Worst Book I Ever Finished: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
I realize this is a much-loved classic, but I really, really hated it. I spent the entire book waiting for the actual story to start, and I was annoyed when I reached the end and it never had. I wouldn't have read it at all if it weren't for high school (which is actually the explanation for almost every piece of "classic" literature I've ever read. Though I didn't hate any of them quite this much.)
Book I Wanted to Tear My Hair Out Waiting For: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Anyone who's read the Fever series knows that Dreamfever ends in just about the worst cliffhanger of all time. I read the first four Fever books in spring 2010. Shadowfever didn't come out until January 2011. Normally I would have been able to just focus on something else for that time, like I did with Harry Potter, but something about the Fever series just demands your attention and won't go away. So every time I thought about Fever (which was a lot), waiting for Shadowfever drove me mad. To those of you who read Fever this year and didn't have to wait for Shadowfever, consider yourselves blessed by the Book Release gods!
Book I Don't Understand Why I Liked: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
There is literally no aspect of Twilight that I actually liked. I found Bella boring, Edward overprotective, the vampires ridiculous, the plot bland, and the writing simplistic. But for some reason, I couldn't put the book down when I read it. I still haven't been able to figure this one out.
Blurb That Made Me Want to Smack the Publisher: Regina's Song by David and Leigh Eddings
I pulled this book off the shelf at the library because I liked the Belgariad and borrowed it because the blurb sounded intriguing. The problem, which I didn't realize until I was reading, was that the blurb gave away something that ruined the suspense of half the story! I'd thought I was annoyed by blurbs that had nothing to do with any of the book besides the first three chapters, but that was just mean. If you ever read this book, ignore the blurb!
Favorite Comfort Read: Sunshine by Robin McKinley
I've mentioned this before, but my copy of Sunshine is practically falling apart I've read it so many times. I pick it up whenever I'm feeling sad or stressed or sick because I really love it. Every time I read it I notice something new, and the world is so fascinating I'm never bored.
Book I've Gotten Most Lost In: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
I think this book came out when I was twelve but I still remember this vividly. I went to the midnight release party at Barnes and Noble and got my book around 1:30 a.m. (there were a lot of people there), but my mom wouldn't let me stay up and read it. The next day I started reading as soon as I woke up, but then we had to go to my dad's company picnic at Typhoon Lagoon. I spent the whole time thinking about the book while floating down the Lazy River, and when I got home I couldn't put it down. I have a clear memory of standing at the kitchen counter eating leftover pizza with my nose buried in the book. I finished it that night, and it's still my favorite Harry Potter book.
Book Ruined by the Ending: Sphere by Michael Crichton
Obviously I won't go into detail about this one because it's a huge spoiler, but the ending was such a copout! I was really into the book until I read the "resolution," too.
Biggest Tearjerker: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
I think I spent half of this book in tears. (My face was a mess, too, because I'd had it painted with a phoenix at the release party and not bothered to clean it off before I started reading.) Part of it was the bittersweetness of the end of the series that had made up the better part of my childhood, part of it was sorrow over the deaths of the characters, but the worst of it was when Harry walked into the Forbidden Forest. I am such a sucker for self-sacrifice. It gets me every time.
Most Brilliant Plot Twist: The Chaos Crystal by Jennifer Fallon
Honestly, the part I was surprised by was almost an afterthought to the story itself, but it sort of blew my mind a little bit. Tide Lords is an amazing series by one of my favorite authors.
Best Worldbuilding: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
I've said it before, but Brandon Sanderson is absolutely amazing at worldbuilding. The Way of Kings completely ruined whatever curve there was for creation. It was the most creative, well-planned world I've ever read.
Best Wordsmith: The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
I love Kay's books. They're beautifully written, fantasy at its best. The Last Light of the Sun is particularly spectacular in its lyricism (just look at the title). A close second: The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater.
Apparently I can't count, because that was eleven categories. Oh well. Math was never my favorite subject. Give me stories any day.