A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.
This one’s easy. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (yes, I am secretly a pretentious Anglophile, and I read the UK edition, with the original title and vocabulary).
I didn’t read it when the books first hit the US because I was in college and didn’t see any reason to make time for the latest kids book fad. However, in creative writing my senior year, I was writing a lot of fantasy, including stories about a young student sorcerer, and my classmates gently suggested I read the Harry Potter books, if only to avoid accidental imitation.
Once I got around to reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised — I went into it, as I remember, with some hesitation. Wildly popular book series often annoy me (do not get me started on Twilight. I didn’t write about those books for day 5 because I didn’t trust myself to keep my post anything resembling short), and I was afraid Harry’s exploits would be no exception, but I found it surprisingly charming. Taken as a kids book, and as a first novel, it’s top-notch.