Hello everyone and welcome back to another What’s In The Box post, where I make predictions for next month’s Book of the Month picks.
February is a short month so I definitely wanted to have my predictions up before now, but hopefully people enjoy them regardless.
As always, keep in mind that these are simply guesses and I could get most or all of them wrong. Be that as it may, I hope my guesses get you excited for the month and bring some under the radar titles to your attention.
Are We There Yet by Kathleen WestAre We There Yet? by Kathleen West
Published by Berkley Books on March 16, 2021
Among fake Instagram pages, long-buried family secrets, and the horrors of middle school, one suburban mom searches to find herself in a heartfelt and thought-provoking novel from the author of Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes.
Alice Sullivan feels like she's finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son's school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.
When it comes to light that the incident is part of a new behavior pattern for her son, one complete with fake social media profiles with a lot of questionable content, Alice's social standing is quickly eroded to one of "those moms" who can't control her kids. Soon she's facing the very judgement she was all too happy to dole out when she thought no one was looking (or when she thought her house wasn't made of glass).
Then her mother unloads a family secret she's kept for more than thirty years, and Alice's entire perception of herself is shattered.
As her son's new reputation polarizes her friendships and her family buzzes with the ramification of her mother's choices, Alice realizes that she's been too focused on measuring her success and happiness by everyone else's standards. Now, with all her shortcomings laid bare, she'll have to figure out to whom to turn for help and decide who she really wants to be.
This contemporary novel is a wry and witty examination of parenthood. As Stephanie Wrobel (Darling Rose Gold) puts it, Are We There Yet is a sharp, social commentary packaged as a family drama. There are so many themes in Are We There Yet which are shared by other popular Book of the Month titles including, a scathing look at the perceived perfection of wealthy surburbia, parents behaving badly, and plenty of family secrets. Not to mention the fact that it is blurbed by a handful of past Book of the Month authors: Julie Clark (The Last Flight), Laura Hanlon (Happy & You Know It), and Bruce Holsinger (The Gifted School).
What’s Mine And Yours by Naima CosterWhat's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 2, 2021
From the author of Halsey Street, a sweeping novel of legacy, identity, the American family-and the ways that race affects even our most intimate relationships.
A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the span of the next twenty years.
On one side of the integration debate is Jade, Gee's steely, ambitious mother. In the aftermath of a harrowing loss, she is determined to give her son the tools he'll need to survive in America as a sensitive, anxious, young Black man. On the other side is Noelle's headstrong mother, Lacey May, a white woman who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. She strives to protect them as she couldn't protect herself from the influence of their charming but unreliable father, Robbie.
When Gee and Noelle join the school play meant to bridge the divide between new and old students, their paths collide, and their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that will shape the trajectory of their adult lives. And their mothers-each determined to see her child inherit a better life-will make choices that will haunt them for decades to come.
As love is built and lost, and the past never too far behind, What's Mine and Yours is an expansive, vibrant tapestry that moves between the years, from the foothills of North Carolina, to Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Paris. It explores the unique organism that is every family: what breaks them apart and how they come back together.
There are lots of reasons why this contemporary novel will more than likely be a pick next month, not the least of which is the fact that the author let it slip that it would be. Beyond these telling hints, What’s Mine And Yours is a novel that deals with issues of family legacy, identity and systemic racism. This contemporary is all about the desegregation of a North Carolina county. There is so much to love about this novel from it’s searing social commentary to plenty of family secrets and the complexities of parenting. Additionally, What’s Mine And Yours is blurbed by past Book of the Month authors: Mary Beth Keane (Ask Again Yes), Angie Cruz (Dominicana), Lisa Ko (The Leavers), Rachel Khong (Goodbye Vitamin), and Patricia Engel (Infinite Country).
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. SutantoDial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Published by Berkley on April 27, 2021
A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.
1 (accidental) murder2 thousand wedding guests3 (maybe) cursed generations4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!
When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.
But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?
Story Locale: Southern California
This one might be a long shot because it’s a late April release, but we’ve had some other very early releases, so I don’t think it’s too out there to hope for it. This is definitely a lighter read compared to some of the other books on this list. Essentially, Dial A for Aunties tells the story of four asian aunties determined to hide the body of a murder that threatens to ruin a family wedding. Full of humor, chaos and delightful hijinks, Dial A for auntie is a wonderfully diverse contemporary that examines the complexities of big families, how past life choice change our futures, and what it truly means to belong. While this one isn’t blurbed by any previous BOTM authors, it definitely sounds likes it’s right up Book of the Month’s alley thematically.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah PennerThe Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Published by Park Row on March 2, 2021
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course
Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
I feel like everyone and their dog (no not you Winston) wants this to be a selection next month. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the plot sounds super intrigueing. The Lost Apothecary tells the story of a rumored shop that sells poisons to women, meant for the oppressive men in their lives. Told in two alternating timelines, the present timeline follows a woman determined to understand what exactly happened with this mysterious apothecary almost 200 years ago. While it’s not blurbed by any past Book of the Month authors, thematically it shares a lot of similarities with previous Book of the Month picks including the dual timelines, an amateur sleuth solving a bigger mystery, and woman overcoming oppressive situations.
Libertie by Kaitlyn GreenidgeLibertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Published by Algonquin Books on March 30, 2021
The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with an unforgettable story about the meaning of freedom. Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come. Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new novel resonates in our times and is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett, Min Jin Lee, and Yaa Gyasi.
Inspired by true events surrounding one of the first black female doctors, Libertie should be on everyone’s TBRS. It follows Libertie, the daughter of one of the first black female physician, weighed down by the expectation is medical school while Libertie’s heart lies in music and the arts. When Libertie tries to forge her own path and marries a Haitian man, she discovers a new kind of subservience. It will be a pick for Roxane Gay’s book club and is blurbed by well known authors like Jaqueline Woodson and Brandon Taylor. This coming of age tale asks hard questions about what it means to be a black woman in white spaces and what true freedom looks like.
The Committed by Viet Thanh NguyenThe Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Published by Grove Press on March 2, 2021
The long-awaited new novel from one of America’s most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris as a refugee. There he and his blood brother Bon try to escape their pasts and prepare for their futures by turning their hands to capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. No longer in physical danger, but still inwardly tortured by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, and struggling to assimilate into a dominant culture, the Sympathizer is both charmed and disturbed by Paris. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals and politicians who frequent dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese “aunt,” he finds not just stimulation for his mind but also customers for his merchandise―but the new life he is making has dangers he has not foreseen, from the oppression of the state, to the self-torture of addiction, to the seemingly unresolvable paradox of how he can reunite his two closest friends, men whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition.
Both literary thriller and brilliant novel of ideas, The Committed is a blistering portrayal of commitment and betrayal that will cement Viet Thanh Nguyen’s position in the firmament of American letters
The Sympathizer was an extra so many months ago. Consequently, I would not be surprised if the author’s follow up novel appears as some kind of pick, either as an add on or a main choice. In this follow up to The Sympathizer, our intrepid narrator attempts to make a life for himself after escaping the events of the first novel and fleeing to Paris and finds himself entangled in drug trafficking. The first book won the Pulitzer in 2016 and The Committed promises just as much literary merit and compelling plot. The Committed is high literary fiction with some thriller elements and while I don’t want to get too much into the plot because spoilers, but it is worth noting that The Committed is blurbed by Laila Lalami (The Moor’s Account) so maybe we’ll get a blurb from her if this one ends up being an option.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo MbueHow Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
on March 9, 2021
From the celebrated author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, comes a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an America oil company.
"We should have known the end was near."
So begins Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company.
Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle would last for decades and come at a steep price.
Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
"The unforgettable story of a community on the wrong end of Western greed, How Beautiful We Were will enthrall you, appall you, and show you what is possible when a few people stand up and say this is not right. A masterful novel by a spellbinding writer engaged with the most urgent questions of our day.”—David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The Danish Girl
Mbue’s debut took the bookish world by storm and her second novel holds similar promise. How Beautiful We Were follows the families living in a fictional African village ravaged by the consequences of an oil company, determined to make a profit at any cost. I know I thought this could be a pick for February, I am almost certain it will be a March pick, but we shall see. This novel is perfect for those who loved past Book of the Month picks like The Death of Vivek Oji and The Girl With The Louding Voice.
The Recent East by Thomas GrattanThe Recent East by Thomas Grattan
Published by MCD on March 9, 2021
One of O, the Oprah Magazine, Refinery29, and The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2021, one of Goodreads's 75 Debut Novels to Discover in 2021, and one of The Advocate's 22 LGBTQ+ Books You Absolutely Need to Read This Year
A sprawling, captivating story of identity, displacement, family, and belonging, Thomas Grattan's debut novel is at turns heart-breaking and life-affirming, a necessary reminder of the different ways we can find, or create, a home for ourselves. --Refinery29An extraordinary family saga following a mother and two teens as they navigate a new life in East Germany
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Beate Haas, who defected from East Germany as a child, is notified that her parents' abandoned mansion is available for her to reclaim. Newly divorced and eager to escape her bleak life in upstate New York, where she moved as an adult, she arrives with her two teenagers to discover a city that has become an unrecognizable ghost town. The move fractures the siblings' close relationship, as Michael, free to be gay, takes to looting empty houses and partying with wannabe anarchists, while Adela, fascinated with the horrors of the Holocaust, buries herself in books and finds companionship in a previously unknown cousin. Over time, the town itself changes--from dismantled city to refugee haven and neo-Nazi hotbed, and eventually to a desirable seaside resort town. In the midst of that change, two episodes of devastating, fateful violence come to define the family forever.
Moving seamlessly through decades and between the thoughts and lives of several unforgettable characters, Thomas Grattan's spellbinding novel is a multigenerational epic that illuminates what it means to leave home, and what it means to return. Masterfully crafted with humor, gorgeous prose, and a powerful understanding of history and heritage, The Recent East is the profoundly affecting story of a family upended by displacement and loss, and the extraordinary debut of an empathetic and ambitious storyteller.
The Recent East is another title on the list that just sounds like a Book of the Month pick. This is a sprawling novel in that it spans decades and follows a handful of compelling characters. At the center of the story is Beate and her two teenaged sons who return to East Germany after the Berlin wall comes down. The story spans decades and follows numerous complex family relationships, including that of siblings Beate and Michael. This historical novel is also blurbed by past Book of the Month author Etaf Rum (A Woman Is No Man) and lends itself well to the possibility of it being a pick. Not to mention that Book of the Month absolutely adores family sagas and The Recent East definitely fits the bill.
The Lost Village by Camilla StenThe Lost Village by Camilla Sten
Published by Minotaur Books on March 23, 2021
The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth…But what if it finds them first?
This one might be wishful thinking but I want it to be a pick so badly that I’m including it on the list. This hangs out comfortably on the horror side of things but since Book of the Month has picked horror leaning reads in the past (Mexican Gothic, Imaginary Friend, etc…) and it’s been a while– my fingers are crossed. For any horror fans out there, it is described as Midsommer meets The Blaire Witch Project. It essentially follows a documentary film crew who sets out to uncover the truth of a village that is rumored to have vanished. But as soon as they arrive on location creepy things start happening, from malfunctioning equipment to disappearing crew. It sounds delightfully creepy and is blurbed T. Evardson (A Nearly Normal Family) which connects inadvertantly to Book of the Month.
Mirrorland by Carole JohnstoneMirrorland by Carole Johnstone
Published by Scribner on April 20, 2021
A searing and exhilarating new collection from the award-winning author of
The Boys of My Youth
who “honors the beautiful, the sacred, and the comic in life” (Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award–winner for
When “The Fourth State of Matter,” her now famous piece about a workplace massacre at the University of Iowa was published in The New Yorker, Jo Ann Beard immediately became one of the most influential writers in America, forging a path for a new generation of young authors willing to combine the dexterity of fiction with the rigors of memory and reportage, and in the process extending the range of possibility for the essay form. Now, with Festival Days, Beard brings us the culmination of her groundbreaking work. In these nine pieces, she captures both the small, luminous moments of daily existence and those instants when life and death hang in the balance, ranging from the death of a beloved dog to a relentlessly readable account of a New York artist trapped inside a burning building, as well as two triumphant, celebrated pieces of short fiction. Here is an unforgettable collection destined to be embraced and debated by readers and writers, teachers and students. Anchored by the title piece––a searing journey through India that brings into focus questions of mortality and love—Festival Days presents Beard at the height of her powers, using her flawless prose to reveal all that is tender and timeless beneath the way we live now.
So there I was, at work, minding my own business and doing what I do at my library job when I casually looked at our “grab a book” shelf in the break room. And that’s when I saw her. Mirrorland by Carole Johnson. It’s a thriller/psychological suspense novel coming out in mid April and beyond the synopsis seeling it as a likely BOTM choice it is blurbed by so many previous BOTM authors including: Ruth Ware, Greer Hendricks, Anna Pitoniak (Necessary People), and Sarah Pinborough (Behind Her Eyes) . Mirrorland is a dark compulsively readable mystery that explores the power of imagination and the price of independence.
The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnThe Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Erin Mallon, Alex Allwine
on March 9, 2021
Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.
A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.
Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.
This title is a super interesting one for the list. It’s a psychological thriller and I feel like every month there has to at least one making arguably impossible promises. The Girls Are All So Nice Here is par the course for the kinds of thriller Book of the Month likes to include. The book follows two timelines: Amb’s and Sully’s freshman year and the ten year reunion where the women reconnect. At the heart of this novel is a mystery and the unintended consequences of past choices. While it’s not blurbed by any past Book of the Month authors it’s a thriller showcasing female friendship, plenty of secrets, and a handful of twists that will keep you guessing until the last page.
Second First Impressions by Sally ThorneSecond First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow on April 13, 2021
Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.
From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.
While Thorne is a popular author there are numerous reasons I think her forthcoming novel Second First Impressions could be a March pick. Like so many romance selections before it, the story features a free spirited, bad boy named Prescott and the less than impressed Ruthie who has her own ideas about how things should go. This anticipated rom com is also blurbed by repeat Book of the Month author: Emily Henry and features an enemy to lovers trope that I feel is quite common in rom-com Book of the Month selections.
Float Plan by Trish DollerFloat Plan by Trish Doller
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 2, 2021
Critically acclaimed author Trish Doller's unforgettable and romantic adult debut about setting sail, starting over, and finding yourself.
Since the loss of her fiancé, Anna has spent the last year foundering on land, shipwrecked by her grief and inability to move on. But when a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take, she impulsively sets off in their sailboat, intending to complete the planned voyage around the Caribbean that Ben had mapped out for them.
But after a treacherous night's sail and a brush with an ocean tanker, she decides she can’t do it alone, and hires a professional sailor to help her get to Puerto Rico. Much like her, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned, and he can’t refuse her offer. Together they find a way to rebuild their lives and the possibility of new love.
I have to confess that I had a really hard time nailing down what romance titles I felt were good March Book of the Month options So I decided to pick two romances that I’m really excited about it. This is a forced proximity romance set at sea as recently heartbroken Anna sets sail for the Caribbean, Realizing she can’t make the trip alone she hires help in the form of the handsome Keane. Who she rather despises. It sounds like the perfect escape from the cold winter months.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo IsharguroKlara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published by Knopf on March 2, 2021
Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.
Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: What does it mean to love?
I can hear you already. Haley, Isharguro is too popular of an author– he’s won a nobel prize. But listen. Book of the Month has picked books like The Sympathizer, All The Light We Cannot See and The Goldfinch– all of which have all won the Pulitzer. Not to mention featuring winners of the National Book Award: Jesmyn Ward and Louise Erdrich. In short, I don’t think we can discount Klara and the Sun as a potential pick sheerly on the basis of the author’s notoriety. Klara and the Sun features an AI who is longing to be purchased. The novel asks interesting questions about our humanity and what it means to love another.
In the Quick by Kate Hope DayIn the Quick by Kate Hope Day
Published by Random House on March 2, 2021
A young, ambitious female astronaut's life is upended by a fiery love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew in this brilliantly imagined novel in the tradition of Station Eleven and The Martian.
June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle's fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.
She seeks out James, her uncle's former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry's fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell's fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they've worked so hard to create--and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.
Equal parts gripping narrative of scientific discovery and charged love story, In the Quick is an exploration of the strengths and limits of human ability in the face of hardship and the costs of human ingenuity. At its beating heart are June and James, whose love for each other is eclipsed only by their drive to conquer the challenges of space travel.
Some have said that this won’t be a pick because the author claimed she had no knowledge of it as a March selection but honestly, I think that the majority of the time, authors don’t know if their book will be a pick or not, so I’m putting it on the list regardless. This one is for all the Stations Eleven and Martian fans out there- two titles that were selected by Book of the Month previously. This is hard sci fi that is as much about friendship and romance as it is about solving the mystery of a missing crew and their ship. Beyond it’s enticing plot and beautiful prose, In the Quick is blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors Ann Napolitano (Dear Edward) and Angie Kim (Miracle Creek). I think we are overdue for a sci fi picks so one can only hope.
What About You?
What do you think of my predictions? If any of these are picks what will you be adding to your box? Let me know in the comments!