Happy New Year! (+ 2018 Recap)


A new chapter begins.

Happy New Year, everyone! For me, 2018 was rough, but I am looking forward to embracing this new year as a stronger individual. I can't quite explain it-- perhaps it's just a passing, first-day excitement-- but I can't help but think that this year will be a great one. Before I look forward, though, I took some time to look back at 2018: what I read, what I blogged, and what I experienced.

What I Read: My Favorite Books of 2018

  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson / I am a sucker for mystery novels. In this book, Johnson delivers. Although some sections felt unnecessarily prolonged, the heroine enticed me enough that I want to read the next book in the series.
  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed / I talked about this in my review, but The Nowhere Girls provided me an outlet when sexism especially frustrated me as many women shared their #MeToo stories.
  • Yellow by Frank Wu / I read this book as evidence for a researched argument paper I wrote at the end of my junior year on Asian-Americans in politics, and I found Wu's experiences both relatable and insightful.

  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo / This book offered both a cute, light story and a goal-oriented Korean-American teen I could empathize with. Goo has become one of my favorite young adult authors and I can't wait to read her next release this year.
  • 1984 by George Orwell / I'd been meaning to read this book for a long time, and I'm glad I finally did. The ending left me reeling for at least a week and searching for someone to discuss with. I couldn't help but compare elements of Orwell's dystopia to historical dictatorships and even current events.
  • Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke / Despite being one of the first books I read this year, I can still recall my enjoyment of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, a quick read with a spunky and humorous main character enduring a college reality television show. 

What I Blogged

What I Experienced

  •  On a whim, I started debate with my best friend. We only attended three competitions, but managed to qualify for states in public forum! I had a lot of fun researching and arguing issues with her.
  • I finished another season of musical production team, and this year, managed to coordinate 80 free pizzas for our cast and crew on tech day! This year our show was Spam-a-lot.

  • I had the opportunity to speak at my school's walkout and recognize victims of gun violence in schools.
  • I went to my first school functions: junior prom and senior homecoming. I actually enjoyed them more than I thought I would.
  • I attended West Point's Summer Leadership Experience and the American Legion Auxiliary's Girls' State. Both were demanding camps, but I am stronger because of them.

  • I ran my senior cross country season! Although my times were a lot slower than I had anticipated (which I later learned-- I was diagnosed with anemia this year), I enjoyed finishing the season with the teammates I started with.
  • I performed with my school's select choral group, the Wildcat Singers, at the Governor's Mansion. I had a lot of fun caroling with them before the holidays.
  • I accompanied my school's fall play, The Hounds of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery on the piano to an original score my friend composed himself.

  • I received my first physical advanced reader copies. (Thank you Lili!)
  • I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a language department field trip and saw beautiful pieces we had talked about in class.
  • I applied to college! (And now, to wait for results...)
I hope you all had a wonderful new year's day! I am so grateful for your continued support. Here's to more great reads in 2019. 


  1. Claire, this post made me so happy! You accomplished such amazing things in 2018! High school in my country definitely isn't as fun, and there weren't many extracurriculars available, so I'm glad you had a great time at play, debate and homecoming!
    I've also completed my college entrance exams back in 2018 (there's only one left for 2019!) and hopefully I'll be getting the results soon. It is a stressful time, because I can't stop thinking about whether or not I'll get in, but also freeing to think that for the next few weeks, I don't have to worry about anything: not school, not college, not work... It's a bittersweet feeling.
    Wishing you good luck on your applications and an overall amazing 2019!

    1. Thank you so much, Lais! Congratulations on completing your college entrance exams. I'm wishing you the best of luck!

  2. Glad you had a good year! I have yet to read 1984 but it is the one classic I have high hopes I will like. Hope you reach all your goals in 2019 :)

  3. 2018 was pretty rough for me too but I hope we both tackle 2019 with all the love and strength we have <3 I have 1984 sitting on my bookshelf for the longest of time and I can't wait to read it finally this year. I'm happy you enjoyed so may good titles last year. And your experiences look so much fun! All the best for the new year <3

    1. Cheers to a better 2019, Fanna! I hope you enjoy 1984 as well :)

  4. It sounds like you had a busy year. I love the photos. Good luck with getting into college. Happy 2019!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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