The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag, 2020 edition

I can’t believe 2020 is halfway over. To celebrate a solid six months of reading, and the books that have helped get me through a ROUGH first half of the year, I’m participating in the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag for the first time! If you haven’t participated yet, please feel free to post your answers to this tag too!

1. Best book you’ve read in 2020 so far:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This book about a young person with a fractured sense of self was absolutely incredible. I loved the way this book blended psychological introspection with Igbo folklore, and the lyrical prose really moved me too.

2. Best sequel:

I haven’t read any sequels in 2020 yet, but I do hope to get to Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery – sequel to Who Is Vera Kelly? – by the end of the year.

3. New release you haven’t read yet but really want to:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar, Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang, and Death in Her Hands by Otessa Moshfegh. I’ve heard excellent things about the first three novels, and although I haven’t heard much about Death in Her Hands yet, I love Otessa Moshfegh and have high hopes for her latest novel.

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

I have way too many, so I’m “narrowing it down” to the following six:

  1. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. After reading Freshwater (AKA the best book I read in 2020), I am a huge Akwaeke Emezi fan! I can’t wait to read their next novel.
  2. Memorial by Bryan Washington. I really liked Washington’s Lot, so I’m excited to read more of his work!
  3. Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos. I don’t read very much mystery, but this one sounds really good!
  4. Luster by Raven Leilani. The Goodreads blurb has me sold. Bonus points for positive reviews that compared the Leilani’s writing to that of Gillian Flynn (although Leilani is an ownvoices Black author, and her writing likely holds its own without the comparison to white authors).
  5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwaab. This is another novel where the Goodreads blurb has me sold. I’ve heard so much praise for V.E. Schwaab and would love to finally read her this year.
  6. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I have been awaiting this book’s release for like five years now. I am so freaking excited that it’s finally happening!!

5. Biggest disappointment:

Dominicana by Angie Cruz. Part of the reason why I was so disappointed by this novel was because I had pretty high hopes going into it. Based on the Goodreads blurb, I thought that it would be one of my favorite WP longlist reads. Instead it was trope-y with underdeveloped characters.

6. Biggest Surprise:

Circe (by Madeline Miller) surprised me because I didn’t think of myself as a “mythology person” prior to this novel, but it was so compelling that now I kind of am. Red at the Bone (by Jacqueline Woodson) surprised me because I didn’t expect much from such a short (<200 page) novel, but it turned out to have more character development and commentary than some 500+ page novels I’ve read.

7. Favorite new author:

Akwaeke Emezi and Leesa Cross-Smith. Neither are 2020 debut authors, but they are both new to me and I’m looking forwarding to reading more of their works!

8. Newest favorite character:

Stubborn Archivist wasn’t a perfect read for me, but I really admired and felt for the novel’s protagonist! I’ll definitely read more of Rodrigues-Fowler’s work in the future, and her compelling characters are part of the reason why.

9. A Book that made you cry:

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. There were other books that made me tear up or cry a little bit, but these three wrecked me to the point that I had to stop reading because I was getting so emotional.

10. A Book that made you happy:

So We Can Glow by Leesa Cross-Smith. Although not all the stories in this collection are happy, there is so much hope, joy, and love in this book about female obsession and desire.

11. Favorite book-to-film adaptation.

Definitely Hulu’s adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The show was heavy-handed with the drama at times, but I still thought it was well done. I especially appreciated that the producers/writers made Mia and Pearl black, and another one of the MC’s gay, because it added valuable commentary.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought or read:

Hamnet or Hex. Both of these book covers look simple at first glance, but are actually quite intricate when you take a closer look. Plus, I’m a sucker for botanical designs.

13. book you want to read by the end of the year:

THERE ARE SO MANY!!! Ideally I would get to everything that I listed for questions #3 and #4 by the end of this year, although I don’t know if that’s realistic. In addition to those ten books, I also want to read How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.