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You're at the beginning of 2,000 pages of reading (if you count the entire series, of course). So take a deep breath and get comfortable.
To start us off, the narrator sets the scene of the novel: we're in Gatlin, South Carolina, the "middle of nowhere" in the chapter title, which is populated by two kinds of people: "the stupid and the stuck" (Before.1).
It's the last day of summer and our narrator is about to go to sleep. He's thinking that nothing ever changes in Gatlin and, well, he thinks he knows everything.
But a curse is about to change things. Dun dun dun.