Life

At the Library

A midyear check-in on a yearlong goal of reading more

Many readers start out the year with the goal of reading more books. Some use sites like Goodreads to keep track of their goals while others prefer simple pen and paper to track their reading habits. Unfortunately, many people give up halfway through the year. Book bloggers created a little way to review their progress and re-evaluate their goals halfway through the year using something called the Mid-year Freakout. As a librarian, I have the pleasure of reading many different things throughout the year whether to see if we should add the book to our collection or preparing for a program. I thought this would be a great way to take a look at my own Mid-year freak out and perhaps encourage you to do the same.

The questions for your consideration are as follows:

1. Best Book you’ve read so far this year? I have trouble choosing a favorite; Sky without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell, Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields, Romanov by Nadine Brandes all rank high for me for various reasons. Most are new YA fantasy and sci-fi ranging from a retelling of Les Miserables in space to a court fantasy set in ancient China, to hundreds of years in the deepest part of space, to a historical fantasy retelling of the Romanov exile and execution.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year? The only sequel I’ve read this year has been the Artemis Fowl: Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer. I loved the first book in the series and with the first book being released as a movie this year, I wanted to return to the series for an easy read with fairies and a child criminal mastermind.

3. New release you haven’t read, but want to read? On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. After the success of her first book, The Hate U Give, Thomas returns with a book set a year after the events of the Hate U Give with a new character. A girl wants to be a famous rapper like her father, but she’s forced to succeed or lose her dream when her family is threatened with eviction. This book has been on my radar since it was announced; I just haven’t had the time to read it yet.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year? Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. The first book, Children of Blood and Bone, ended one dynasty in the West African inspired fantasy and this book opens the next dynasty. Often compared to with Avatar the Last Airbender, this is a good read for anyone looking for something familiar and different.

5. Biggest Disappointment? Switchback by Danika Stone. A teen survival story when two high school outcasts and best friends are lost in the Rockies during a school trip. They need to survive the approaching storm and hungry wild animals while looking for their class. I wanted this book to be good, but the characters were far too annoying and unbelievable for me to enjoy.

6. Biggest Surprise? Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. This is a modern retelling of the classic Wizard of Oz story except Dorothy has returned to Oz and she is now the Wicked Witch, stealing all of Oz’s natural magic. All of your favorite characters have become twisted and cruel and the new main character, Amy, is tasked by the other remaining wicked witches to kill Dorothy and free them from her reign. I thought this book was going to be silly and campy, instead, I powered through it in a day and began searching for the rest of the series. This should be coming to the library soon!

7. Favorite New Author? I don’t know that I have a new favorite author but I am keeping my eye out for anything new by Joan He (Descendant of the Crane), Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set the Dark on Fire), and Breeana Shields (The Bone Charmer).

8. Newest fictional crush? Malechiaz, the Vulture King from Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. Not a great book but he’s the type of character you just want to give a hug to. He is not a good character but he wants to be. Out of everyone in the book, he is the most interesting. Again, not a good book or a good character, but an interesting one with the most room for growth.

9. Newest favorite character? Chatline/Theo from Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody. She is all the things I enjoy in a fantasy character. Smart and fierce, she has a drive to escape her current situation, yet she also feels guilty for the means she uses to get there. Resourceful, she works with what she’s got but she is also given a chance to be vulnerable and weak. All around, a great character.

10. Book that made you cry? The Voice in My Head by Dana L. Davis. This book stuck close to home for me. It follows a teen whose twin sister is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When she asks God for help, a voice tells her to convince her dysfunctional family to travel cross country to the Painted Desert and her sister will live. What follows is a family with communication problems stuck together in a bus on a long car trip. They fight, they laugh, and they reconnect as a family. This is a good read, though it might be a bit intense for some people.

11. Book that made you happy? Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I’ve been anticipating this ever since I read their Illuminae Files series last year. It’s space, it’s ancient wars and mysterious powers. And it’s a rag-tag crew that no one wants to deal with but ends up being a close family.

12. Favorite book-to-movie adaptation you saw this year? I have yet to see a book-to-movie adaptation this year though I am excited to see the Artemis Fowl movie released May 29th, 2020. I love the book and the trailors made it look like the movie was going to be good as well.

13. Most beautiful book you bought so far this year? This one is tricky. I like the Illuminae File covers because of their simplicity, I like the Akata Witch cover for the character design, and the Neverworld Wakes cover for the mystery it implies. I’m also partial to the Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom covers but those aren’t as new as the others.

14. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. This book follows a teen mother as she chases her dream to be a famous chef but she doesn’t want to leave her daughter and family in order to go to culinary school. I’ve been on the lookout for this book and it’s finally been released. It should be arriving at the library soon.

So this is my midyear freakout. I’ve managed to read 56 of my 100 book goal, though about half of that number has been comic books. Hopefully this list has given you some inspiration and motivation to continue your own reading goals.

New Materials

at the Library

Adult Fiction

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

Ruby Fruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Porpoise by Mark Haddon

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher

Paranoid by Lisa Jackson

A Brief History of the Seven Killings by Marlon James

The Rosie Retreat by Graeme Simsion

Lost & Found by Danielle Steel

Dragonfish by Vu Tran

Adult Nonfiction

It’s My Life Now by Meg Kennedy Dugan

The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl

The Macho Paradox by Jackson Katz

Are U Ok? by Kati Morton

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder

Accessory To War by Neil DeGrasse Tyson