YA Novels: Hooked in Five Sentences or Less

It’s late at night. You’ve just finished a book on your e-reader and are dying for something new to read. But how much time will you give a sample chapter to lure you in?

For me personally, I’ve found that new late-night reads need to hook me in five sentences or less, that way I can sink my teeth into them right away

I’ve chosen three excerpts from books I’ve loved that have ‘hooked me in five sentences or less‘. I’ll tell you why they appealed to me as a READERS and what we can take away as WRITERS.

From The Selection by Kiera Cass

When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever. The big hitch in her plan brilliant plan was me.

AS A READER: I’m loving the title, and the fact that there is a mysterious letter. I love mail! I also immediately like this girl.

AS A WRITER: Right away we are hearing the MC’s voice and already know of a conflict brewing.

From Between Shade of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

They took me in my nightgown. Thinking back, the signs were there — family photos burned in the fireplace, Mother sewing her best silver into the lining of her coat late at night, and Papa not returning from work.

AS A READER: I can feel that this is a historical novel that sucks you into its time and place right away. I want to know what happens to this girl.

AS A WRITER: The MC’s voice, character, and family are introduced right away. You are also informed about into a huge conflict the MC faces.



From Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


“Wait — did you — You just yawned!” The vampire’s arms, raised over his head in the Classic Dracula pose, dropped to his sides. He pulled his exaggerated white fangs back behind his lips. “What, imminent death isn’t exciting enough for you?”

AS A READER: I can’t help it. I love paranormal. And I loved this because right away I knew it was different — it was funny!

AS A WRITER: The writer takes a normal subject and brings her own twist in a humorous way, enticing readers to read more and find out what her ‘different’ is all about.

What books have you read that have hooked you in five sentences or less?

Take Three…

Ensure you do not have an unnecessary definite article (the).

“The” may be unnecessary in this sentence. Consider removing it.

The only definite article in English is “the” (“a” and “an” are indefinite). A definite article is required when referring a specific noun. If the noun is general, an indefinite article – or possibly no article – may be used. Verbs do not require articles.

Incorrect: Use the small lamp when the reading books.
The first “the” is correct because it is required to specify which lamp should be used. The second “the”, before the verb, is unnecessary and should be removed.

Correct: Use the small lamp when reading books.
Incorrect: A child is riding a bicycle; the child is wearing the helmet.
The first “the” is correct because “child” has already been mentioned; we know the writer is talking specifically about the child who is riding a bicycle. The second “the” should be replaced by an indefinite article (“a”) because we don’t know which helmet the child is wearing.

N.B.
Sometimes the article will change the meaning of the sentence. For instance, if I wrote “I need to buy a new pen for the school”, it might imply that I have broken one of the school’s pens and need to replace it. However, if I am buying it for myself to use in school, “the” should be removed from the sentence.

‘ pid=”425721″ replacements=”vampires” sentence=”Some of the vampires in the story could transform into animals.” shortdescription=’

“The” may be unnecessary in this sentence. Consider removing it.

Incorrect: Use the small lamp when the reading books.
Correct: Use the small lamp when reading books.

‘>vampires in the story could transform into animals. This inspired me to write a novel about a young shape-shifter on a quest. I called it Ravyn’s Quest. I began typing the story on my tiny Mac Classic. I actually made 3/4 of the way through the manuscript before I realized I didn’t know how the story would end. I sent my character on this treacherous journey only to realize I didn’t know what she was going to do when she got to where she was going. I always thought in the back of my mind, some day I’ll finish it.

And I did take it back out last year. I started over, from the very beginning. This time I’d make sure there were actually characters in the book and that her quest actually had a purpose to it. I thought I liked what I had, but then about 8000 words in, I got stuck. Bogged down by the research of it all. And what did I do? I put it away again. For another year!

In the mean time, I took some much needed time to educate myself at read, read, read. One very helpful book has been off the dust and read through it. I deleted the entire preface and half of the word count, so essentially I started over — AGAIN!


I’m loving it now. It’ll take plenty of encouragement, nourishment, love, and dark chocolate, but this time, I think I’ll make it to the end. I’ve found what’s most important — Ravyn’s voice. (And it sure helps that she has a supporting cast now)

What are your current works in progress?