The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020 // In Which I Freak Out Over New Releases & Soft Characters

It’s that time of the year again.

I know it, you know it, the WordPress Reader definitely knows it- it’s time for everyone to freak out about everything we’ve read in 2020! Although I’m unfortunately still behind on my Goodreads challenge (will I ever catch up?), I’ve read a lot of books worthy of all the love and appreciation so far this year, and I’m so excited to scream about them in this post.

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I’ve participated in this tag the past two years (my 2018 and 2019 posts), so even though I’m cutting it close by posting this on the second to last day of June, tradition must continue. Besides, it wouldn’t really be June if I didn’t spend at least a little bit of time having an existential crisis over what I have and haven’t read so far, right?

Thank you so much to Sophie and Abi for tagging me in this! I definitely recommend that you read both of their posts (Sophie’s here, and Abi’s here) and check out the rest of their blogs too, because they’re both phenomenal people and bloggers. I really appreciate them tagging me and I’m very excited to get to answering these questions!


Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1)I’ve talked about Call Down the Hawk already a few times, since I’ve done tags that asked for my best book of the year before, but it still just has to be my answer! It’s certainly in the running for my favorite book of 2020.

I can’t see another book coming close to the level of sheer genius, character development, and overall level of enjoyment, but for the sake of discovering new favorites in the remainder of the year, I hope I’m wrong!

Honorable mentions for best book so far go to The Unlikelies and Lucky Caller. (But also like three over books that I’m stopping myself from also mentioning here because I’m both indecisive and overly attached to books.)


Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

I haven’t finished a sequel yet- look at that, second question in and I’m already failing.

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I am currently reading a sequel, Siege and Storm, but so far it doesn’t have “best sequel” potential, so…I am still answerless.


New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Clap When You LandSo many! One that I’m especially looking forward to, and hoping to read sooner rather than later because I have a hold on it at the library, is Clap When You Land.

Not only have I only heard positive things about this book, but I’m genuinely interested in the story and very much looking forward to reading it. The potential of sister relationships already has me hooked, and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Elizabeth Acevedo so far too!


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

Cinderella Is DeadThere are so many books coming out that I’m looking forward to! I could probably mention upwards of ten, but due to the fact that this is not an anticipated reads post, I’ll just go with one- Cinderella is Dead looks so good!!

The title alone has really piqued my interest, the cover is beautiful, and the premise of overthrowing the patriarchy while also having to do with fairytales is pretty much a dream come true. I mean, every inch of this title, cover, and synopsis screams power and I’m here for it.


Biggest disappointment?

The Rest of Us Just Live HereI didn’t know exactly what to expect going into The Rest of Us Just Live Here, so I feel bad saying that I was disappointed, but I did have higher hopes based on the other novel I’ve read by Patrick Ness.

I didn’t hate this book, nor did I love it- I was just sort of indifferent. I appreciated the family relationships the struggles individual characters faced, as well as the idea that people  don’t need to be the “chosen ones” to lead important lives- but I felt like the novel fell short and I wasn’t too intrigued.


Biggest surprise?

The UnlikeliesIn a positive way, my biggest surprise so far happened just a few days ago, with The Unlikelies! I’m planning to share my full thoughts in a review soon, but I had zero expectations going in and this book was so, so good.

I loved how this novel was fueled by character development, how the reader got to witness the formation of a friend group, the focus on doing good and the focus on the importance of being a nice, decent human being. This book gave me hope in humanity and reminded me that quietly powerful contemporaries never fail to become favorites for me.


Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

I don’t know if I’ve exactly discovered an author solely in 2020 that instantly became a favorite, but I’ve learned that I love novels by Sara Barnard! I read Goodbye, Perfect by her last year and it was one of my top favorites of the year, and when I found myself in love with A Quiet Kind of Thunder this year, it’s solidified that I want to read all her other novels.

I love how she crafts such instantly likable, relatable teenage characters, healthy romantic relationships, and leave me feeling happy and satisfied. And not going to lie, I really love how her novels are all set in England.


Newest favorite character?

House of Salt and SorrowsThis might just be an excuse to talk about House of Salt and Sorrows in this post because I’m obsessed with it, but I really, really liked the main character in it, Annaleigh! And not just because her name is cool, though it is.

She definitely had her flaws, but I loved her narration, her love for all her sisters, and how she didn’t give up on trying to do the right thing and make amends even when no one else supported her, believed her, or was in her corner. I think the way she always stood up for what she believed to be right, even if people she loved weren’t doing the same, was inspiring. Plus, this whole book was atmospheric and magical.


Newest fictional crush?

Ladies and gentlemen, Emma Mills has done it again, she has me once again wishing that a fictional teenage male was in fact a real life teenage male.

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I feel like this is a betrayal of Gideon and August (Foolish Hearts and Famous in a Small Town, respectively), but Jamie from Lucky Caller stole my heart a little bit. He’s incredibly sweet, caring, just wants to provide for his grandparents, is always there for everyone (even if he feels like they haven’t been there for him), and he even spent his childhood and some of his middle school years pretending to a prince in an imaginary game with the girls in the apartment building by him…I mean, adorable.


Book that made you cry?

The Book ThiefI usually cry way too much in books, but when I was looking through what I’ve read so far this year just now, none stood out to me except my reread of The Book Thief.

I will recommend this novel until the end of the time, because I truly believe it’s one of the most moving and poignant books I have ever read and will ever read, but fair warning, do not read this if you don’t want to cry. Because you will cry, even if it’s just internally- this was my third or fourth time reading it, and I still found myself sobbing in my bedroom at multiple parts.


Favorite book to movie adaptation?

Even though it came out in 2019, I saw Little Women in theaters twice in 2020 (and once in 2019), so I’m still counting it here. It’s officially my favorite movie of all time, and even if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.

5 Things to Know About the New Little Women Movie 2019

If you were wondering if I got emotional looking through the gifs to find one to use here, the answer to that would be a resounding yes, I want to rewatch this so badly. :,) A more heartwarming, emotional, and cozy movie cannot be found!

A side note is that I do want to watch more movie adaptations of classics now- on my list are Pride & Prejudice (how have I not seen one of the versions?), Anne With an E (I only watched season one), and the new Emma.


Favorite review?

Oops, another failed question. I have in fact only published one bout of reviews on my blog so far this year, and while I enjoyed writing them all, it was a collection of mini reviews, so I feel like I can’t properly answer this.

I have, however, been writing short bits of my thoughts regarding books as soon as I finish them on Goodreads! This isn’t really reviews, but rather a way for me to remember what I liked about a book after I’ve been done with it for a while, and in case anyone else is interested in the random things I enjoyed about a book, and it’s been really fun.


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

Ideally, I would read all the books on my TBR and be able to start fresh for the new year and would catch up on both backlist and new releases. But since that’s unrealistic, I’ll stick to my top four books that I’m hoping to finish in the remainder of 2020!

Anna KareninaStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)The Henna WarsThe Fountains of Silence

I’ve been reading Anna Karenina on and off for almost a year now, so I feel slightly ashamed of myself for not finishing it yet. I’m speaking into existence that 2020 will be the year it’s finally completed.

Strange the Dreamer is one I hope to get to soon, as I currently have it checked out at the library, and although I don’t have these on hold yet so I might get to them later rather than sooner… The Henna Wars and The Fountains of Silence both greatly interest me and I want to read them this year, too!


There we have it, all my freaking out for this mid-year, condensed into one post. I’m very much looking forward to what the rest of 2020 holds (reading wise only) with new books and I hope it continues to be a good reading year, both in quality and quantity!

I’m not quite sure who has done this tag or who wants to, especially since June is almost over, so if I tagged you and you aren’t interested please feel no obligation~

Macey // Annie // Holly // Rhi // Nish and Ngoc // anyone else!!

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you’re doing all doing well- sending a virtual hug and well wishes for the rest of the year (with reading, but also with life in general) to all of you. ✨

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? What’s the best book you’ve read this year? I would love to talk with you in the comments.

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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash >> Credits for image used in my featured image


55 thoughts on “The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020 // In Which I Freak Out Over New Releases & Soft Characters

  1. YES, THE BOOK THIEF. I will always be here to scream about the Book Thief. Every once in a while I just pick it up and open to a random spot, read a few sentences, and melt into a puddle because the writing is SO FREAKING GORGEOUS. Ahem. I don’t have strong feelings about this at ALL.
    I finally saw Little Women a few weeks ago! It wasn’t a new favorite for me or anything (forgive me), but I really loved the way they showed the sisters interacting and being so close (when they were all pretending to be guys, it reminded me so much of me and my own sisters XD). And the way they used non-linear storytelling to parallel the two Beth getting sick storylines??? An evil ploy to make us all cry TWICE IN A ROW. How dare they. (But it was BEAUTIFUL)

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    • I will always scream about The Book Thief with you!! It’s SO good. You wouldn’t think one could cry so much when they already know what’s going to happen, but yet, somehow The Book Thief makes me cry every time. The writing is seriously the best too, you’re right!
      Little Women!! Yes, I loved that part too, it was so reminiscent of childhood and putting on plays for my family and everything. Oh my gosh, the storylines with Beth being sick killed me. The first time I saw it, I was crying so hard (in the theater) and never quite stopped crying until the end of the movie and when I got out of the movie the collar of my shirt was all wet. It was worth it, though. Ahh, I can’t deal with how amazing it was!!!

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  2. Yesss I’m delighted that CDTH is your favorite of the year so far! 😀 It was one of my favorites of last year, and I’m always happy to see other people loving it. And I think I’m going to need to check out Sara Barnard’s books, since I definitely like likable and relatable teenage characters.
    Oof, I haven’t reread The Book Thief in a few years, but EVERY TIME I read it, I cry my eyes out, so I definitely relate. And I’ve been dying to rewatch Little Women ever since seeing it in January – definitely going to be one of my favorite movies of this year.
    Good luck with your reading going into the second half of the year! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, that makes me so happy to hear! I really couldn’t have loved CDTH more than I did, and I’m glad you felt the same way.
      I hope you enjoy any that you do check out! I just love the way she writes contemporaries, they pull me in every time and the characters are incredibly relatable.
      Me too- you’d think I wouldn’t cry after already knowing how it’s going to end, but I’ve yet to *not* cry while reading it. I’ve been wanting to rewatch Little Women too, I think I’ll be rewatching it for years, haha.
      Thank you so much!! The same to you.❤️


  3. i loved reading this post so much, Olivia! (i really should get around to posting mine lmao.) i adored the little women movie, ahhh. i can’t even put my finger on why—i just loved the costume design and how the movie played out. 🥺 also i really hope you enjoy the henna wars and strange the dreamer! even though the former isn’t perfect, the qpoc rep meant so much to me. and i’m really excited to see what you think about lazlo strange, i feel like you’ll love him, hehe. laini taylor’s writing and imagination is *chef’s kiss*

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    • Thank you so much, Caitlin!💗I completely agree with the Little Women movie. The cinematography was SO beautiful and made for such a beautiful and heartwarming story. Okay why is writing this comment making me want to rewatch it right now?? Ahh, thank you! I’m very much looking forward to both of them, and I think I’m planning to start Strange the Dreamer in a few days. Happy reading! xx

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  4. Omg I can’t WAIT to read Cinderella is dead – I was just mentioning to someone that I’ve never come across a good Cinderella retelling, and one that features a Black MC? UNHEARD OF 😱 I wasn’t a fan of The Rest of Us Just Live Here either – it didn’t really do anything for me? 😕

    Don’t kill me but I haven’t read The Book Thief yet – I even have a physical copy on my shelf but…I keep talking myself out of it! 😅

    Thanks so much for tagging us! I love that you were nervous about posting this at the end of June when Nish & I will likely be doing it…at the end of July 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so hyped for it too!! It sounds absolutely amazing, I already put a hold on it at my library even though they don’t even have it yet.😅 Yeah, I feel you on The Rest of Us Just Live Here! It was enjoyable, but as you said, didn’t do anything and I already forgot most of the details.

      Ahh, I hope you love if you get around to reading it! It can be intimidating, since it’s such a widely well-loved book, but I promise it’s at least worth a try.

      Of course! Haha, I completely get that. I still haven’t done tags I was tagged for in like 2018, so no judgement here, lol. Thank you for this kind comment!💛


  5. I have so much anticipation about Cinderella is Dead! The premise sounds so amazing and I keep seeing people shout their love and excitement for it which just makes me more excited and ahh! The Henna Wars too. There are so many amazing looking books coming out that I really need to read this year!

    Oh wow you saw Little Women three times in theaters? Dedication haha it must be really good. I haven’t seen it yet probably because the one time I *tried* to read the book in fifth grade I got so bored and gave up halfway through and looked up a wikipedia summary for my book report… whoops. But I’ve heard such great things about the movie I really should watch it!

    Loved reading this post and I hope you read some fantastic books in the second half of the year ❤

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    • Me too! I really hope we both love it.❤️ I know, I feel like I wasn’t aware of any of the new releases and then I read so many posts about releases in June and now I’m very hyped for them all.

      Haha, it was so good! I love how this is like my crowning achievement in life, going to a movie theater three times, clearly I have nothing else going on, lol. Haha oh my gosh, that’s actually really funny- I think you would like the movie though, it’s super beautiful and definitely not as slow-paced as the novel!

      Thank you so much, Kay! You too xx


  6. i just started clap when you land, and i flew through the beginning! elizabeth acevedo’s writing is gorgeous as always, and though i haven’t gotten to the part with the sister relationship, i’m really excited to keep reading 🥺

    i really hope you love the henna wars and strange the dreamer! they’re both great books ❤ and ahh you talking about anna karenina reminds me that i really need to start picking up classics! it's definitely one of my goals to read at least 5 before the year ends lmao

    i hope you have a wonderful last half of 2020!! ❤

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    • I’m so excited that you’re loving it!! I’ve heard a lot of people anticipating it but not much about people’s thoughts, so that makes me really happy to read, I hope you keep loving it.💗

      Thank you! I’m hoping to read Strange the Dreamer in the next few days because I have it checked out from the library at the moment. Good luck with your classics goal!! I’ve been trying to read more too and gain a wider appreciation for literature, haha, but it can definitely be hard to motivate myself to start. You got this though!!

      Thank you!! You too xx

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  7. i struggled with finding an answer to best sequel as well. i am the worst at continuing series and i don’t have many ongoing ones, which is probably a good thing because it means i’ve been better at finishing series before i start new ones, BUT it also means i have not many possible answers, hahah. i miss being super invested in a series, though, not gonna lie!

    i remember that i really wanted to read the rest of us just live here, but i ended up DNF-ing. i think, like you said, even though the premise was interesting, the characters were not captivating enough. i don’t know if it’s because my brain is just wired to be more interested in the out-of-this-world lives, but i really just wanted to read more about the unique, quirky kids and not really about the actual main characters, lol.

    i will be looking forward to your review of the unlikelies, because i haven’t heard anyone talking about it, but you got me intrigued!

    i completely forgot about little women but i did only watch it in 2020 and it was such a great movie. i never read the book, but i really liked the characters in the movie. i heard they’re quite different and that the director changed some things, but i think it just made them more likable. i also liked that even though it had some sad moments, it was an overall hopeful story!

    wishing you luck on finishing anna karenina this year! (and, again, just wanting to shoutout your mini reviews, because i LOVE them!)

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    • I’m the same way! I also read mostly contemporaries and they mostly don’t have sequels. Ahh, it is good you don’t have too many ongoing series!! But yes, I relate, I would love to get super invested in a book series again that I wholeheartedly love.

      I’m sorry you DNF’d The Rest of Us Just Live Here! But I definitely see why you did, I probably would have except I had nothing else to read so I decided to just go for it, haha. No, I get that! I feel like the premise was really good, but I wish it had been more of a focus on “all characters are important and even the non-main characters actually have main character things going on in their lives” rather than just focusing on them being the un-chosen ones, if that makes any sense.

      That makes me really happy to hear! I haven’t heard too many people talk about it either but it’s one of my new favorites, so I can’t wait to recommend it.

      Little Women is so heartwarming! Ahh, if you ever get around to reading the book, I think you’ll be pleased- at least in my opinion, the book is pretty similar to the movie except there’s more character development in the book and I feel like things that seemed rushed in the movie make more sense in the book version.

      Thank you!! Ahh, that’s so kind of you to say, thank you- I really appreciate that and your very kind comment, Lais.💛

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  8. I loved Clap When You Land. It was very heartfelt and impactful. I hope you like it when you read it! Plus I just found out about your blog and it’s so cozy and adorable! Definitely following!

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  9. I was also disappointed with The Rest of Us Just Live Here when I read it! I had heard really good things and the premise sounded so interesting, and then I just found the story to be pretty boring and not as unique as I hoped it would be.

    And I’m so happy to hear that you loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder! I adore that book, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only Sara Barnard book that I’ve read so far!

    Also, The Book Thief is the perfect answer to the prompt about a book that made you cry! I read that book a few years back, and while I don’t think I actually shed a tear (I know, I’m a heartless monster) there was definitely a lot of internal crying!

    And good luck with your reading goals for the second half of the year! Anna Karenina is intense! I’m just impressed that you picked it up to begin with! Also, I loved Strange the Dreamer last year, so I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

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    • Aww, I’m sorry you were disappointed too, though I definitely see why. I completely agree! I feel like the premise was there, but I didn’t care about the characters enough to fully enjoy it.

      Thank you!! It was definitely amazing and I’m glad you loved it too. I’ve read Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard and loved that one just as much as A Quiet Kind of Thunder, and would highly recommend!

      The internal (and external for me, haha) crying on The Book Thief is definitely inevitable…such a beautiful, but also heartbreaking story, it gets me every time.

      Thank you so much, Malka, I really appreciate that!❤️ Haha, my progress with Anna Karenina is quite slow and questionable at the moment. I did however pick up Strange the Dreamer a couple days ago and ended up really loving it, so yay!

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  10. Ahh I love your answers for this tag, Olivia ❤ I'm also really eagerly anticipating Cinderella is Dead, this book just sounds way too good to pass up on, I'm excited to read it!! And it makes me so happy to see you loved Sara Barnard's books so far. I fell in love with A Quiet Kind of Thunder and am so eager to read more from her, hopefully as soon as possible! 🙂
    Happy reading! ❤

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    • Thank you so much, Marie!💗 Ahh, all the excitement for Cinderella is Dead. It looks so good and I hope we both love it. Oh, I also loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder! Another one of hers that I highly recommend is Goodbye, Perfect- I haven’t read any others, but I want to as well because they’ve never failed to be really enjoyable. Thank you again, Marie! Happy reading to you too. xx

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  11. Thank you so much for the tag Olivia!! I have not read many books yet in 2020 but I really like this tag so I will do my best 😅 I am so excited for Clap When You Land too!! Elizabeth Acevedo is incredible. And Lucky Caller sounds amazing, definitely need to read that. I think I felt similarly about The Rest of Us Just Live Here as well—it was a while ago, so I don’t remember much of the plot but I just remember feeling kinda weirded out?? Like it wasn’t what I expected or something idk. Ahh The Book Thief is incredible!! And I adored the Little Women adaptation as well. I think I cried like three times when I watched it.

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    • Ahh, of course!! Haha, no pressure to participate, but if you do, I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading your post.🥰 Lucky Caller was so good! I think you’ll really like it, Emma Mills is just the best at writing great friend groups with witty banter and soft boys. Yes, exactly! A few other people have also commented that they felt the same way about The Rest of Us Just Live Here- I feel like it may be because it was such a focus on ordinary life that there wasn’t really an overarching plot at all, so it felt too ordinary? Haha, me too, I shed so many tears at the Little Women movie, and the first time I saw it I solidly cried for the last thirty-ish minutes. Thank you for this comment, Annie!

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  12. I’m always looking for more good contemporaries so I’ve just added Sara Barnard to my reading list! I also really need to get on with reading some Emma Mills books, I’ve got a copy of Famous in a Small Town and I’m desperate to get to it!

    I’m sad that you didn’t love The Rest of Us Just Live Here because it’s one I’m looking forward to, but I’m still excited because I’m really interested in the premise. (And I just finished Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series which absolutely blew me away.) I think the finale of that (Monsters of Men) is now my favourite book of the year. The plot was incredible and I cried buckets at the ending – always a good sign when a book can make me cry!

    I hope you enjoy everything you read for the second half of the year! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay!! I’ve only read two of her books so far, but I truly loved them both and am excited to hear that you’re interested in her novels as well.💛I also love all of Emma Mills’s novels, and Famous in a Small Town is the perfect place to start- I adore that one!

      Aww, I hope you really enjoy it- if you’re super into the premise, I think you’ll end up liking it more than I did. That’s so awesome that you enjoyed the Chaos Walking series so much! I haven’t read it, but I’ll have to look into it seeing as you loved it so much and I’ve liked other books by Patrick Ness.

      Thank you so much, Abi! The same to you. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. me reading an emma mills book and not falling in love with the love interest? sounds fake.

    i feel like SUCH a fake fan for always talking about how much i love the raven cycle and not having read CDTH yet. so many books to read, so little time. i’m glad you loved it, tho, gives me more of an incentive to read it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I…have never read something so accurate before. It couldn’t be me falling in love with Gideon, August, AND Jamie??

      Ahh, you could never be a fake fan!! CDTH is really, really good though.👀 It had a really great plot and we get more Ronan, which is so exciting. If you do get around to reading it, I hope you love it! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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