What’s In The Box!- May 2021 Predictions

Posted April 22, 2021 by stuckint in Book Subscriptions, BOTM / 17 Comments

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.

Since there are so many good books coming out in May and June this is a slightly longer list than what I like to do. I also included a handful of repeat guesses. I am super excited to see what Book of the Month picks. There are so many directions they could go. I hope you enjoy my guesses as much as the actual selections dropping next week- I’m thinking Friday (April 30th).

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.

Contemporary Fiction

A Special Place For Women by Laura Hankin

A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin
Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
Pages: 368

It's a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. But one daring young reporter is about to infiltrate this female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.
For years, rumors have swirled about an exclusive, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: Membership dues cost $1,000 a month. Last time Rihanna was in town, she stopped by and got her aura read. The women even handpicked the city's first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.
That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she's going to break into the club. With her career in freefall, Jillian needs a juicy scoop, and she has a personal interest in bringing these women down. But the deeper she gets into this new world--where billionaire "girlbosses" mingle with the astrology-obsessed--the more Jillian learns that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club's motives or giggle at its outlandish rituals.
The select group of women who populate the club may be far more powerful than she ever imagined.
And far more dangerous too.

Happy and You Know It was a Book of the Month pick last May and with a relatively high rating on the site, it seems quite possible that Hankin’s next novel could make the cut as a selection or add on. A Special Place for Women features a secretive, cult-like society, consisting of the wealthy elite of New York, that is rumored to make some of the most important decisions from politics to the latest fashion trends. Honestly it gives me some serious You Are Not Alone vibes. But if Hendricks and Pekkanen’s latest was not your cup of tea, I still think you will enjoy A Special Place For Women. At the center of the story is a journalist with nothing to lose who infiltrates the group. Reviewers describe Hankin’s novel as funny and sharp with plenty of twists. Not only is Hankin a repeat author, but her forthcoming book is blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors: Emily Henry, Ella Berman (The Comeback), and Hannah Orenstein (Head Over Heels).

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Published by Berkley Books on April 27, 2021
Pages: 320

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.

I am including Dial A for Aunties one more time because there have been a few months where releases from the previous month have been included as one of the five picks- think Firekeeper’s Daughter and Goodnight Beautiful. This is certainly 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 choices 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. I also think Book of the Month’s recent efforts to highlight books by AAPI authors increase the odds. Regardless, I have my copy pre-ordered and cannot wait!

Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Guncle by Steven Rowley
on May 25, 2021
Pages: 336

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
With the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.

This big hearted contemporary novel is perfect for fans of Nothing to See Here and Where’d You Go Bernadette. Guncle is all about Gay Uncle Pat (or GUP as he is affectionately called) who, due to extenuating circumstances, temporarily ends up the guardian of his young niece and nephew. Hijinks ensue as Patrick and the kids navigate a new normal. Funny and heartwarming, Guncle seems like a nice contrast to some of the heavier titles coming out next month. Beyond the common themes of family drama, heartwarming character development, and plenty of hijinks, Guncle is blurbed by past Book of the Month author Camille Perri (When Katie Met Cassidy).

Historical Fiction

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Published by Flatiron Books on May 4, 2021
Pages: 320

A mesmerising retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Perfect for fans of CIRCE, A SONG OF ACHILLES, and THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS.
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

its been a while since Book of the Month has featured a Greek mythology book. Though in the past, they’ve chosen books like Circe and The Silence of the Girls, I think Ariadne would make a fitting addition to the ensemble. The story follows the title’s namesake Ariadne and her effort to escape the life she is expected to lead for the life she wants. With lush writing this feminist reimagining of the classic myth brings the forgotten woman of ancient epic to the forefront. Not only is Ariadne compared to previous Book of the Month author Madeline Miller, it is also blurbed by Yangsze Choo, author of The Night Tiger.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Published by Tordotcom on June 1, 2021
Pages: 272

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

i debated exactly where I should put this retelling of The Great Gatsby. On the one hand, it has fantastical elements, on the other, it highlights a historically significant time al la roaring twenties. This Great Gatsby reimagining focuses on the side character, Jordan Baker, whose queerness and Vietnamese heritage frequently make her an oddity among her peers. Through Jordan’s story, Nghi Vo tackles issues of classicism, sexism, and racism- to name a few. With just a touch of magic to color the tapestry of sweltering parties and suffocating debauchery, Vo breaths new life into a dated classic. The Chosen and the Beautiful is truly as gorgeous as it’s cover. Outside of it’s Book of the Month friendly themes, it is blurbed by Alix E. Harrow, the author of Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Literary Fiction

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Ballantine Books on June 1, 2021
Pages: 384

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six . . . Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.
Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over--especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud--because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own--including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

I think most of us unanimously agree that if Malibu Rising is not a pick, what are we even doing trying to guess what Book of the Month is thinking? Malibu Rising sounds like the epitome of a summer read, spanning a single night, its setting: an end of year summer part in Malibu 1983, lends itself to a feverish and chaotic atmosphere. The story focuses on the Riva siblings, full of secrets, hopes and dreams, all coalescing nto a night that will reveal everything and send the Rivas’ mansion up in flames. Not only is Reid a Book of the Month darling, but Malibu Rising is also blurbed by past Book of the Month author, Elin Hilderbrand. If I’m sure of nothing else on this list, it’s that Malibu Rising will be a May or June pick.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Published by Atria Books on June 1, 2021
Pages: 368

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.

The Other Black Girl s going to be one of the hottest titles of the summer. I cannot tell you the amount of promotional stuff we have gotten at the library for this literary suspense novel. However, I deliberately did not put it in the thriller category on my list because of its more even pacing and quieter tone. I would definitely compare it to quieter books like Luster by Raven Leilani and When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole, The Other Black Girls looks at racism and otherness in the workplace and especially in publishing. It’s a smart, sharp, and prescient novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. It’s also blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) and Attica Locks (Pleasantville).

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
Published by Tin House Books on May 18, 2021
Pages: 330

At fifty-one years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation in the English countryside. The cottage they have shared their entire lives is their only protection against the modernizing world around them. Inside its walls, they make music, and in its garden, they grow everything they need to survive. To an outsider, it looks like poverty; to them, it is home.
But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they’ve so carefully created begins to fall apart. The cottage they love, and the security it offered, is taken back by their landlord, exposing the twins to harsh truths and even harsher realities. Seeing a new future, Julius becomes torn between the loyalty he feels towards his sister and his desire for independence, while Jeanie struggles to find work and a home for them both. And just when it seems there might be a way forward, a series of startling secrets from their mother’s past come to the surface, forcing the twins to question who they are, and everything they know of their family’s history.
In Unsettled Ground, award-winning author Claire Fuller masterfully builds a tale of sacrifice and hope, of homelessness and hardship, of love and survival, in which two marginalized and remarkable people uncover long-held family secrets and, in their own way, repair, recover, and begin again.

I have seen a lot of predictions for next month. But perhaps what has surprised me most about the guesses was not what they’ve included, but what they left out. Claire Fuller is the author of the incredibly popular Book of the Month title Swimming Lessons, and she has a new book coming out in May. Unsettled Ground gives me major Glass Castle and Girl A vibes. It’s essentially a literary, psychological fiction novel that dives more into a character study about what happens as two previously isolated siblings try to acclimate to the world. It’s is blurbed by past Book of the Month author Lauren Geoff and it’s beautiful prose and thought provoking subject matter make it a solid contender for a May pick .


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Published by Celadon Books on June 15, 2021
Pages: 320

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

May might be a little early for this June release but I will be surprised if it is not some kind of pick in the coming months. Michaelides’ debut The Silent Patient was a popular pick and widely loved by Book of the Month members. The Maidens is dark academia at its finest, following Mariana who is certain that Edward Fosca is a murderer. This Secret History-esque story features a charismatic Classicist professor- what is it with all the murderous professors being Classicist?- and his group of tight knit students known as The Maidens. Mariana, a student herself, develops obsession with group which becomes more and more dangerous as the body count rises. With the popularity of The Silent Patient, as well as the blurb by previous Book of the Month author Lucky Foley, I think The Maidens is a likely pick for May and June.

The Plot by Jean Haniff Korelitz

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published by Celadon Books on May 11, 2021
Pages: 336

Hailed as breathtakingly suspenseful, Jean Hanff Korelitz's The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he's teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what's left of his self-respect; he hasn't written--let alone published--anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn't need Jake's help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker's first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that--a story that absolutely needs to be told.
In a few short years, all of Evan Parker's predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.
As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his "sure thing" of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

I am super intrigued by this rather meta thriller about an MFA professor who rises to fame on a former student’s idea. A student who just happens to be dead. As Jacob gains in wealth and notoriety, his decision to steal his dead student’s idea seems a dream come true. Until years later when he gets an anonymous email accusing him of thievery, it’s clear someone knows what he’s done. What’s more, Jake must come to terms with the reality of where the instant bestseller came from and who was actually behind it. Doesn’t this one just sound super fun? I really enjoy books within books as well as the darker side of the publishing industry. The Plot made my list not only because of some popular Book of the Month themes and tropes, but it’s also blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors Greer Hendricks (The Wife Between Us) and Megan Abbot (You Will Know Me).


Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
Published by Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book on June 1, 2021
Pages: 224

One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated father and the path we must take to both honor and overcome our origins.
For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. Despite having only vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes he's the only person in the entire world who understands her. She thinks she understands him too. He's sensitive like her, an artist, and maybe even just as afraid of the dark. She's certain that one day they'll be reunited again, and she'll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he's in prison, and she doesn't know what he did to end up there.
Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. She doesn't know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates; when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley finally finds out why her father is in prison. And that's where the story really begins.
Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.

My nonfiction pick for May is Somebody’s Daughter, which comes out at the beginning of June. It’s a heavy, gritty memoir about growing up poor and Black in the Midwest. It is as much about Ashley’s familial struggles- with a father in prison and a mother who struggles to be the mother she needed and wanted- as it is a story of Ashley coming to terms with her changing body and what it means to be a woman. This book deserves all the trigger warnings and seems to fit in to other memoirs Book of the Month has picked recently like Aftershocks and The Beauty In Breaking. It is also blurbed by a handful of previous Book of the Month authors like John Green (Turtles All The Way Down), Glennon Doyle (Untamed), Aminatou Sow (Big Friendship), and Laurie Halse Anderson (Shout).


One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 1, 2021
Pages: 432

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don't exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can't imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there's certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there's this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August's day when she needed it most. August's subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there's one big problem: Jane doesn't just look like an old school punk rocker. She's literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it's time to start believing in some things, after all.

The sophomore novel from the author of Red White & Royal Blue could easily go in the YA section of this post, but it’s first and foremost a romance, so here we are. I must confess that I would be a bit upset if this one is not a pick, but I’ll be purchasing it regardless. In recent interviews, McQuiston has said she wanted to write a romance that could never realistically happen, and so, we have One Last Stop. It’s a time loop f/f romance featuring cynical August and stuck in time Jane. Here’s to hoping that love really can conquer all! Not only is McQuiston a repeat Book of the Month author, but One Last Stop is blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors: Jasmine Guillory (The Proposal) and Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient).

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on May 18, 2021
Pages: 368

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents--who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno--Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father's never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn't "father material" before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that's predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly's founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can't wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we'll pay you. Jess--who is barely making ends meet--is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the "Diamond" pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist--and the science behind a soulmate--than she thought.
Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

My first- and definitely not my last- Christina Henry novel was In A Holidaze. I loved it so much that my fingers are crossed that maybe Book of the Month will feature the writing duo again. Although I do have a copy pre-ordered just in case. The Soulmate Equation features single mom Jess, analytical and preferrer of numbers over people. On a whim, Jess tests out a matchmaking services that uses DNA to find one’s soulmate and gets a +98% match with a guy she realizes she absolutely despises. It’s a fun enemies to lovers romance featuring a single mom- some thing we don’t see as much of in romance novels. It also involves a fake dating trope, which has been rather popular with Book of the Month recently. While it’s not blurbed by any past Book of the Month authors, I think In A Holidaze was popular enough that it could at least be up for consideration.

Sci Fi/Fantasy

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Published by Ballantine Books on May 4, 2021
Pages: 496

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian--while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

The time has come for Andy Weir’s third novel and I can hardly contain my excitement! Weir’s other two novels have been featured by Book of the Month in some form. In his latest novel, Weir returns to the genre kf the survival space story we all know and loved in The Martian. In this latest iteration, one astronaut wakes up with no memory of where he is or what he must do, only to realize he has the seemingly impossible task of saving the world. I definitely think this one sounds more like The Martian than Artemis and it’s blurbed by previous Book of the Month authors Ernest Cline and Blake Crouch.

Sorrowlands by River Solomon

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
Published by MCD on May 4, 2021
Pages: 368

Vern - seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised - flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.
But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.
To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future - outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

i have to confess that this one might be wishful thinking on my part. It combines so many things that I love including, but not limited to: an escape from a high pressure cult, motherhood, and surviving off the grid. Written in Solomon’s trademark lush writing, this haunting story of gothic horror functions as a reckoning with the history of white supremacy and the ongoing struggle that exists. This afrofuturist novel is not for the faint of heart, with a brutality that reminds me of The Prophets and hopefulness reminiscent of Brit Bennett, you don’t want to miss this book. Plus, it’s blurbed by previous Book of the Month author Roxane Gay (Hunger).

Young Adult

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield
Published by Wednesday Books on May 4, 2021
Pages: 400

Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.
When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise—all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.

This ownvoices YA novel is perfect for summer, and not just because it has the name of the season in it’s title. Set on the island of Jamaica over a single transformative summer, our protagonist Tilla is determined to understand her father and the world that he loves so much. She also comes face to face with a category five hurricane, an apt allegory for the catastrophic level of emotions she is feeling as she navigates a world alien to her. The book deals with issues of class, family dynamics and what it means to find your voice. Book of the Month doesn’t pick YA novels as frequently as they used to, but I think Hurricane Summer could fit right into the YA contemporary greats like Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo, who have both be popular picks in the past. Whether it’s a pick or not, I think it’s worth having on your radar.

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!

17 responses to “What’s In The Box!- May 2021 Predictions

  1. Sarah Catt

    Do you think Survive the Night by Riley Seager will be a selection anytime soon? I know they have had all of his other books. He’s my favorite!!

    • stuckint

      Short answer- I am not sure.

      Here’s what I know.
      - Sager’s book comes out at the very end of June and it’s a popular release.
      - If it is a pick I think it will be a pick in June or July.
      - Sager himself has said it would not be a pick but I don’t think authors know all the time. My sense is that Book of the Month goes through the publisher.

      So here we are. I think we’ll just have to wait and see. ?

  2. Deepika

    Thank you for having a such a long list this time!!! I’m excited about 75% of them and am going to have to unfreeze my second account if even half of these come true. No regrets 😀

  3. Vicki Pendleton

    I love this list and added several to my ever growing TBR on goodreads. I just discovered this blog this morning so Thank you!

  4. Laura

    I look so forward to your picks each month! I’m oddly hyped for The Plot - myseteries and thrillers aren’t always my cup of tea - and I hadn’t heard anything yet about Unsettled Ground, which sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Lesa

    I always love reading your predictions. I so hope Ariadne is on the list. I am interested in Unsettled Ground and The Chosen and the Beautiful.
    Read the NetGalley of One Last Stop - ❤️ It!

  6. I’ve been waiting for this post 🙂 There are so many of these I have been looking at!! I hope some of them are on there for sure!

  7. lrh

    Fun possibilities to fit into that blue box! I’ll be surprised if Stacey Abrams’ first thriller While Justice Sleeps isn’t a pick for May too. FYI blurb for The Other Black Girl has a few typos: the comparison thriller book by Alyssa Cole is When No One Is Watching (wasn’t a botm; unlike the Bachelorette-based romcom botm, One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London). Love your column - I look forward to this monthly forecast the most - thanks so much for your efforts in creating and sharing it!

    • stuckint

      Thanks for letting me know! Not sure how I missed those on my second read through.

      So glad you enjoy the posts!

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