Monday, February 24, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Below

Opening line of Below by Meg McKinlay: The day that I was born, they drowned my town.

Sucks the reader in. Totally and completely. As a writer, I know how much importance is placed on a book's opening line, but honestly, I've read some clunker first lines of some really good books. But no first line has stuck with me like this one -- because the whole book is pinned to that one, single line.

The premise: The day Cassie's town was drowned, her family was rushing to the hospital to deliver the eight-weeks-early Cassie. Twelve years later, Cassie is drawn to what's beneath the lake, the place where Old Lower Grange now lies. And during this extra-hot summer, the lake level starts dropping, and Cassie and her friend Liam start exploring on the lake's forbidden side. Sometimes they even explore below the water.

What I loved: The mystery! And the unique concept behind it (or below it). :-) The unraveling, compelling story and mystery leaves readers anxiously turning pages. Meg McKinlay grabs readers at the get-go and keeps their noses right inside this book until it ends.

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25 comments:

  1. Wow! That' a great first line. Sounds like a good story. Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. Great first line...and a great premise.

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  3. Yet another book I wanted to read while back then somehow forgot about it. Ha!
    Thanks for the reminder, Barbara.

    ~Akoss

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  4. That first line does totally suck you in. Thanks for spreading the word about this one. #sighs Just another TBR I need to read. I really need to learn to read in my sleep.

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  5. Thanks for the review! You always lead me to good books for my daughter.

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  6. First lines are tough to get just right. This one accomplished that on all fronts. I hadn't heard of BELOW – sounds like an interesting book, so it gets added to my TBR list. Thanks for your review.

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  7. Oh my gosh...this sounds so good! And you know, I think I had it on a TBR list a while ago and never got to it. Thanks for sharing it. It's a must read for me now.

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  8. Oh, sounds like a story with lots of mood, which is just what my daughter is looking for right now. I'll add it to both our reading stacks, and thanks for the heads up! Happy MMGM!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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  9. Sounds like a good one! I'm in need of some good MGs to read.

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  10. Ooo, that's intriguing. The premise reminds me a tiny bit of Nova Ren Suma's IMAGINARY GIRLS (which is a YA, so it's rather sinister and creepy). There's a town at the bottom of the reservoir in that novel.

    I'd definitely read this, if only to find out what Cassie and Liam discover when they explore! I'm off to the library later today and I will look for this one, Barbara.

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  11. That is a great first line. I loved this book. I loved the quietness of the story. When I reviewed it, I heard from the author who told me she was worried people would think it was too quiet a book, but I thought it was perfect. I'm glad to see you review it here so more people will know about it. It is one of my favorites.

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  12. awesome first line - definitely putting this on my to-read list.

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  13. Love that cover! I'm putting this on the list.

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  14. Euuuu. Spooky and lovely. My kind of story.

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  15. That's a great line! I haven't heard of this one. The premise sounds really intriguing!

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  16. I have not heard of this one before, but now it is on my radar. I can see the appeal of wanting to explore an off limits area- and the fact that it is underwater is intriguing. I love a great mystery. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  17. Love the first line. I'll have to see if my daughter wants to read this one!

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  18. Fantastic opening line, fantastic cover, fantastic premise. Triple wow.

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  19. I agree with you about the opening line! So intriguing!

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  20. Wow, you're so right about that first line. Definitely hooks you in and makes you want to read more! The book's premise sounds so unique, too. No wonder you enjoyed it!

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  21. Below sounds great! You are right, that is a great first line. I agree there is a lot of pressure on writers to get that right, but it isn't a deal breaker for me. I need a good story behind that line. Tomorrow I'm blogging about a book with Cassie as the main character. I guess that name is hot.

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  22. This has some overtones of Holes in it...just based on your review. Did you read that? It was unputdownable for me!

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  23. Wow, that sounds fascinating. I'll have to see if I can find it.

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  24. I definitely want to get this. But honestly, I am leery of first lines that try to be as "out there" as possible. It takes more than that to suck me in, b/c the book may or may not live up to that line. Perhaps I'm cranky because I returned the last bunch of books I got to the library without finishing them. :(

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  25. that cover alone is compelling but the concept is too. I have to agree with some other commenters though about the first line. Sometimes a great first line ends up being a let down. Sounds like not in this case though, fortunately! Good first lines are like a bonus, in my opinion. Now, good first pages... if that's lacking, that's a problem!

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