Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.


The TTT topics have been incredibly difficult for me for the last month or so, and this one is no exception.  It’s really hard for me to pick out books with beginnings and endings that I just L-O-V-E-D.  But, I did the best I could here.  I’m trying not to just quote the opening or closing lines, because that’s not always what I thought was so spectacular.

In no particular order . . .

Best Beginnings

pride and prejudiceHarry Potterwondersun and moonrebecca-coverone for the moneymatilda pink

1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The first paragraph of P&P is perfection.  It’s showcases Austen’s wonderful sense of humor, sets up the type of story P&P will be, and sets the tone for the novel.  Check it out:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.  However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

2.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
That first chapter was pure perfection.  Beginning with a normal, everyday family, and ending with Harry being left on their doorstep.  What’s not to love.  I mean, it’s the Boy Who Lived!

3.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I just love the opening chapters of Wonder.  One of my favorite bits from this book occurs in the first chapter.  Auggie explains:
“My name is August, by the way.  I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”
And then, a few pages later, Auggie tells the story of his birth, and you guys, it’s so funny.  I mentioned it to kids while I was doing school visits this June, and they loved it.  So do I.

4. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
The beginning really sets the feeling for the story.  It’s very fairytale-esque.  I love the language JDG uses.

5.  Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

6.  One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
“There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever.  Joseph Morelli did this to me-not forever, but periodically.”
I can still remember how I felt after reading that first line more than ten years ago.  And then to follow that line with what Stephanie did to Joe with her car.  Hilarious!  And a perfect set up for the rest of the book.

7.  Matilda by Roald Dahl
“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
That whole first chapter is like the sentence above.  And then, we meet Matilda, who is so unloved by her parents.  It’s the perfect set up, really.

Best Endings

Code Name Verityscarlet meyerharry potter 7

1.  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This is such an emotional read.  The ending was perfect, and definitely had be all weepy.

2.  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I just thought the ending was awesome.  I loved Cinder’s determination – and oh my gosh, I want Cress so badly!

3.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I can’t imagine this series ending any other way.  I know some people didn’t love the epilogue, but I thought it was perfect.  It made it a little bit easier to say goodbye.


Well, what do you think?  Do you agree with me?  Disagree?  And what are your favorite book beginnings and endings?

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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31 Responses to Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books

  1. I almost added that opening to Rebecca but then opted for another title xD But it’s such a fantastic opening, really draws you into the story 🙂 Great list!

    My TTT

  2. Merin says:

    I immensely disliked the epilogue. But the last line was a good one, I’ll admit. And I agree about Scarlet. That had a fabulous ending to it.

    My TTT post 🙂

  3. Rory says:

    #5 and #7, yes. I love the opening of Rebecca, it’s one of the most haunting and memorable lines I can think of, even if I didn’t include it on my list.

  4. The beginning of One for the Money was so funny, and the ending of Scarlet was so cool and exciting (though the Cinder ending made my list). I’m really excited for Cress! 🙂 My TTT list:

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  5. Rebecca says:

    Matilda was amazing right from the start. It’s been a long time since I first read it, but I’ll always love it. Scarlet was an awesome sequel to Cinder; I can’t wait to see what Meyer has planned for Cress. Thanks for sharing!

  6. nikihawkes says:

    I’m on board with both of your thoughts of Harry Potter – perfect beginning and perfect ending. I really liked seeing where everybody’s lives went. It felt complete. I also appreciate all the other opening lines you included – they really were great ones (I’ve read several of them).

  7. ChrissiReads says:

    I agree with you about Wonder and Rebecca. Amazing!! 🙂

  8. Finally someone else who enjoyed the epilogue to Harry Potter! I’ve seen it on the ‘worst’ list a few times so far…:(

  9. emziixgx says:

    I’ve not read Matilda, jut seen the film but I love that beginning 🙂

  10. Great list! Loved the beginning and ending of HP too 🙂 I’ve seen Code Name Verity a few times today, I really should read it!

    My Top Ten @ Eveline’s Books

  11. Great list! We have a few in common actually. I’ve heard great things about Wonder an Verity, I have to read them both 🙂

    Reading with ABC

  12. Harry Potter of course. That is where it all begins 😀


  13. Daphne says:

    how could I not include One for the Money?! I love that series. HP is pretty great, too, beginning to end. I can forgive JK for the somewhat fanfiction-esque epilogue, though. Stephenie Meyer did a whole fanfiction-esque book, so… 🙂

  14. Liesel Hill says:

    Great list. I forgot about the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, but totally agree! I put a HP book on my list, but it wasn’t the same ones as you. I agree, though, that the series ended perfectly and I, too, loved the epilogue. Cried harder reading that then the chapter before it! 😀

    My TTT

  15. I loved the epilogue of Harry Potter in the book — NOT in the movie. I put it on my list as well 🙂

  16. Thank you for putting it into words! The epilogue of DH was a final goodbye, a few extra pages to let go.

  17. I think I’m the only book nerd who hasn’t read Matilda. I love the beginning, though! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  18. Ashling says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t include Rebecca in my list. I love that book and its opening. I’ve never read Wonder but that opening sounds amazing. And I agree – the endings of HP7 and Scarlet are amazing. Loved them!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

  19. I’ve been considering reading Wonder even though I don’t really read MG. But that cover is so great!

    I’m glad you liked Code Name Verity. I hope to read these soon.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

  20. Michelle says:

    I love that beginning of Matilda! It’s one of my fav. books EVER and I wish I would’ve remembered it for my list this week 😦 I was personally not a fan of the epilogue of HP. I kind of just wish she would have left the ending without it and let us just imagine what would have happened.

  21. Great list- the first line of Rebecca is totally chill inducing. Both the Harry Potters on the list are great- I love the Boy who Lived!!

  22. Completely agree with your choices for Best Endings. HP especially has the most perfect ending possible 🙂

  23. Word, I totally agree about Code Name Verity which throws down the gauntlet for all other books and their endings.

    AND OMG REBECCA. Perfect first line is perfect.

  24. Oh yes, I forgot all about Rebecca’s opening line and it is all boom. Yes to Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter opening lines.

  25. caitlinstern says:

    Matilda and P & P made my list. I forgot the awkward and hilarious glory that is Stephanie Plum, but there are a lot of great openers in that series–and the end lines usually make me want to read the next book. Right. Now. 🙂

  26. acps927 says:

    Rebecca is on my last too; such a great opening!

  27. Lisa says:

    Great choices! Obviously, I agree about Harry Potter! And I need to re-read Rebecca. Such a great beginning. Code Name Verity just killed me — what a beautiful, tragic book.

  28. I loved the beginning of P&P and the ending of HP too. I really want to read Code Name Verity after hearing how much you loved it. And yes for Rebecca and Scarlet!

  29. Thanks for stopping by my TTT! Code Name Verity, Scarlet and One for the Money are high on my TBR list. Great list!!

  30. Melinda says:

    Love the Rebecca opening line too!

  31. I think P&P has one of the all time best openings..and I also love Rebecca!

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