FALLS THE SHADOW
She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.
At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.
I grab a book from the shelf and devour its first page. Some sentences wind up on my Post-It Note Wall of Great-Line Fame and some get rewritten inside my head as I read. I love them all. I am a devourer or books, and these are my confessions: FALLS THE SHADOW edition.
Best first sentence of a book I’ve ever read. Period.
I’ve read thousands of first lines, and this one set the high-water mark. I love the opening of this book so much, I use it as the golden example of first lines at my workshops:
"I took some of the flowers from my sister’s funeral, because I thought her replacement might like them as a welcome-to-the-family present."
That one sentence tells me everything I need to know about this book:
Readership: YA. She’s welcoming a sister replacement to the family, which means she probably still lives with her parents, so it’s either MG or YA. Given the funeral, I’m guessing YA.
Genre: we’re replacing a dead person with another person. This is SciFi.
Mood: this book will be creepy. We already have a dead sister, a funeral, and some flowers the main character took from that funeral, which she’s about to give someone as a “welcoming gift.” That’s messed up. And now I know I’m going to LOVE whatever else leaked out of this weirdo author’s brain.
Character building: the main character has lost her sister. She’s got to be grieving, but even so, she’s thoughtful enough to pick up some flowers for her new sister to welcome her to the family. That’s sweet–in a Wednesday Addams sort of way.
World-building: for me, the first page of this book built this SciFi world perfectly. I feel like I get it: we live in a place, where, when someone dies: no big! You go down the Huxley and pick up a replacement, an exact copy complete with memories. What could possibly go wrong?
The writing is clean and flows nicely.