Hello, fellow readers! Long time no post! Today I thought I would come back with the Mid-Year Freak Out tag since we are now halfway done with the year. This was created by Ely at Earl Grey Books and Chami. I’m sure you already have seen every blog and booktube channel post this tag so here’s another one!
Before I answer the questions for the tag, I wanted to update on my reading year. I had a soft goal of 52 books with the intent to push up because I wanted to focus more on making reading more present in my life and read 100 pages every day. I currently have read 51 books and 17,116 pages so I have pretty much surpassed my reading goal but am behind on pages. I have already moved my reading goal up to 70 books.
Part of me would like to credit Covid-19 for how much I’ve been reading, but I honestly think it doesn’t have much to do with it since I have had moments where I won’t read for days and others where I read four books a week. I think it has to do more with that I’m reading more graphic novels and poetry, which I always read within the day.
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.
I have to give two answers because both of these books blew every other book I read out of the water. They also will both make appearances numerous times in this post, and I’m not ashamed of it because it’s my honest answer.
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno is about a girl named Georgina who comes from a family where all the women have magical powers by the time they turn eighteen. This takes place the summer of Georgina’s eighteenth birthday. Every summer, tourists come to the town because of a rare bird and this year, Prue comes and Georgina is instantly attracted to her. It’s sapphic and magical and beautiful. This is a book that I knew I was going to like. It’s main selling points are everything I love so I’m not surprised that it’s a favorite. I read it at the end of May, and I’ve thought of it every day since.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is about Alex Craft, whose sister died four years before the start of the book and she is out for revenge. It also follows Peekay and Jack as they go through their senior year and their lives seem to intertwine with each others. I really loved the commentary on rape culture and the way that Mindy McGinnis made the town and everything the characters went through so realistic. I read this in March and instantly fell in love I loved it so much that I ended up writing a final paper in college on this book and how it is a “Little Red Riding Hood retelling”
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.
I read so many sequels this year so this was really hard for me to pick. I’ve been rereading a lot of series I have previously enjoyed to see if they hold up (and they all have so far), but I feel like I have to give it to Heartstopper Vol 3 by Alice Oseman. I’ve read every volume currently out this year, but I think this is my favorite volume so far.
Heartstopper is a graphic novel series by Alice Oseman that follows Nick and Charlie. Charlie is an out gay who has a crush on Nick, who everyone thinks is straight. The series deals with bullying and homophobia, and the third volume discusses eating disorders. Even though these deal with deep topics, these books are so sweet
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Ummm a lot. For the first four months, I don’t think I read a single new release, but I am so ashamed that I haven’t read A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. This is the sequel to A Curse So Dark And Lonely, which was my last book of 2019, and I really liked it. This came out in January, and I was looking forward to it so much, but I still haven’t read it even though I own it now. I think it’s because I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of it that it’s really scaring me.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
I have to give this to Loveless by Alice Oseman. This has been one of my most anticipated books of the entire year, second only to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, which I’ve already read and loved. If you don’t know, this is an aroace own voices novel, and I am so excited because I am asexual. Everything that Alice has said about this sounds like something I’d love and relate to so I am very excited.
5. Biggest disappointment.
I had to give it to Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett. I totally thought I would enjoy this as much as Starry Eyes, which I read last year, but that did not happen at all. I just did not like any of the characters and the plot was very predictable and boring to me. I didn’t care about any of the characters at all.
6. Biggest surprise.
I had a really hard time with this one because I generally know what rating a book is going to get based on how I feel about the synopsis and the feedback I’ve heard from other reviewers. I try not to have high hopes for anything because I don’t want to be disappointed, and if I am surprised, it’s never good.
I had no idea if I was going to like The Female of the Species. I had heard so many mixed reviews about it so I went in with the mindset that I could very easily be disappointed by it, and that did not happen at all. I didn’t expect that it would be a favorite book because I didn’t think I liked more thriller-y books. I will say that it is a social commentary, which I do like.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Both of the authors who wrote my favorite books of the year are my new favorite author. I am, first and foremost, a character-driven reader and then I get attached to the writing style.
With Mindy McGinnis, I love how she takes social ideas and breaks them down. I have only read The Female of the Species and Be Not Far From Me, but I plan on reading pretty much her whole backlist. I also love her personal writing style and how she doesn’t shy away from anything.
Katrina Leno just has a quality that speaks to my soul. I am also a big fan of magical realism, and I really love how she incorporates it in her books. I have only read Everything All At Once and Summer of Salt and absolutely ADORED them both. I also own The Lost and the Found, which I plan on getting to soon.
8. Newest fictional crush.
As I mentioned, I am asexual so I don’t get very many crushes. HOWEVER, Silas from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson stole my heart. I care more about him than I were would for a living human, errr demon.
9. Newest favorite character.
Don’t think this counts because I reread (most of) the series, but my vote has to be Captain Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. I love him so much and always have. He makes me giggle with his stupid behavior. He is quite possibly my favorite character ever so I can’t NOT give the spot to him even though he isn’t new to me.
10. Book that made you cry.
I said I was going to sound like a broken record, but the only book I can give it to is Summer of Salt. I don’t know if I ever cried more in a book than I did in this one. There were moments where I had to stop reading because I couldn’t stop crying. I also would cry in anticipation because I could tell what was going to happen.
11. Book that made you happy.
My instant thought was Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This was so funny and I never laughed out loud more than I did in this book. I also cried, but my main emotion when reading was pure happiness.
12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
This has to go to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. First off, the cover is gorgeous, but then you have the beautiful naked hardcover that makes it so much more beautiful. Look at that! Isn’t it just the most stunning thing you’ve ever seen?
On top of that, it’s a beautifully heartbreaking book that deserves a cover just as beautiful as the book itself is.
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
have some thoughts about this question. The first being that I don’t feel like there are any books I need to read. Nobody is telling me to read anything, and I have plenty of time. I also feel like pretty much any books on my physical TBR are my books I need to read by the end of the year.
That being said, I have two answers. First, this is the year that I finish the Grisha Trilogy and read Six of Crows. I’ve had these books on my shelf forever so I need to finally read them. I also want to get to both Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Emma by Jane Austen. I read an abridged version of Little Women and was obsessed with it when I was younger so I know that I’ll love it. It is also my dream to write a book inspired by Emma, but I have never completely read it so I can’t count it.
That’s my response to the Mid-Year Freak Out tag. Please let me know down in the comments if you agree with me or what any of your answers would be. I’d love to hear from you!