mid year freak out book tag!

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Hello, friends!

I am so happy to be making this a yearly tag in my blog now. I shared the Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag in 2019 and it’s crazy to think it’s already been a year, and also crazy to think half of 2020 is past by when I have done absolutely nothing this year, lol.

Thank you so much for Margaret @ Weird Zeal for tagging me!

But, at least I read some books, so I can chat about them with you guys now. Let’s get into it!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

IMG_3357I have an entire review about all the things I loved on Call It What You Want, but this book completely changed me.

I’d never read anything by Brigid Kemmerer before, and picked this up randomly, but I’m so glad I did. This is a dual perspective novel and both were fleshed out and amazing. All the characters in this book suck, but they’re still so likeable. I love how Brigid Kemmerer played with perspective and how the same event can be perceived so differently by different people because of what they’re going through as individuals as well.

If you want a book that explores morally grey characters well, you can not go wrong with this one.

New release(s) you haven’t read yet, but want to

BREATH LIKE WATER. This book was blurbed by Gayle Forman (!!!) and it follows olympic swimmers, I’m pretty sure, and I’m always down to more books following athletes. Especially in this Olympic-less year we’re having.

THE SOUND OF STARS. I know this one is black and queer and is a love letter to music – my second favorite thing in the world, next to books. I am so hyped.

THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE. F/F romance & our MC has dementia, which is a mental health issue I’ve never read any YA books about. Caitlin also said it has multiple rom-com references I’m definitely going to get, so yes.

Most anticipated release(s) for the second half of the year

DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER. I know the entire community is hyped about this one, and how could I not be as well? I trust Adib Khorram with a love triangle and that says *a lot*.

RENT A BOYFRIEND. It’s Gloria Chao and apparently with fake-dating???? This can not go wrong. Also, can we talk about this gorgeous cover that literally looks like something out of a K-Drama? I’m so jealous of the lucky people who can have it on their shelves.

DEAR JUSTYCE. My favorite author with a follow up of one of my favorite books. I believe this one will tackle the American prison system and gangs, as it follows Quan, from book #1. It also comes a week before my birthday, so best present ever.

Biggest disappointment

IMG_4447Unfortunately for me, I Was Born for This was a major disappointment even though I was sure I was going to love it. I mean, Alice Oseman and boybands? It can not go wrong, right?

Except it totally can, because it did. I ended up actually DNF-ing this book at 63% because I found the deciption of boyband culture to be so overwhelmingly negative, I started feeling awful about myself. As if I could not claim to like an artist, because all of them are lying to their fans; and being a fan equals being irresponsible and naive; and most everyone is probably a creepy stalker with no feelings. And like, no. That’s not what I signed up for, and it’s 2020, I don’t need any more negativity in my life, thanks a lot.

Biggest surprise

IMG_3927I’d actually heard a lot of not-so-good things about Aurora Rising, even from fans of the Illuminae Files – which I am too. So I thought I was not going to like this one at all, but I am so glad I was wrong.

This book was incredibly action-packed, while still developing all the characters in an unique way and giving them refreshing voices in their own perspectives. It was also nice seeing the different alien species and their culture and habits. I loved the crew interactions as well – they don’t know much about each other and working together is a work in progress, but that’s exactly what makes this team so compelling.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

IMG_4190

Last year, I talked about Adib Khorram for this question because I was impressed at his ability in Darius the Great to talk about so many different topics so well. And that’s how I felt again about Leah Johnson’s work in this one.

There are a lot of discussions here: on sexuality, anxiety, disability, as well as being a person of color and racial and class privileges. The character’s relationships are also amazingly fleshed out, with friends’ break-ups and make-ups that make *so much sense*.

It’s still wonderful to me that all these themes were well written and it never felt like the author was trying to hard, at all.

Newest fictional crush

IMG_4450Now, it is true that I did not love The Brightsiders – the writing felt repetitive and the characters fell flat. But still, there could not be any other answer but Alfie.

He’s our best-friend and love interest in this book, and I adored him. He’s The Brightsiders’ heartthrob and everyone has a crush on him, so how could I not develop one myself? I liked, though, that he was still a layered character, who was not only a massive flirt, but also an amazing friend, who, like everyone else, also dealt with his own insecurities (including social anxiety). He was definitely the best part of the reading experience for me.

(And plus: he was gender queer, which is a great rep too!)

Newest favorite character

IMG_4178

Camp was definitely a runner-up for best book I read this year, as it was my only other 5 star of 2020 besides Call It What You Want. And I give that up to Randy, our protagonist.

This book was a lot more complex than I thought and initially gave it credit for. I love how Randy walks into this book believing that he’ll have to play the role of Del – a more masculine, butch version of Randy -, but then he’ll be able to slip out of it and go back to his normal nail-polish-lover, theatre-kid self.

But what he learns throughout this story is that he can, actually, be both. Del and Randy are not different people – they’re both parts of who he is, because he can be whatever he wants to be.

Book that made you cry

IMG_3204

I didn’t really cry with any book this year, but You’d Be Mine got me close to it. I was so impressed by how well-written this book was and how it was also a lot darker than I anticipated.

This book discusses suicide, addiction and trauma very well. It was definitely hard-hitting, but I think the author was able to write it so well that even though we were following characters with glamourous lives, it never felt like those issues were being glamourized too. She also discussed very well the importance of being well on your own first, before you can be good to somebody else.

Book that made you happy

IMG_4452I absolutely had a blast reading Only Mostly Devastated. As a re-telling of Grease, I already expected that this one was going to be fun, but I also loved how well the author was able to represent an accurate teenage experience.

Ollie moving to this new school is awkward and uncomfortable. He ends up sticking with the first group that welcomes him and it takes him a while to understand the dynamics of the group, and to feel 100% a part of it as well. The dialogues were all so well-written too and it made me really excited to see a YA book that actually understands teenagers so well.

This book turned out to have a lot more layers than I expected, such as discussing Will’s cultural background, grief and family relationships, and I loved every second of it.

Your favorite book to movie/tv show that you’ve seen so far?

ps i still love you | Tumblr

I only watched one adaptation this year and it was P.S I Still Love You, but it totally did not disappoint. Even if it didn’t completely feature my favorite quote from the book (“Like the 1950s. Remember, Lara Jean?”), I still adore how they translated my favorite aspects of the book into the movie.

It meant a lot that they kept some of the moments that pay and ode to Lara Jean’s mom as well as hear Korean side of the family (having them dress in hanboks was so special!), and the amazing side-characters too. I didn’t like John Ambrose in the books, but I turned out to love him in the movie.

Nothing beats Peter K. though. And the scene from the gif I included is probably my favorite scene in cinema history now, so there’s that too.

What is your favorite post you’ve written so far?

I really like I’ve been writing more recommendation posts this year. Even if they’re not the most popular posts, I still enjoy writing them a lot, as it gives me an opportunity to share more lenghty reviews than I would in my monthly wrap-ups and also to rave about books I haven’t talked about in a while.

(Plus, I think it totally solidifies YA contemporary as my brand).

My favorite recommendations post I did was the one on books about mental health issues that are likely to break your heart. I am super proud of how I worded it!

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER. This one has been on my TBR for ages and I want to be more conscious of reading books with disability rep. This one has a deaf MC!

99 DAYS. I have literally no idea what it is about but I got an edition on Kindle for free once and I haven’t touched it since, lol.

PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING. Another one I’ve been putting off for ages. It’s set on the Philippines and it’s likely to touch on the war on drugs, so I know will be hard-hitting.

What books do you want to read by the end of the year? And any anticipated releases I should look out for? Let’s chat in the comments!

47 comentários sobre “mid year freak out book tag!

  1. Caro @ bookcheshirecat 8 de julho de 2020 / 14:21

    Ohh, you make me really exited about Call It What You Want!! I have been wanring to read more books by Brigid Kemmerer becauzse I really liked A Curse so Dark and Lonely and heard that she has many great contemporary books 🥰

    I’m also currently reading The Sounf of Stars and I’m enjoying the book and movie love! I’m also happy to hear that you liked Aurora Rising, I’ve heard mixed tbings about the book, but I’m still excited to try it out! 😊

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    • Caro @ bookcheshirecat 8 de julho de 2020 / 14:23

      [oops I accidentally pressed send before spellchecking 😅] Ohh, you make me really excited about Call It What You Want!! I have been wanting to read more books by Brigid Kemmerer because I really liked A Curse so Dark and Lonely and heard that she has many great contemporary books 🥰

      I’m also currently reading The Sound of Stars and I’m enjoying the book and movie love! I’m also happy to hear that you liked Aurora Rising, I’ve heard mixed things about the book, but I’m still excited to try it out! 😊

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 13:54

      Her contemporaries are really good! I like how she goes through various themes, and her characters are always great and realistic. I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you already liked her writing in A Curse So Dark and Lonely.
      Thank you sososo much for stopping by! 😌

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  2. Ruby Rae Reads 8 de julho de 2020 / 14:28

    So glad to see your new post pop up!! And love like ALL your answers.

    The Falling In Love Montage sounds so sweet and I’m super pumped to read it. WE NEED MORE SAPPHICS!! As well as You Should See Me In A Crown eeppp.

    Ah unfortunately I did not like Only Mostly Devastated but I’m glad it gave you all the happy feels :)

    Also LOVED To All The Boys 2, it was such a fun time and I CAN’T wait for the next film

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 13:56

      thank you so muchhhh, ruby! i know, my heart kinda broke reading your review BUT IT’S FINE i’m sure we’ll find other books we can agree on hahah thanks for reading! 🥰

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  3. bookbeachbunny 8 de julho de 2020 / 17:41

    I definitely want to check out a Quiet Kind of Thunder I really need to read more with disability rep as it’s so important! Good luck with the rest of your year :)

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 13:57

      Sameee! And since I heard so many great reviews, I really think it will make a great job when it comes to rep. Thanks for stopping by! 😊

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 13:58

      I am so happy that this book is getting so much attention! It makes me more hopeful that it can get a movie adaptation, which is what this bookdeserves, hahahh.
      Thank you so much for reading, Tiffany! 💛

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  4. Rhi // Marshmallow Harmonies 8 de julho de 2020 / 20:50

    im reading you should see m in a crown at the moment and it’s incredible!! (as an audio though so it’s taking me foreverrrr) loved this post, and i agree, only mostly devastated was such a cute read <3

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 13:59

      you should see me in a crown is so good!!!! i hope you enjoy it it’s a lot of fun & totally deserving of all the hype honestly!
      thanks for stopping by, rhi! 😌

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  5. evelynreads1 9 de julho de 2020 / 03:29

    Loved reading your answers! I hope to read You should see me in a crown sometime soon, I’ve only heard amazing things!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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  6. Margaret @ Weird Zeal 9 de julho de 2020 / 15:34

    I also can’t wait to read The Falling in Love Montage, and I had no idea that the MC has dementia! I completely agree with everything you said about You Should See Me in a Crown, and I’m so excited for whatever Leah Johnson does next :D Haha I felt the same about PS I Still Love You – John Ambrose was definitely not my favorite in the book, but he was so loveable in the movie?? <3
    Good luck with your reading going into the second half of the year!!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 14:16

      I am not 100% sure if our MC has dementia or if it’s her mom and she’ll probably develop it at some point, being a hereditary condition. But I still think it’s a great rep nonetheless!
      Jordan Fisher is so adorable, there was no way I was not going to like him as wel, hahah.
      Thank you soooo much for stopping by! 😌

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  7. Ash @ Starlight Strands 10 de julho de 2020 / 21:25

    ahhh i love morally-grey characters in contemporaries so call it what you want is definitely going on my tbr!! and omg i’m so excited for the falling in love montage & the sound of stars too 😭 they both have such beautiful covers and i hope they live up to our expectations!

    you should see me in a crown was truly special, i’m so glad that we both enjoyed it!! ❤ i completely agree that the themes were extremely well written and never felt forced. i’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy i was born for this, but yes to only mostly devasted!! going into it i thought it would be a cute contemporary, and while it did have layers of fluff, it was also a lot deeper – which i appreciated.

    (lmao, ya contemporaries are totally my brand too because i can never shut up about them 😳) this was such a great post, lais, and i hope you have a lovely rest of your reading year! 💖💖

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 14:18

      If you like morally grey characters, I definitely think Call It What You Want is for you! Most of the characters are doing a lot of questionable things, but I was still rooting for them all, hahahah.

      I LOVE YA contemporaries, it makes me so happy whenever people are raving about them, hahah. Thank you so much for reading, Ash! 🥰

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  8. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea 11 de julho de 2020 / 04:20

    I’m so excited to see what you think about The Falling in Love Montage!! ❤ I’m so happy that you’re gonna read Patron Saints of Nothing, because I love how that book highlights the issues going on in my country! & I’m not really a contemporary person, but now I’m kinda interested in Call It What You Want because of what you said about the characters lmao 😅
    I hope the second half of your reading year is even better Lais 🥺🥺

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 14:20

      Thank you so much, Caitlin!
      I think Patron Saints of Nothing is a super important read, I really hope I can get to it soon. It’s a book I wish more people would talk about!
      Hahah, it’s a great one! The characters are all a bit unlikable, but I loved it nonetheless.
      Thank you so much! And thanks for reading! ❣️

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  9. Charis @ Charis Rae 11 de julho de 2020 / 12:38

    I ADORE Call It What You Want so so much! I really want to re-read it during the summer 🥺😍 Also A Quiet Kind of Thunder is on my TBR as well! I hope we both enjoy it :D

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  10. Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice 11 de julho de 2020 / 19:57

    Lovely post, Lais! I’m really looking forward to reading The Sound of Stars (it’s a love letter to books and music, like omg that sounds INCREDIBLE) and The Falling In Love Montage as well !! 💕 And omg I’m actually reading Only Mostly Devastated right now haha and I’m enjoying it so much – Ollie is such a funny and entertaining narrator hehe, I’m smiling so much while reading this ☺️ I hope the rest of your year is filled with wonderful books <3

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 14:26

      Ahhh, I hope you love both of these titles!
      I was following your updates on Only Mostly Devastated and I related to them so much! I adored Ollie as a protagonist, he made me laugh out loud sometimes. He was so relatable and lowkey chaotic, hahah.
      Thank you so muchhh! And thanks for reading, Dezzy! 😊

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  11. May @ Forever and Everly 15 de julho de 2020 / 01:40

    i also loved how leah johnson managed to cover so many topics in her book, even heavier ones, while still keeping it mostly light-hearted <3 and ahh i'm also so excited for the darius sequel!! i'm a bit nervous since usually i don't care for sequels with contemporaries, but i feel like adib will pull it off well! and i also need to read the sound of stars, it looks so amazing 🥺 i hope you have a great last half of 2020, lais!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 19 de julho de 2020 / 14:31

      Same here! I don’t love contemporary sequels, but hopefully this one will meet all my expectations!
      Thank you so much, May! And thanks for stopping by! 💞

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  12. Nimika @ wordhaven 18 de julho de 2020 / 12:12

    i haven’t yet read ‘call it what you want’ but- if you’re looking for more brigid kemmerer, i would highly recommend her ‘letters to the lost’ companion novels; the characters, the story, the romance- it’s all so soft and intense, 10/10 recommend.

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 22 de julho de 2020 / 16:32

      ahhh, i really want to read letters to the lost! i read more than we can tell before the 1st one and i don’t know why, honestly, so i was already a bit “spoiled” about letters to the lost but i still really want to read it! i love the characters that brigid kemmerer writes.
      thank you soooo much for stopping by! 💞

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  13. TheOneWhoReadIt 25 de julho de 2020 / 06:17

    Aurora Rising and You Should See Me in a Crown are definitely on my TBR! Felix Ever After, All Boys Aren’t Blue, The Invisible Life fo Addie LaRue and Crooked Kingdom are some books I really want to read before the end of the year! Great post!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 31 de julho de 2020 / 12:52

      Ahhh, yes, I hope you love Crooked Kingdom! I read it last year and it was *an experience*, to say the least, hahah. Felix Ever After is definitely another one I want to read soon, the hype has officially convinced me, hahah.
      Thanks for stopping by! 😌

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      • TheOneWhoReadIt 31 de julho de 2020 / 14:21

        I am enjoying Crooked Kingdom so far! You didn’t like it? Yeah the hype has gotten to me too for Felix Ever After! My pleasure 😊

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  14. Marie 28 de julho de 2020 / 09:41

    Ahh I love your answers for that tag! 🥰 I am also so, so eager to read both The Sound of Stars and Darius, the first one sounds AMAZING and I am so excited to have more Darius in my life. I’m also so impatient for you to read A Quiet kind of Thunder, it’s such an incredible read!! 🥰

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  15. theorangutanlibrarian 29 de julho de 2020 / 07:49

    It was born for me wasn’t for me either (I’m just not into boyband culture and quit quite early on). And I liked call it what you want! I was really pleasantly surprised by it!

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 31 de julho de 2020 / 12:33

      Ohhh, I actually do really like boyband culture, but I feel like it was so badly portrayed in this book ): Same here! I did not think I was going to love this book and I was actually a bit regretful I’d bought a physical copy, so I was very surprised by how much I loved it.
      Thank you so much for reading! 🥰

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  16. Bec @ bec&books 10 de agosto de 2020 / 01:27

    Shout out to Aurora Rising. Like you I was a bit nervous after the mediocre reviews I’d seen but I loved it! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Aurora Burning as well – I adored it 💕 Absolutely rec the audiobook as well.

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    • Lais @ The Bookish Skies 10 de agosto de 2020 / 10:26

      I really want to pick up Aurora Burning soon, but I am also hesitant that I’ll have to wait too long for the 3rd one to come out, hahah. Thank you so much for reading! 😌

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