First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book
HELL IS NOT BRIMSTONE AND SCORCHED FLESH; HELL IS BEING A HIGH school freshman for the second time. Hordes of cocky, confident upperclassmen swarm through the hallway behind me on their way to the cafeteria, jostling my backpack or my shoulder like I’m nothing. Because I am nothing to them. Just a freshman. An insignificant particle who can’t get her locker open fast enough to move out of the way of the lunchtime rush.
I yank at my lock once, twice, three times, before it finally clicks apart and I can swing open the forest-green metal door to use as a shield. In Legends of the Stone, I don’t bother using a shield, since enemies never get close enough for me to need one. But I need one here. I hide behind it, finally safe from the wandering elbows and careless shoulders, as I slide off my backpack and start to line up my textbooks on the top shelf.
I’ve made it to Friday, but Friday’s not over yet. I count my breaths as I try to block out all the chatter behind me.
One mathematics . . . two science . . . three Ancient Civilizations . . .
Being a noob freshman again would be easier if it was because I had failed all my courses. That would mean it was my own idiotic fault. But I’m not a freshman again because I failed. I’m a freshman again because Alberta and Ontario hate each other. Which is worse than if I had failed, because it’s so entirely out of my control.
“High school should start in grade nine,” says Ontario.
“No way, loser, it should start in grade ten,” says Alberta, for no reason other than to be spiteful.
And who suffers as a result? Innocent students like me, dragged through the crossfire by my parents, who thought it was a brilliant idea to move from Ontario to Alberta just before my grade ten year.
My English text drops into my backpack with a loud thud, and I hold my breath, hoping the noise doesn’t draw anyone’s attention. But the throng behind me is already thinning, and I’m still a nothing, thank goodness. I let my breath out slowly. Grab my other textbooks and my lunch and slide them more carefully into my bag.