Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan WilliamsToday we’ll be looking at Bull Rider by award-winning author Suzanne Morgan Williams. Bull Rider has received multiple awards and deservedly so.

Let’s look at what Suzy does to hook us on the first page.

The Page

Chapter One
Folks in Salt Lick say I couldn’t shake bull riding if I tried. It’s in my blood, my family. Around here, any guy named Cam O’Mara should be a bull rider. But if you’ve ever looked a sixteen-hundred-pound bucking bull named Ugly in the eye and thought about holding on to his back with a stiff rawhide handle, some pine tar, and a prayer, well, you’d know why I favored skateboarding. My grandpa Roy, my dad, my brother, Ben, they could all go as crazy as they liked, sticking eight seconds on a bull for the adrenaline rush and maybe a silver buckle. But me, I’d take my falls on the asphalt. I’d master something that I could roll under my bed when I was done with it. Or so I thought.

It was June and my big brother, Ben, was home on leave from the Marines. He started in on me about the skateboarding. “Cam, I’m gonna break that thing and then you’ll have time for something really extreme.”

Why It Works

This opening introduces us to Cam O’Mara, who is completely engaging:

It’s in my blood, my family. Around here, any guy named Cam O’Mara should be a bull rider. But if you’ve ever looked a sixteen-hundred-pound bucking bull named Ugly in the eye and thought about holding on to his back with a stiff rawhide handle, some pine tar, and a prayer, well, you’d know why I favored skateboarding.

How can we not love Cam and relate to him? My mom was a dancer so we were all put in ballet at an early age, something I was not good at and did not like. I can relate to Cam and his desire to go his own way and I’m sure a lot of readers would too.

And the last line shows us the kind of pressure his under from his brother, and possibly the rest of his family:

“Cam, I’m gonna break that thing and then you’ll have time for something really extreme.”

Wow. That’s serious and I’m pulled in by what Cam will do, how he will react with this kind of pressure coming at him. I also wonder what his relationship is with his family. Do they feel the same way as Ben about Cam’s lack of interest in bull riding?

Suzy has masterfully crafted a character we connect with and care about in the first couple of paragraphs. We’re ready to go along for the ride, even if it means we may be getting on a bull at some point!

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