First Pages: Gift Ideas

First Pages: Gift Ideas

Last year I posted a 12 Must-Have Picture Books for the 12 Days of Christmas.  The list contains  some classics and some newer ones, but they are all picture book 'must-haves' for any young bibliophile (or older ones too).  My friend suggested that I make a list for older kids that other people could reference for great gifts for different age groups. 

Well,  I don't feel exactly qualified to do so.  Why?  Because while I have read thousands of picture books, I am not as well read in early chapter books, middle grade books, or YA books.  So I may curate a list with some input from some other knowledgeable friends, but in the meantime, I thought I'd place all my First Lines novels in one place along with book summaries in case you might want to gift one to a friend or family member this holiday season.

My original intent was to post a First Lines novel every day during the month of November in honor of NaNo.  Well, then I got sidetracked by my own writing and was doing too many things at once.  So what started out as daily posts dwindled, but I got 3000 words written.  Then, The Hunger Games happened.  Well, it didn't really happen (thank goodness!), but while I had been good at resisting reading or re-reading the novels I was dissecting for the First Lines/First Pages posts, I got sucked into The Hunger Games and didn't finish until I finished Mockingjay.  There went my good intentions of writing and working on the blog! 

(Actually NaNo has been more difficult in recent years now that I work more hours because I can't write unless I ignore my kids and my household responsibilities and my blog 'responsibilities'.  So I chose to spend time with my family, along with doing errands and cooking and cleaning rather than writing.)

I enjoyed our First Lines dissections so much that I decided to make it a regular first of the month feature. 

This month will feature the books we've talked about so far, complete with summaries with affiliate links to Amazon (or you can click here for the posts):

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"I'd never given much thought to how I would die--though I'd had reason enough in the last few months--but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this." ~ Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Summary: Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you would expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."    ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Summary: Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.



"I've read many more books than you. It doesn't matter how many you've read. I've read more. Believe me. I've had the time."                ~ Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Summary: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

"XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus." ~ Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we're 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I'm not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.


"The big question is: Is Origami Yoda real?

Well, of course he's real.  I mean he's a real finger paper made out of a real piece of paper." ~ The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Summary: Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, Tommy assembles this first case file in the blockbuster bestselling Origami Yoda series, hailed bySchool Library Journal as “honest, funny, and immensely entertaining.”


"Garrison Griswold whistled his way down Market Street, silver hair bobbing atop his head like a pigeon wing.  He tapped his trademark walking stick, striped in Bayside Press colors, to the beat of his tune." ~ Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Summary: For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold's new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.


"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.  My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother.  Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping." ~ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.




"Far away from here, following the Jade River, there was once a black mountain that cut into the sky like a jagged piece of rough metal.  The villagers called it Fruitless Mountain because nothing grew on it and birds and animals did not rest there." ~ Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Summary: In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.


"Sophie had waited all her life to be kidnapped.  But tonight, all the other children of Gavaldon writhed in their beds.  If the School Master took them, they'd never return." ~ The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Summary: With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.

But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?


"Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that's true." ~ If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Summary: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.






"'Finders Keepers! Hee Hee!'

'Grabbing my notebook out of my hands isn't finders keepers. Zita?'

'This wasn't here yesterday."

'It looks like a meteoroid.'" ~ Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Summary: Zita's life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don't even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita's quest.


"Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death." ~ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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