Hello everyone! As I’m sure you’ve seen, the December picks for Book of the Month have been confirmed and our predictions were correct. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the adult picks (YA coming soon!). We have combed countless reviews- both positive and negative- and distilled all of it down to provide a spoiler-free description of each book so you can make the most informed decision about which book(s) are the right fit for you.
Let us know in the comments what you’re thinking or if there is anything you would like us to include in our quick takes in the future. Now, without further ado, here are the picks.Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Published by Dial Press on January 6, 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.
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
At A Glance: Told in two alternating timelines (1- the flight, 2- the subsequent years after the accident), this novel walks the darker side of “survivor’s guilt” and, while it purports to present an optimistic and hopeful picture post accident, explores the bleaker, more depressing side of grief and loss. So if that, in any way, sounds triggering to you, this might be a book better checked out from the library than purchased through Book of the Month.
Spine Logo: Yes
Comparable BOTM Titles: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Brynn Greenwood; The Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
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.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
At A Glance: A gritty mystery that takes an honest look at opioid addiction and the impact it has not only on those addicted, but the loved ones of addicts as well. Clocking in at almost 500 pages, this book is simultaneously a gritty and uncomfortable story with an extremely relevant and timely message.
Spine Logo: Yes
Comparable BOTM Titles: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell; The Whisper Man by Alex North
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.
The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey
At A Glance: a pre-WWII historical fiction with a daul-timeline narrative and plenty of emotion to pack a punch and leave you teary-eyed. It is a love story that spans decades not only between lovers but also between a mother and daughter. It can be dense in places but if you love a good historical fiction you won’t want to pass over this one.
Spine Logo: Yes
Comparable BOTM Titles: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid; The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
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?
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
At A Glance: A psychological thriller that *unsurprisingly* has “wife” in the title. Requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. It claims to have some crazy twists, but doesn’t every thriller? The answer is yes. Do I think you should read this book because it sounds super unique? Also, yes.
Spine Logo: Yes
Comparable BOTM Titles: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekenan (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself); The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
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?
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
At A Glance: A new adult (not YA!) m/m romance with racially diverse characters and strong political commentary. Quirky and fun, this book sounds like rays of sunshine packaged in book form. Plus, Book of the Month is the only one offering a hardback version. That, in itself, is worth it to me.
Spine Logo: Yes
Comparable BOTM Titles: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi; Frankly In Love by David Yoon
So What Are You Thinking?
Let us know in the comments which of the five picks you are planning on putting in your box this month!