Well we had a scare there, wondering if we were going to be able to confirm our guesses before the spoilers actually dropped at the end of the week, but thanks to @erinevelynreads we figured out yet another way to confirm the picks and here we are!
We are also excited because our prediction post was pretty good this month, even though the clues were more difficult! We were right on the three we were willing to go all in on, another was in our options list, and ok we totally whiffed on the fifth. But now, without further ado, the actual confirmed selections!
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi DareThe Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
on February 4, 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.
At A Glance: This one is not a surprise and its definitely one that both Emily and I will be adding to our boxes. This novel follows the efforts of a young Nigerian woman as she subverts economic circumstance and class expectations to seek an education. It’s going to be an important novel by a powerful, ownvoice, debut author. If you love literary fiction that tackles important and relevant social issues, definitely add this one to your box!
Spine Logo: Yes
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendrick and Sarah PekannanYou Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 3, 2020
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.
At A Glance: Also not a surprise, the third novel by this author-editor duo is sure to please the thriller lovers out there. This seems to be a divergence from the duo’s usual style of domestic thriller and instead centers on toxic female relationships. A lot of reviewers are saying that it has nothing to do with marriage, divorce, or affairs which may feel like a breath of fresh air for some.
Spine Logo: Yes
The Holdout by Graham MooreThe Holdout by Graham Moore
Published by Random House on February 18, 2020
In this twisty tale from Moore (The Sherlockian), the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game, young juror Maya Seale is convinced that African American high school teacher Bobby Nock is innocent of killing the wealthy white female student with whom he appears to have been involved and persuades her fellow jurors likewise. Ten years later, a true-crime docuseries reassembles the jurors, and Maya, now a defense attorney, must prove her own innocence when one of them is found dead in Maya's room.
At A Glance: Perfect for fans of true crime, this one sounds so good to both of us! It starts ten years in the past with the “trial of the century” where African American defendant Bobby Nock is accused of murdering a white woman. One juror believes in his innocence and thanks to her, he is acquitted. Ten years later, a true crime focused documentary gets the jury back together again and one of them is found dead in the holdout’s room. This sounds like a really captivating legal thriller. Early reviews say it has twists and turns and provides some important commentary on race and the legal system and the media circus it can become.
Spine Logo: Yes
Anna K by Jenny LeeAnna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
Published by Flatiron Books on March 3, 2020
Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.
Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna's brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
At A Glance: Ok, this is the one we totally whiffed on, and I’m still not sure how it fits the clue “Don’t Stop Believin'”? Maybe it doesn’t and this one is “Take the A Train” and American Dirt was “Don’t Stop Believin'”? Anyway, this is a retelling of Anna Karenina (one of Emily’s favorite classics!) set in New York City with a more diverse cast of characters. Readers have called it Gossip Girl meets Classic Literature and pure escapism. It’s the story of a first love and first heartbreak set among the privileged youth of New York City. Given the original text, I’m sure there will be lots of crazy stuff going on in this one!
Spine Logo: Yes
American Dirt by Jeanine CumminsAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Published by Flatiron Books on January 21, 2020
También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.
Lydia Quixano Pérez 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 a few 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.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
At A Glance: I mean. What else is there to say about this one? It’s in turns been hailed as the next Catcher in the Rye and was picked for Oprah’s Book Club, but also been lambasted for perpetuating harmful stereotypes and co-opting Latinx voices. I think Emily and I have decided to skip this one based on the ownvoice reader feedback, but maybe check out some ownvoice Latinx novels that we recommend here?
Spine Logo: Yes
What do you think of these picks? Which one(s) will you be adding to your box? Let us know in the comments!