Not so long ago I made it a personal mission of mine to be on top of the spoiler game when it came to Book of the Month’s five picks. Until recently, it wasn’t too difficult if you know how to search and decipher a web page’s HTML code.
Of course it was only a matter of time until Book of the Month realized a subset of its members were sleuthing out the titles well before their release on the 1st of every month. Unsurprisingly, the titles are now listed in the HTML code as riddles (hat tip to all the BOTM employees brainstorming these riddles- you’re amazing!) So at this point, all we can do is wonder and speculate- so here are our guesses and why we think we might be right.
*Please keep in mind that these are only guesses. We would love to hear any guesses you may have and your reasoning.
Riddle #1– “Letter to the Editor”Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Published by Dial Press on February 20, 2020
After losing everything, a young boy discovers there are still reasons for hope in this luminous, life-affirming novel, perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Patchett.
In the face of tragedy, what does it take to find joy?
One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.
Edward's story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery--one that will lead him to the answers of some of life's most profound questions: When you've lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
Why It Fits: If I’m being honest this is one of the ones I’m less than certain about. However, the logic stands that Letter begins with “Dear” and the abbreviation of Editor is Ed. Thus we are left with Dear Edward.
Beyond that clue, coming of age has been a common motif in Book of the Month selections, plus it deals with heavier things like grief and big picture questions about the world. All popular motifs among Book of the Month selections
Riddle #2- “Cry Me A…”Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Published by Riverhead Books on January 7, 2020
Two sisters travel the same streets,though their lives couldn't be more different. Then one of them goes missing.
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit--and her sister--before it's too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters' childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.
Why It Fits: It seems pretty clear that “cry me a river” is the intended idiom. While there are a lot of books with River in the title (and cry for those who really want to go down a never ending rabbit hole) this title fits on multiple levels. Based on the plot, the book appears to an emotional roller coaster with feminist themes. Not to mention that an author of a previous Book of the Month selection (Denise Lehane- Since We Fell) provided a raving blurb.
Riddle #3: Stars and Executive StripesRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 14, 2019
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
Why It Fits: I am certain that, out of all these guesses, this prediction will be the most highly debated. Despite the obvious connections to the aforementioned clue I think this also has a probability of being a pick because of Book of the Month’s recent trend of including more romance titles (Bringing Down the Duke, Well Met, Get a Life Chloe Brown).
But wait, you might say, isn’t this a back-list title? Well yes. But that doesn’t rule it out. In the last three years, for the month of December Book of the Month has consistantly selected a back list title as a main pick despite having been released early in the previous year (i.e. Eleanor Oliphant, No Exit, Severance, etc…) There are a lot of reasons for this but, most likely, its because realistically there just aren’t as many books coming out in post-awards season December in anticipation of Gift Card Bonanza January. So maybe I’m wrong but, think about it- wouldn’t a hardcover copy of Red White and Royal Blue be absolutely fabulous?
Riddle #4: 60 Minutes Under the Disco BallThe Glittering Hour by Iona Grey
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on December 10, 2019
An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author
Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her.
Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what's safe over what's right.
Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey's The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.
Why It Fits: Honestly, this one is kind of a given. 60= Hour; Under the Disco Ball= glittering things. Also, another novel about grief (am I sensing a trend?) Not to mention it takes place just before WWII AND to top it off the story spans a significant duration of time (in this case 20 years- see other family sagas such as Ask Again Yes, Be Not Far From Me, etc…).
Riddle #5: The Old Balls and ChainsThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Published by Graydon House on December 30, 2019
Imagine that your husband has two other wives.
You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.
But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.
You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.
Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?
And who is his mysterious third wife?
Why It Fits: Well the first thing to notice is that the clue is plural. Immediately when one thinks of the Ball and Chain we think “marriage”. But, because this is likely Book of the Month’s thriller pick it is rather predictable (and dare I say it-a requirement!) that the title have wife/wives in the title (The Wife Between Us, The English Wife- you just can’t get away from it!) Also, subject content is on point- wife realizes her husband/marriage/life isn’t what she thought it was and chaos ensues until “that” ending “you didn’t see coming”. In all seriousness though, I think this is highly likely as the thriller pick for December.
Alright well those are my guesses for December. Keep in mind these are only guesses. Half the fun is seeing if we’re right or not.
Come back around this time next month for speculation about January’s box and, until then, happy reading!