I believe the first line to any story is crucial to the success of the book. That initial sentence will hook most readers. Sometimes a whole story comes to me after I've written the first line. The following are first sentences from my own stories, some published, some not. (But I thought I'd share.)
Howard was the last man to lay up on my bed under the blue patchwork quilt. (The Evidence of Things Unseen - unpublished)
Had I known my mother was going to leave me the day after I was born, I would’ve fought to stay inside her a while longer. (Cry: Southern Fried Women)
Peggy picked at the dirt between her toes and glimpsed up from time to time to watch a string of drool slide down Earl’s chin and land on his bright red satin tie. (Old Time Religion: Southern Fried Women)
I gaze up at the sky and wonder if it’s rain or pee from Victoria’s diaper that’s dripped on my leg. (Vernell Paskins-Mobile Home Queen: Southern Fried Women)
When I was ten, Mom gave up and spread us out among family members. (Macel and Annel - unpublished)
"You're ugly as sin, Stella. You stink like a dead cow, too." (Atlanta's Stories - unpublished)
"If I had heard you sing like that when we were little girls, I wouldn’t have wasted all those years thinking you were dumb as dirt." (Half Slip - unpublished)
In all of Andie’s youth, never had there been a time when she was more ripe and ready for love than the summer of her fourteenth birthday. (Televenge- unpublished)
Your mind can take over from here ... or you can read the story. My point is, I love first lines ... they, along with the last line, are the jewelry of the book. The earrings on the story. The cherry and the last slurp of chocolate of a sundae. They reel us in, then soften our landing. I never know when a first line will hit me. But when it does, I'm lost in time until the characters appear in my head. Then my morning is gone, the hours fly by, my day is shot.
Often, a first line will change once the story is in progress. I read other books and wonder how they came up with that first sentence. Or, why did they write that as their first sentence? Some authors pay little attention to it, while others (you can tell) have labored over it.
Open your favorite books, read the first lines again. Enjoy!
Blessings to you and yours.