflict in your story?