6 of 17
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
652 pages; Scholastic Paperbacks
The Premise: For those who've forgotten, the sixth and penultimate book of J.K. Rowling's record-shattering series finds the evil Death Eaters menacing the Muggles and threatening to destroy the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Can Harry, Hermione and Ron outwit them?  

Why the Ending Is a Stunner: No one was prepared to believe that the world's most beloved headmaster would really die—nor could we guess who would kill him.Two years later, thousands of us stood in line for hours at our local bookstores waiting to grab the final installment the minute it went on sale.
— Dawn Raffel