This fascinating meme, hosted by “Hoarding Books” asks readers to simply copy the first line or lines of a book, then ask their readers to state whether they would choose/buy that book based on its first line.

Here is my Friday Firstliner from John Ortberg’s YA version of ME, the me I want to be:

After asking the typically-teen question, “Why did God make me?”, Ortberg opens with,

“One week it was all the rage on Facebook to replace your profile picture with the photo of a celebrity who could be your double…I noticed a lot of people chose extremely attractive celebrities for them[selves] and claimed people say they look just like them. I wondered if some of those people might need contact lenses.”

Ortberg’s humor and self-depreciation is a delight to read.  Next to Max Lucado, Ortberg is my favorite inspirational author.



It is not unusual for neighbors to place books they’ve read in my Little Free Library. Interestingly, some books are lovingly worn from re-reading, some are books assigned for the current semester at the local schools, and some are obviously the products of someone’s attempts to clean out clutter or downsize. The other day, some wonderful, anonymous neighbor (I have my suspicions as to who you are.) donated three brand-spanking-new copies of Gordon Kramer’s ReStart. I vaguely remember a car stopping to chat mentioning Kramer, a YA author, whom I registered a “mental memo” about to “get with it” and look for at Half Price Books, but the person in the car evidently bought three copies of this wonderful book first before I could act on it. (Obviously, I am guessing as to who did this good deed.)

The book was the best YA novel I have read this year. It was so good that I put a crease in the paperback cover because I kept holding it up while reclining on my back, not wanting to turn out the light and sleep! The subtitle is, “Lose your memory…find your life.” Fourteen-year-old Chase “comes to” in a hospital to discover that he doesn’t know anything–anything! The doctors tell him he fell off a roof, and he meets people he doesn’t remember, his mother, father, brother, and two big football players who inform him they are his best friends. When Chase returns to eighth grade, “Some kids treat him as a hero; some kids are clearly afraid of him.” Who is Chase? His attempts to find out and what he does find out about the kind of person he was is a zany, funny, read with plenty of “mysteries,” complications, puzzles, and many revelations.

ReStart talks to teens directly, yet never lectures or preaches. I am sure kids will enjoy the book as much as I did.