Mid Year Book Freak Out 2018

Hi! It's been a little quiet on this blog lately. A lot has happened in the last couple months! I graduated from school and am now working as a full-time bookseller (yay!) and the transition has been a little exhausting. Finals were one kind of exhausting, but working on your feet 40 hours a week is another kind of exhausting that I'm not accustomed to...

Anyway, now that I'm settling into my new routine, I'm excited to be back to reading and blogging more frequently. And since it's exactly July 1 and everyone and their mother is doing this tag, I thought I would join the fun. If you've posted your Mid Year Book Freak Out somewhere, definitely leave a link below so I can check it out!

1. Best book I've read so far in 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
YA Fantasy, 370 pages
Published January 2, 2018 by Little, Brown

I've read 42 books at this point in the year but I only have three 5 star reads (the other two to follow in question 2). I know The Cruel Prince has been dominating peoples' favorites lists lately, but this one is really the biggest stand-out for me. Holly Black is truly a master of her craft. Her faerie world is rich and dangerously beautiful and the plot is ruthlessly twisty. I also really like Jude, who isn't your typical golden-hearted heroine. She has a dark side that she grapples with, and her fears and anxieties are relatably portrayed. I will doubtlessly be reading the sequel ASAP.

2. Best sequel I've read so far in 2018 

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
YA Science Fiction, 504 pages
Published January 9, 2018 by Simon & Schuster

Scythe and Thunderhead are my other two 5 star reads so far this year. I have been a fan of Neal Shusterman since forever, and much like in his Unwind series, this series is equal parts thought-provoker and page-turner. I'm excited about it.

3. New release I haven't read yet, but want to

Too many to choose just one!! Hard enough to choose three... 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year


5. Biggest disappointment 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Romance, 387 pages
Published August 9, 2016 by William Morrow/Harper

I love a good romance in a YA novel, and I don't mind a little steam, but I think Romance as a genre just isn't for me. When I posted to instagram about reading this one I got so many messages from people telling me it was their favorite, so I hoped this one would be different for me!... But alas, it was as problematic to me as most in the genre, reinforcing toxic gender roles and what would be, if unrequited, workplace harassment.

6. Biggest surprise 

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
YA Historical Fiction, 298 pages
Published March 6, 2018 by Dutton

This book is so different than anything else I've read in YA... in a good way! It's about a real historical figure - the 17th century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi - known for taking her rapist to trial. It is told in sharp verse and whispering prose. It's really stunning and fascinating, if not your typical YA protagonist and voice. I'm really proud of the review I wrote here (and there's pictures of her paintings!)

7. New favorite author

Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto
Japanese short stories, 180 pages
September 18, 2018 from Grove Press

I haven't read this whole collection (I'm going to when it's reprinted later this year) (unfortunately they didn't update the 90's cover haha) but I did read the story "Helix" in one of my classes (and wrote a paper on it) and I can't wait to read more of her work! "Helix" read like a realist story in some ways, but was also super fantastical and mind blowing.

8. New fictional crush 

It Falls Apart by Kate Pawson Studer
YA Contemporary, 355 pages
June 28, 2018, self-published

I don't really have fictional crushes that often anymore (although my first ones from my younger teen years are always close to my heart) but this book had a really sweet romance that was the most satisfying thing I've read in YA in a while. Luke is a good-to-the-core, down-to-earth kind of guy who knows how to express his feelings (unlike a lot of the angry male leads I see in Romance and NA)... the only problem is he's Harper's best friend's ex...

9. New favorite character 

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin
YA Contemporary, 344 pages
Published September 5, 2017 by Wednesday Books

As much as I love Jude from The Cruel Prince, in an effort to diversify this list, I'm going to go with Gen and Ava (especially Gen) from I Hate Everyone But You. I was introduced to this book by my boyfriend (of all people), because he is a fan of the authors' YouTube channel, and according to him the characters are basically the authors. I just loved their banter and would love to be friends with them.

10. Book that made me cry 

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Graphic Memoir, 267 pages
Published September 8, 2015 by Candlewick Press

None of the books I've read so far this year have made me cry (books rarely do) but this is the one that hit me the most in the feels. It's a graphic memoir about Maggie's sexual awakening and crush on her older summer camp counselor. She portrays all of the feelings of first what-if kind of love out really perfectly and relatably.

11. Book that made me happy

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
YA Paranormal, 303 pages
Published May 8, 2018 by Razorbill
So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone's explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

As soon as I read the synopsis of this, I was delighted. I knew I had to read it right away. I adore the sarcasm, irreverence, and casual zombie gore. And it was a breezy one or two sittings kind of read. If it sounds up your alley, definitely check it out!

12. New favorite book-to-movie adaptation

Love, Simon
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
YA Contemporary, 303 pages
Published April 7, 2015 by Balzar + Bray

Was there ever any question? This is my favorite book-to-movie adaptation since The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It gives a similar nostalgic feeling to watching an 80's high school movie, and I love the way it shows how even liberal and more accepting communities are heteronormative.

13. Favorite review I’ve written this year 

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee
Non-fiction collection, 167 pages
Published February 27, 2018 by Abrams Image

I'm really proud of my review of this one, which I wrote for International Women's Day. This was a beautiful book with really inspiring stories about all kinds of amazing women I had never heard of before. Also it has pretty pictures.

14. Most beautiful book I’ve acquired this year 

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Graphic Novel, 323 pages
Published July 15, 2014 by Ballantine Books

Aside from Bygone Badass Broads, this is probably the most beautiful book I acquired (especially since most of the books I acquired were ARCs and they're just not as pretty). I love love love O'Malley's art and characters and work in general. Plus the design of this one is stunning with a printed hard cover and a short jacket that lets it peek through.

15. Books I still need to read before the end of 2018!

Six (more) new releases and six books that have been on my shelf a while! There are so many things I want to read and my priorities are constantly changing, so who knows whether I will read all of these this year. The last three are books I'd like to challenge myself to read, though

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