Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Mid"-Year Freakout Tag 2018's mid August, which means I'm RIGHT ON SCHEDULE for the mid-year book freak-out tag, right? The entire summer counts as the middle of the year, right?

Well, we had that TTT that was about favorites so far back in June, so I didn't want to jump right in with a similar post. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Then again, one of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a birthday gift that featured the saying, "The only cardio I get is running late," so there's a tiny chance it's just me.

Image result for running late meme

But enough about me. Let's talk about books. I'm probably supposed to just choose one for each category, but I read a lot of books, so I'm giving myself 3 slots for each. I tried to not feature any book more than once, and to only highlight books I love--e.g., if a book I didn't care for had a gorgeous cover, I found a book I love with a gorgeous cover to feature instead. (Of course, this didn't work for "biggest disappointment.")

I'm pretty sure nobody would ever look at the books I tend to read and say, "Oh, she loves true crime and angsty novels about unhappy British women," but there you have it--my absolute favorites so far.


Three masterful sequels by three very different, but quite amazing, authors. Well, technically Rebound is a prequel, but it still counts, right?


These three are all in my classroom library, but I haven't read them yet. I've heard such great things about all of them! Why don't I have more time for reading?


Laini Taylor, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, and Patrick Ness are all auto-read authors for me. I don't need to know what the book is about, just that they wrote it, and I'm in. So all of these are high on my list, even though I'm not super up on new releases that aren't sequels. 


  • Orphan Island
  • Let's Talk About Love
  • Funny Girls: Funniest. Stories. Ever!

Caveat: I have no beef with people who loved these. They just didn't do it for me. I wanted more story and less allegory from Orphan Island. Let's Talk About Love was too rom-com cutesy for me. Those two both also fell victim to the dreaded over-anticipation problem. Funny Girls maybe oversold it self a tiny bit with that subtitle.


  • Nest
  • Evil Librarian
  • The Steel Seraglio (British title: The City of Silk and Steel. Or maybe it's the other way around? I mean, do most Americans know what a seraglio is? I didn't.)

Nest surprised me because it was achingly honest and refused to tie everything up neatly at the end, even though it's a middle grade novel. Evil Librarian just caught my eye on the library shelf, and was as delightfully funny as the title implied. Steel Seraglio was "assigned" reading for a reading retreat I went to, and I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it when I realized how rich and wonderful it is.


I've only read the one book by each of these, so I can't say they are auto-buys yet, but I will definitely be looking forward to their next books.


Oh, my scrappy little nobodies. (Sorry, Anna Kendrick.) A white foster child in modern day eastern Washington, a sentient robot, and a 19th century black zombie killer.  I really admire how these three overcome traumatic pasts--and presents--while continuing to grow as people. Or robots, as the case may be. 


The first two could have qualified for best sequels (but I had to make decisions) or best character (but they weren't new to me this year). Digger is the most adorably weird graphic novel I've read in...ever? It's high fantasy starring a wombat.


Alfonso Jones is one of the best Black Lives Matter themed books I've read, and one of the best graphic novels I've read, and one of the best books that blends contemporary fiction with nonfiction historical information. It's painful reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal's happy, loving book knowing how little time she had left in this world. And the second novella in Queens of Fennbirn moves inexorably towards its tragic end, breaking your heart the entire time.

I haven't seen any, but I'm excited about The Hate U Give, and I still want to see Love, Simon and Don't Worry; He Won't Get Far on Foot, the Joaquin Phoenix/Gus Van Sant film based on the memoir of local icon John Callahan.

All very different, all very beautiful, all done by someone who seems to have actually read the damn book.


Purple Hibiscus because I want to read more Adichie, and also because a Popsugar prompt is a book with your favorite color in the title. Trigger Warnings because I love Gaiman's short works, and because I've had it out from the library for maximum renewals and need to get it turned in by Monday. Breakout because I love Messner's writing as well as what she does for students, schools, teacher-writers, etc. 

Phew! There you have 27 books I love, 6 books I hope to love, and a measly 3 books I didn't. It's always so interesting doing these reflective posts, and realizing which books have actually stuck with me over time. I feel confident that this really reflects the best of what I've read in 2018. Well, other than the 16 other books I gave more that 4 stars to that didn't make this list...

Happy reading! If you decide to give any of these a try, let me know what you think. 


  1. I liked Thunderhead and Storm of Swords, too. I need to read those same 3 books that you need to read. Actually, this whole post is mostly books from my TBR list. Mackenzi Lee is one of the best authors that I discovered this year. I’ve read 2 of her books and loved them both.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I had set Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine aside. My head was not in the right place for it, and it was making me really sad, but I feel like I should pick it back up, when I am not in a mood. I really like The Poet X and am looking forward to Acevedo's next release. She talked about it earlier this week, and it sounds great.

  3. I'm glad you picked 3 for each category! Poet X is a quick and unbelievable good read! Eleanor Oliphant is also one of my favorite reads of the year, and I've been wanting to read In Cold Blood forever! Funny Girls was a disappointment to me as well (and that title totally oversold it). Mackenzi Lee is also one of my new favorite authors! Fun list!

    1. I really should just pick up Poet X and go for it.

  4. The whole of summer is the middle of the year and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's the time of year where folks start thinking about the past few months anyway and we all sit there in shock at how fast time is flying by. Children of Blood and Bone is on my TBR too, hopefully we can both get to it. And Muse of Nightmares! I am so psyched for that book, I can't wait to have it on my shelf pride of place. I hope you manage to read your Neil Gaiman book before it's due back at the library I need to read some of his short stories, I might have to take a trip to the library soon.

  5. Hahah eh, that just means you have until February to do your 2018 recap 😂

    Thunderhead was definitely my best sequel, no question. You have me all KINDS of excited for Queens of Fennbirn! And the Ocean Was Our Sky was AWESOME by the way. At least I thought so! The others I am excited for too. Also YESSS to Jane from Dread Nation, she is such a fave!! And we have basically the exact same 2018 releases that we need to get to hahah. Hope you manage to- I don't have any faith in myself, tbh!


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