Book of the Month At A Glance- May 2020

Posted April 27, 2020 by stuckint in BOTM / 10 Comments

Well the May picks are confirmed and that means we’re coming at you with our At A Glance where we wade through countless reviews to provide you the vital information you need to select the BOTM pick(s) that are right for you.

It looks like for May there are going to be extra picks/add ons which is awesome. As always, let us know what you think you’ll be getting in the comments!

Main Picks

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here by Emma Straub
on May 5, 2020

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?
Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is intentionally pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.
In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

At A Glance: This novel takes a close look at an extremely dysfunctional family. When 68 year old Astrid witnesses the sudden and accidental death of an aquientence she reevaluates her parenting decades before. The story follows Astrid and her now adult children and adolescent grandchildren all struggling with their own issues. This book looks at the consequences of parenting and asks hard questions about how our familial relationships shape our lives. Most reviewers either love it or hate it, describing it as more of a character study with little to no plot. It examines a plethora of social issues that some reviewers felt were a bit heavy handed. Told from multiple POVs others have described All Adults here as funny, honest and charming.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng; A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
on March 10, 2020

In her most revealing and powerful book yet, the beloved activist, speaker, and author of the bestselling sensations Love Warrior and Carry On, Warrior explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and start trusting the voice deep within us. 
Untamed will liberate women—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I believe Glennon was born to write this book, just this way, at just this moment in history. It is phenomenal.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of City of Girls and Eat Pray Love 

This is how you find yourself.
There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful. We hide our simmering discontent—even from ourselves. Until we reach our boiling point.
Four years ago, Glennon Doyle—bestselling Oprah-endorsed author, renowned activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. Soon she realized that they came to her from within.
Glennon was finally hearing her own voice—the voice that had been silenced by decades of cultural conditioning, numbing addictions, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl Glennon had been before the world told her who to be. She vowed to never again abandon herself. She decided to build a life of her own—one based on her individual desire, intuition, and imagination. She would reclaim her true, untamed self.
Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both a memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It offers a piercing, electrifying examination of the restrictive expectations women are issued from birth; shows how hustling to meet those expectations leaves women feeling dissatisfied and lost; and reveals that when we quit abandoning ourselves and instead abandon the world’s expectations of us, we become women who can finally look at ourselves and recognize: There She Is.
Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

At A Glance: Untamed is a powerful memoir about women finding their voices and speaking out. A sort of follow up to her previous work: Love Warrior Doyle writes about the lessons she has learned since Love Warrior. Where Love Warrior was written at a place of pain of struggle most reviewers are lauding Doyle’s recent memoir as strong and passionate. The negative reviews do say that some it does get a bit redundant but if you love a good feminist memoir you’ll definitely want to pick this one up.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: Hunger by Roxane Gay; Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The Knockout Queen

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
on April 28, 2020

Rufi Thorpe returns to the subject that made her debut novel The Girls from Corona del Mar so endlessly compelling: the complexity and urgency of best friendship. In The Knockout Queen two unlikely friends form an alliance—a slight, hyper-intelligent gay teen named Michael Hesketh and his next-door neighbor, the remarkably tall Bunny Lampert. Each is antagonized for their differences—Michael for being attracted to the “wrong” people (much older men from the Internet) and Bunny for having the “wrong” body, one with a strength she can’t always control. As their bond intensifies, an accidental act of violence leaves both characters, and their friendship, forever transformed.
The Knockout Queen is about the lengths we go to protect our friends, and what happens when the binding threads of love are stretched to their snapping point. This is Rufi Thorpe at her finest: intoxicatingly charismatic storytelling, a compelling, seductive talent with every sentence.

At A Glance: While the characters in this novel are young adults, I would not categorize The Knockout Queen as YA. This book about two teens growing up in difficult circumstances and trying to find themselves is at once dark but also comedic in tone. While this is more of a character driven novel there are some plot points that drive the story and move things along. The book also features a gay protagonist Michael and a female athlete (Bunny). Reviewers are raving about this moving, gritty coming of age story so if that’s your jam (like it is mine) you need to add this to your box.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: Normal People by Sally Rooney; All The Ugly And Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
on June 9, 2020

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they've all been duped by the same man.
Samiah Brooks never thought she would be "that" girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she's been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other "girlfriends," London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .
For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she's always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there's no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

At A Glance: This rom-com follows three women who, via Twitter, realize they were all played by the same guy. When the girls develop a friendship they set the goal to focus on themselves and pursue their dreams. But just when Samiah dives into her career she falls for a guy at work. Like many romances the plot is fairly predictable but the character ate rational, logical and competent. There are a handful of sexual scenes so if that isn’t for you this might not be a good pick. However, if you love a good romance, you won’t want to miss this one!

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang; Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
on May 5, 2020

Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, in which a woman’s brutal murder reveals the perilous compromises some couples make—and the secrets they keep—in order to stay together.
Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.
No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.
The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.
As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

At A Glance: This is a domestic thriller and before you scroll on because you are tired of domestic suspsense, know that reviewers who acknowledge the ubiqitousness of such novels loved this book. The book follows a husband who is accused of his wife’s murder and calls on our protagonist Lizzie to represent him in court. Reviewers describe it as: smart, sharp and layered. Noteably, there are little twists and reveals throughout novel, giving McCreight’s latest work a page-turner like quality that doesn’t hold back until the last ten pages. It’s a bit lengthy, about 400 pages, but it’s worth picking up if you (like me) are craving a good thriller.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena; The Wives by Tarryn Fisher


The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
on April 21, 2020

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.
In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.
Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.
Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

At A Glance: Out of all the titles on this list this one is the most unique. Kidd has written a novel about the “the wife of Jesus” and the book details Ana and the time she spent married to one of the most influential people in history. While this is a work of fiction Kidd has done extensive research into the historical context of 1st century Israel. Reviewing are praising Kidd for writing a strong, powerful protagonist. This is not meant to be a book about the theological Christ of Christianity but turns Jesus into a historical character with the story focused on Ana, a tenacious woman desiring to be seen, heard and listened to.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner; Witches by Stacy Schiff

Happy & You Know It by Lauren Hankin

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
on May 19, 2020

A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….
After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.
There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.
Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

At A Glance: Dark and witty this page turner follows a struggling musician who agrees to work for a group of moms that isn’t your regular “mommy and me” group. It’s at once funny, intense and contains a dash of mystery. While the characters aren’t necessarily likeable many have said that, like a train wreck, you just can’t look away. Basically if you like a good bit of gossip, you will love this book. There are plenty of secrets and with multiple POVs, despite a slow start, there is plenty to keep you turning the pages.

Spine Logo: Yes

Comparable BOTM Titles: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy; The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
on May 5, 2020

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “nothing short of brilliant” (People) Mrs. Everything returns with an unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

At A Glance: The book follows friends Drue and Daphne who, at the start of the novel, have grown apart and gone on to live their lives. When they reenter each other’s lives again they dive into the complexities of female friendship and figuring out who you are (seems like a trend for May’s picks). Buried in some of the reviews is mentions of a murder mystery sub plot so if your looking for a good summer read about identity, complex relationship, and surprising turns, Weiner’s latest is definitely one to add to your box.

Spine Logo: No

Comparable BOTM Titles: If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman; That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell

What About You?

What do you think of the picks? Which books do you think you’ll be adding to your box? Let me know in the comments!

10 responses to “Book of the Month At A Glance- May 2020

  1. Rebekah

    I’m almost certain I’ll be getting All Adults Here as my main pick. I loved Modern Lovers when I read it a few years ago, I really like family dramas, and I’ve found lately that mixed reviews usually mean I’m going to like it. I loved A Good Neighborhood. Add-ons are where things get tricky. I want all of April’s books, so I was just going to get The Guest List and Valentine, but now I think I may bump Valentine to next month in favor of either Big Summer or The Boyfriend Project. The make-or-break for me is reading the writing samples BOTM provides and seeing what the judges have to say about why they picked them.

  2. Cori R

    I’m so glad to see The Knockout Queen as a pick. I’ve been recently hearing great things about it! Thank you for this post. I love researching ahead of time so the minute they are released I can pick! Your predictions were good this month too!!!

  3. Jennifer T

    Skip month for me. Third time this year. Just not impressed with their picks this year except for January and April.

    • Beth

      I didn’t skip but wanted to. I was disappointed the predicted Bigfoot book wasn’t a choice. I went with the thriller only because Liberty Hardy recommended it and I wanted to add on Library of Legends and The Paris Hours. Had I not wanted the add-ons, I’d have skipped. I’m tired of thrillers about uber-rich people and feel-good, politically-correct diverse romances.

    • stuckint

      Yeah they are add ons. We were just guessing on which would be the main picks. There were so many options it was hard to nail it down.

      I am still fairly certain that All Adults Here will be Jenna’s pick.

  4. Kristen

    I chose Happy and You Know It only time get the add ons All Adults Here and The Paris Hours. I was hoping Elizabeth’s Secret would have been one of the choices. I pre-ordered it through Amazon.

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