Well its that time of the month again where we here at Stuck in the Stacks offer up our predictions for next month’s Book of the Month picks. Let us start off by saying that the clues were hard this month! They are all song titles and its difficult to tell if the song title is meant to relate to the plot or the title of the book. Or maybe we’re meant to think of the artist of each song and that’s the clue. They really threw us for a loop this month but we are still doing our best to make some predictions and give our reasoning behind our guesses.
Riddle #1: “Last One Standing”The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
on February 11, 2020
After a storm has killed off all the island's men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.
Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Northern town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband's authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty evil.
As Maren and Ursa are pushed together and are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them with Absalom's iron rule threatening Vardø's very existence.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1620 witch trials, THE MERCIES is a feminist story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.
Why It Fits: This was one of the hardest clues out of the bunch and we are still throwing titles around behind the scenes but we finally agreed that The Mercies by Kiran Milwood Hargrave seems the most plausible. Its the story of an isolated Norwegian village in which all the men die in a tragic accident and the women are left to fend for themselves. Based on true events, stylistically this feels like a title true to form for Book of the Month.
Riddle #2: “Don’t Stop Believin”The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Published by Ballantine Books on March 3, 2020
In this next captivating love story from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December, a young woman is reunited with her late fiancé in a parallel life. But is this happy ending the one she really wants?
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They'd been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.
But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it's just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life--and perhaps even love--again.
But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.
Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there's an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there's someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.
Written with Josie Silver's trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life's crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.
Why It Fits: Ok, this one is one we are really taking a shot in the dark. We haven’t found anything that makes us think “AHA THAT’S IT!” but this definitely seems like a solid guess. Josie Silver is a repeat author — she also wrote One Day in December. It’s a romance, and there aren’t really any other romances picked this month. Plus, the plot description fits where she won’t stop believing that she and her (now dead) fiance can be together. It’s definitely the best we’ve got and we can’t wait to see what the pick is for this one!
Other Possible Titles: The only other really good argument I’ve seen for this one is American Dirt, which we think fits better under another clue. That said, American Dirt is about a Journey (get it) and would be a later release than Book of the Month usually does (hence, don’t stop believing).
Riddle #3: “We’re All In This Together”You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 3, 2020
The thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of An Anonymous Girl and The Wife Between Us.
You probably know someone like Shay Miller.She wants to find love, but it eludes her.She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.
You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.They have an unbreakable circle of friends.They live the most glamorous life.They always get what they desire.
Shay thinks she wants their life.But what they really want is hers.
Why It Fits: Okay, nobody panic but we are pretty sure we have this one nailed down. Fortunately for the world, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have a book coming out at the beginning of March. They are past authors for Book of the Month, which definitely helps since BOTM tends to repeat authors. Since Book of the Month has been including at least one early release, we think You are Not Alone is going to be February early release
Other Possible Titles: Nope! We are going all in on this one!
Riddle #4: “Take the A Train”American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Published by Flatiron Books on January 21, 2020
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Why It Fits: Now we know what all of you are saying, that American Dirt as a pick is wishful thinking since it is a January release, but we at Stuck in the Stacks believe in dreams so we are predicting that American Dirt will be a February pick. But this just seems to fit so well — our reasons aren’t just grounded in hopes and dreams. First, the plot just screams BOTM pick, as do the various blurbs and reviews. Second, the characters literally takes a train to America. America starts with A! A Train!! And finally, it was recently announced that Jenna Bush from the Today show will be picking one of the monthly selections and rumor has it she might pick American Dirt for February.
Other Possible Titles: That’s another reason we’re sticking with this one — we haven’t seen another really good book proposed. Some have suggested Alice by Heart by Steven Sater, but it hasn’t fully convinced us.
Riddle #5: “Can You Hear Me?”The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
on February 25, 2020
A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to get an education so that she can escape and choose her own future. Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a "louding voice"--the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni's father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.
When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.
But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can--in a whisper, in song, in broken English--until she is heard.
Why It Fits: From top to bottom The Girl with the Louding Voice is a perfect fit for Book of the Month. Literary fiction with a strong woman of color by an ownvoices author about a protagonist who seeks to overcome her circumstance and subvert culture norms by bettering herself despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Also, there are only four YA titles available in the source code and its possible that this could be the missing YA pick since the protagonist is 14 at the opening of the story. AND it’s been blurbed by amazing authors from Jeanine Cummins to Imbolo Mbue, so basically we are also super confident about this one!
Other Possible Titles: Nope! All in on this one, too!
What About You?
What do you think of our picks? Agree or disagree? If we are right, are there any you are excited about? Anything you wish was a pick? We can’t wait to chat with you about it!