Hey everyone and welcome to another What’s In The Box post where we make predictions about what Book of the Month might choose as their monthly selection.
We are so excited to revive one of our most popular blog posts. We love sorting through upcoming releases and speculating what Book of the Month might pick.
Remember that these are just guesses. All our guesses could be completely wrong. Regardless, we hope you enjoy our list and let us know if we missed any of your hopefuls!
Meredith Alone by Claire AlexanderMeredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Published by Grand Central Publishing on November 1, 2022
She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There's her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the grocery delivery man. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood, the estrangement from her sister, and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.
But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?
Every once in a while, Book of the Month likes to feature a contemporary novel about a woman who is fairly comfortable with how their life is going. Then certain circumstances come about that upend everything. That is Meredith Alone. Ever the introvert, she loves Emily Dickinson and jigsaw puzzles on the weekends (so relatable). The presence of an adorable cat named Fred is also a plus. Jennifer Saint, author of Book of the Month pick Ariadne, describes it as “Gorgeous, charming, sweet and hopeful” It seems reminiscent of books like Skye Falling by MIa McKenzie and Queenie by Candyce Carty-Williams. While this is a laugh out loud novel, it also tackles difficult themes of trauma, grief, and anxiety. Its 4.21 average rating on Goodread also commend it as a poential Book of the Month pick.
We Are The Light by Matthew QuickWe Are the Light by Matthew Quick
Published by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster on November 1, 2022
LIFE IS FULL OF GUARDIAN ANGELS.
Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most important, themselves.
From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, We Are the Light is an unforgettable novel about the quicksand of grief and the daily miracle of love. The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this tale that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Quick reminds us that guardian angels are all around us—sometimes in the forms we least expect.
A concise but poignant contemporary, We Are The Light is being compared to previous Book of the Month picks like Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keene, and Anxious People by Frederik Bauchman. It tells the story of Lucas Goodgame, who lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania and insists that his recently deceased wife Darcy still visits him. Also, there’s the small fact that the entire community thinks Lucas is a hero, except for Lucas- because we are all our own worst critics arent’s we? Needless, to say, Lucas is spiraling until he encounters 18-yeard old Eli, who has been deemed the community pariah. When Eli starts camping in Lucas’ backyard and a friendship is born, kindling a relationship that might be the thing that heals them both. Thought provoking, emotive, and ultimately hopeful- We Are The Light speaks to the humanity of all us. Early reviewers are loving this one, including previous Book of the Month author Kevin Wilson. We think it would be a great pick for Book of the Month and traditional book clubs alike.
A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella (Repeat)A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella
Published by Scribner on November 29, 2022
From the author of A Little Hope—a Read with Jenna Bonus Pick—comes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals whose lives intersect in unforeseen ways.
Set in a close-knit Pennsylvania suburb in the grip of winter, A Quiet Life follows three people grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.
Chuck Ayers used to look forward to nothing so much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife, Cat—that yearly taste of relaxation they’d become accustomed to in retirement, after a lifetime of working and raising two children. Now, just months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he can’t let go of her things—her favorite towel, the sketchbooks in her desk drawer—as he struggles to pack for a trip he can’t imagine taking without her.
Ella Burke delivers morning newspapers and works at a bridal shop to fill her days while she anxiously awaits news—any piece of information—about her missing daughter. Ella adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, hoping her daughter will reach out one day.
After the sudden death of her father, Kirsten Bonato set aside her veterinary school aspirations, finding comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. But as time passes, old dreams and new romantic interests begin to surface—and Kirsten finds herself at another crossroads.
In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Emotionally riveting and infused with hope, A Quiet Life celebrates humanity in the midst of uncertainty.
Joella’s debut was a pick November of last year and we don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that Joella’s sophomore novel is a pick as well. A quiet, character driven story, A Quiet Life is set over the course of a single winter in a Pennsylvania. The plot follows three individuals grappling with loss and coping with grief. As beautifully crafted and profound as A Little Hope this one is definitely for those hoping to sink into something immersive and cozy this winter- while also tackling difficult issues. The publisher is comparing it to previous Book of the Month selection The Gifted School and has been blurbed by a handful of Book of the Month authors. Charmaine Wilkerson (Black Cake) describes it as a book you’ll want to read “slowly and savor the details”. Qian Julie Wang (Beautiful Country) praises Joella’s characters for their courage and heart and characterizes his prose as “elegant”. With a 4.4 average rating on Goodreads, we think it has a high chance for being a November pick.
Gilded Mountain by Kate ManningGilded Mountain by Kate Manning
Published by Scribner on November 1, 2022
Set in early 1900s Colorado, the unforgettable tale of a young woman who bravely faces the consequences of speaking out against injustice.
In a voice spiked with sly humor, Sylvie Pelletier recounts leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in a manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble-mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her; fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. Her fairy-tale ideas of romance take a dark turn when she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, formerly enslaved people, have long known this to be true and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.
Outside the manor walls, the town of Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as an apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Sylvie navigates vastly different worlds and struggles to find her way amid conflicting loyalties. When the harsh winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.
Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure.
Set in 1900s Colorado, this historical novel follows a young woman who leaves her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in the Padgetts manor. Our protagonist Sylvie is thrust into the center of two very different worlds. On the one hand, there are the lofty philosophical talks of the Padgetts and, on the other, the unfair labor practices that have enriched them and the talk of unionizing abuzz in the surrounding town. With a strong comparison to The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah and vaguely reminiscent of Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson, Gilded Mountain is drawn from true stories of Colorado history. It tells the tale of the American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure. Whether it’s a Book of the Month- or possibly an Aardvark pick- it sounds like a fascinating read.
Winterland by Rae MeadowWinterland by Rae Meadows
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on November 29, 2022
Perfection has a cost . . .
Reminiscent of Maggie Shipstead’s Astonish Me and Julia Phillips’s Disappearing Earth, Winterland tells the story of a previous era, shockingly pertinent today, shaped by glory and loss and finding light where none exists.
In the Soviet Union in 1973, there is perhaps no greater honor for a young girl than to be chosen to be part of the famed USSR gymnastics program. So when eight-year-old Anya is tapped, her family is thrilled. What is left of her family, that is. Years ago her mother disappeared. Anya’s only confidant is her neighbor, an older woman who survived unspeakable horrors during her ten years in a Gulag camp—and who, unbeknownst to Anya, was also her mother’s confidant and might hold the key to her disappearance. As Anya moves up the ranks of competitive gymnastics, and as other girls move down, Anya soon comes to realize that there is very little margin of error for anyone.
Releasing at the end of November, Winterland is a historical thriller about a Anya, a young woman tapped to be a part of the Soviet Union’s gymnastic team in 1973. Told in alternating points of view between Anya and her older neighbor Vera- it’s as much sports novel as it is about trying to survive under a totalitarian regime regime- think one part You Will Know Me by Megan Abbot and one part I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys. A combination of its 4.02 average rating on Goodreads, as well as its blurbs by Ann Napolitano (Dear Edward), Yangzee Choo (The Night Tiger), and Emma Straub (All Adults Here) make a rather compelling case for it being a pick. We will definitely be reading it whether Book of the Month picks it or not!
Now Is Not The Time To Panic by Kevin Wilson (Repeat)Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
Published by Ecco on November 8, 2022
From the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here comes an exuberant, bighearted novel about two teenage misfits who spectacularly collide one fateful summer, and the art they make that changes their lives forever.
Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another sad summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s unhappy house and who is as lonely and awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.
The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town. The art that brought Frankie and Zeke together now threatens to tear them apart.
Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge—famous author, mom to a wonderful daughter, wife to a loving husband—gets a call that threatens to upend everything: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that? And will what she knows destroy the life she’s so carefully built?
A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not The Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity, and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.
Many Book of the Month members will recognize Kevin Wilson from his hilarious contemporary novel Nothing To See Here (October 2019). Now Is Not The Time To Panic is equally as funny, quirky and big hearted and Kevin’s previous novels. Two artists, Frankie and Zeke meet one summer in Tennessee and they create a poster with a phrase on it which becomes unforgettable to everyone who sees it. Like past selections such as Tomorrow (3x) and Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Now Is Not The Time To Panic explores how art shapes the world around us and our connections to one another. Beyond Kevin Wilson being a repeat author, Now Is Not The Time connects to Wilson’s other novels in fun and unique ways, but you don’t have to read his other works to enjoy Wilson’s latest offering. Our November 8th and with a lot of positive, prepublication buzz, we can’t wait to see Kevin Wilson will be a repeat author next month.
Roses In The Mouth Of A Lion by Bushra RehmanRoses, in the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman
Published by Flatiron Books on December 6, 2022
For readers of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous and My Brilliant Friend, Bushra Rehman's Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is an unforgettable story about female friendship and queer love in a Muslim-American community.
Razia Mirza grows up amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, with her best friend, Saima, by her side. When a family rift drives the girls apart, Razia’s heart is broken. She finds solace in Taslima, a new girl in her close-knit Pakistani-American community. They embark on a series of small rebellions: listening to scandalous music, wearing miniskirts, and cutting school to explore the city.
When Razia is accepted to Stuyvesant, a prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between the person she is and the daughter her parents want her to be, widens. At Stuyvesant, Razia meets Angela and is attracted to her in a way that blossoms into a new understanding. When their relationship is discovered by an Aunty in the community, Razia must choose between her family and her own future.
Punctuated by both joy and loss, full of ’80s music and beloved novels, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is a new classic: a fiercely compassionate coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to reconcile her heritage and faith with her desire to be true to herself.
Much liker A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum, Roses In The Mouth Of A Lion is a story about female friendship and queer love in a Muslim-American community in Queens. Raiza makes friend and explores deeper relationships with different women throughout her life, leading her to a decision between the community of her youth and what she wants for her future. It is getting compared to a handful of previous and thought provoking Book of the Month picks: Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So, Luster by Raven Leilani, and Infinite Country by Patricia Engel. With beautiful prose and deep characters, Roses In The Mouth Of A Lion is a keenly observant work of fiction that early reviewers are describing as heartbreaking and visceral. It’s a literary novel that is certain to have cross genre appeal and we can’t wait to read it!
The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-DaltonThe Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Published by Grand Central Publishing on December 6, 2022
Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels gradually wreak havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker; his pregnant wife, Frida; and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds to search for them. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.
As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.
Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.
One of the only early releases on this list, The Light Pirate is a sweeping story of survival and resilience spanning one woman’s lifetime as she navigates a world ravaged by climate change and the shifting landscape that results from it. Insightful and eerily prescient, The Light Pirate tackles difficult themes with flowery writing and dynamic characters. It’s blurbed by Jillian Medoff (When We We’re Bright And Beautiful) who characterizes The Light Pirate as gripping, poetic and original. We’ve been seeing this one on a lot of prediction lists and we think there is a strong possibility of it being a November selection.
Mystery and Thriller
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline BublitzBefore You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on November 1, 2022
This is not just another novel about a dead girl. Two women—one alive, one dead—are brought together in the dark underbelly of New York City to solve a tragic murder.
When she arrived in New York on her eighteenth birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe. She may be dead but that doesn’t mean her story is over.
Meanwhile, Ruby Jones is also trying to reinvent herself. After travelling halfway around the world, she’s lonelier than ever in the Big Apple. Until she stumbles upon a woman’s body by the Hudson River, and suddenly finds herself unbreakably tied to the unknown dead woman.
Alice is sure Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her short life and tragic death. Ruby just wants to forget what she saw…but she can’t seem to stop thinking about the young woman she found. If she keeps looking, can she give this unidentified Jane Doe the ending and closure she deserves?
A “heartbreaking, beautiful, and hugely important novel” (Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author), Before You Knew My Name doesn’t just wonder whodunnit—it also asks who was she? And what did she leave behind?
This unconventional thriller comes out at the beginning of November and shares a lot of characteristics with previous Book of the Month selections. Alice Lee is one of the most recent Jane Does to turn up in a New York City morgue and then there is Ruby Jones, who has move ond across the country to reinvent herself when she finds a body down by the river and is sucked into the mystery of what happened to young and hopeful Alice Lee. Its a feminist story that dives deep into what it means to be a woman and navigate our patriarchal world. With notes of past picks like The Night Swim and The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James. While it’s not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, it is getting compared to Book of the Month pick When The Stars Go Dark by Paula McClean. We love it when Book of the Month picks up a thriller that comes with a little more depth than your typical popcorn read.
The Last Party by Claire MackintoshThe Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on November 8, 2022
At midnight, one of them is dead.By morning, all of them are suspects.
It's a party to end all parties, but not everyone is here to celebrate.
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors.
But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.
With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him.
In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.
While Claire Mackintosh has yet to be featured by Book of the Month, we think The Last Party has a solid chance at being a selection. It’s a claustrophobic murder mystery set in North Wales, where a resort throws open its doors for a New Years Eve party. Tensions are already running high as the locals butt heads with the outsiders developing the land across the lake from their small, secluded town. The next morning, when a body is found in the lake, everyone is a suspect. Blurbed by Book of the Month favorite, Ruth Ware and past pick Wendy Walker (Emma In The Night) who have called it “brilliant” and “atmospheric.” This police procedural promises plenty of thrills and chills and, even if Book of the Month doesn’t pick it for November, it will be a great wintery read.
Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa UngerSecluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger
Published by Park Row on November 8, 2022
Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.
What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.
But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?
This one is being hailed by some as one of the best locked room mysteries of the year, and Book of the Month loves their locked room mysteries- One by One by Ruth Ware, The Guest List by Lucey Foley and Daisey Darker by Alice Feeney immediately come to mind. It tells the story of three couples who rent a luxury cabin for a long weekend. But it doesn’t take long for it to become clear that each of the guests has plenty of secrets, the house holds a sordid past, and the host is just a little too friendly. It sounds absolutely pulse pounding and like the perfect page turner for a night in. Its blurbed by Book of the Month authors Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena, While early revies on this one are pretty mixed, Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six sounds like Book of the Month’s bread and butter.
It Starts With Us by Coleen Hoover ( Repeat Author)It Starts with Us (It Ends with Us, #2) by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books on October 18, 2022
Before It Ends with Us, it started with Atlas. Colleen Hoover tells fan favorite Atlas’s side of the story and shares what comes next in this long-anticipated sequel to the “glorious and touching” (USA TODAY) #1 New York Times bestseller It Ends with Us.
Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.
But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.
Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the “gripping, pulse-pounding” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of Perfect Neighbors) bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author).
I know a lot of people were disappointed that Colleen Hoover’s follow up to Book of the Month add on It Ends With Us- but we are confident that if It Starts With Us is going to be an add on, it will be for the month of November- especially because there was likely an embargo on the title, making it impossible for Book of the Month to feature the titles as an early release. It Starts With Us picks up pretty much right where It Ends With Us left off with Lily getting her second chance to rekindle things with her first love Atlas, while navigating co-parenting with her ex-husband Ryle. It will be interesting, regardless of whether it’s a pick or not, to see how Colleen Hoover writes this follow up since she admitted in her afterward that It Ends With Us was written with an explicit purpose and was quite the departure from her typical style, subject matter and intent. Beyond a basic synopsis provided by the publisher, things around this story have been held pretty close to the vest and we can’t wait to see if it lives up to the hype of the original.
A Sweet Lowountry Proposal by Preslaysa WilliamsA Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams
Published by Avon on November 8, 2022
It was supposed to be the happiest day of Jaslene Simmons’ life, the day she’d say “I do” to Marcus Clark. But when her sister dies in a tragic accident everything changes—including her once rosy future with Marcus. Jaslene instead pours all of her energy into caring for her now-motherless niece and running the wedding planning company she and her sister had built, wanting to honor her sister’s dream even if she has to sacrifice her own.
As an archivist at Charleston’s Black history museum, Marcus shines a light on the stories of forgotten people. Researching history is better than dealing with his own heartache—and the guilt he has over the role he may have inadvertently played in the death of Jaslene’s sister.
Jaslene never thought she’d cross paths with Marcus again, but her need for an affordable office space brings her to the museum which is faced with the threat of closure. As they work together to save it, their buried feelings slowly reignite. They soon realize there is still room in their hearts for love...if only they can overcome their past.
Here on Stuck in the Stacks we always try to feature diverse set of predictions, both because we want to Book of the Month vary their picks and to put some less popular titles on your radar and your TBRs. While A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal is technically the second book in a series, like many romance series, the books can be read as standalones. With comparison to Book of the Month authors like Talia Hibbert (Get A Life Chloe Brown) and Jasmine Guillory (The Proposal). This second chance romance features Jaslene, who becomes the the guardian of her niece when her sister dies in a sudden and tragic accident. Enter Marcus, who carries the guilt- in part- for Jaslene’s sister’s death.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang (Repeat)The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 15, 2022
Ohioana Book Award finalist Ruth Emmie Lang returns with a new cast of ordinary characters with extraordinary abilities.
Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.
Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…
When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.
Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?
But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.
We are certain that there are plenty of you out there adored Lang’s debut: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance and, like us, you have been waiting five years for her next novel. Lang’s sophomore novel features magically abled sisters Finn- who has such a good memory that she can perfectly recall not only her own memories but “echoes” of the memories of those around her. Then there is Sadie, who can see into the future. Together, the girls set out on a road trip of sorts to uncover the truth of why their mother Nora left them behind. The Wilderwomen seamlessly weaves together a story of sisterhood with subtle touches of magic. It is blurbed by previous Book of the Month author Shea Ernshaw (A History of Wild Places). Every once in a while, Book of the Month features a nature focused novel and Wilderwomen would be a perfect pick for those looking for a cozy read about the world around us.
The Cloisters by Katy HaysThe Cloisters by Katy Hays
Published by Atria Books on November 1, 2022
In this “sinister, jaw-dropping” (Sarah Penner, author of The Lost Apothecary) debut novel, a circle of researchers uncover a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York’s famed Met Cloisters.
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.
Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.
A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
We feel like The Cloisters could either be a thriller pick or a fantasy pick, with Book of the Month you never can tell but a little birdie told us that this likely to be a pick. This thriller with a touch of magical realism follows a group of researchers who find a mysterious deck of tarot cards. Its blurbed by Sarah Penner (The Lost Apothecary) and shares characteristics with Penner’s debut. It’s also getting compared to so many previous Book of the Month picks, including: The Other Black Girl, One by One, The Maidens, and The Ninth House. Its also vaguely reminscent of academic focused picks like The Cartographers, which combined a thrilling mystery with the politics and intrigue of academia. This promising debut is sure to capture lovers of dark academia and page turning thrillers as well.
The Hunger Between Us by Marina Scott (Debut)The Hunger Between Us by Marina Scott
on November 1, 2022
For fans of Elizabeth Wein and Ruta Sepetys, an absorbing, fast-paced YA debut novel from Marina Scott about a girl's determination to survive during the Nazi siege of Leningrad--and to save her best friend from a horrible fate.
There are some lines that should never be crossed--even in a city ruled by hunger. The black market is Liza's lifeline, where she barters family heirlooms and steals whatever she can get her hands on just for enough food to survive. Morality, after all, has become a fluid thing since the Nazi siege has cut off her city from the rest of the world. Hope for a quick liberation is obliterated as the Soviet government focuses on sustaining the Red Army and not the city, subjecting its people to unimaginable cruelties at the hands of the secret police. When Liza's best friend Aka proposes that they go to the same bullying officials, rumored to give young women food in exchange for "entertainment," Liza thinks there surely must be some other way. Then Aka disappears and Liza resolves to rescue her no matter the cost, entangling herself in an increasingly dangerous web with two former classmates, one a policeman, the other forced to live underground.
The Hunger Between Us is an absorbing novel about being trapped with impossible choices and the bonds of love that are tested along dangerous paths.
It’s hard to know what Book of the Month will do when it comes to their young adult choices, I’m sure we’re not the only ones missing their YA subscription, but we think that The Hunger Between Us has a chance at being a November pick. Its a historical novel about one woman’s attempt to save her friend during the Nazi siege of Lenigrad. Book of the Month has featured historical YA novels in the past like the works of Ruta Sepetys and Stacey Lee (The Downstairs Girl). Our sense is that Book of the Month likes to feature YA books that tackle relevant social and cultural issues and a novel about the Nazi occupation of Leningrad seems perfect with it’s examination of friendship, survival, and the impossible choices people make when they face the unthinkable. While it’s not blurbed by any previous Book of the Month authors, the themes of resilience, overcoming adversity, and what it means to stand by those we love.
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (Repeat)Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2) by Tracy Deonn
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 8, 2022
The shadows have risen, and the line is law.
All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:
A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.
But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.
Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.
When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.
If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.
Arguably more likely is the sequel to Tracy Deonn’s debut Legendborn, though Book of the Month does not have a great track record for picking up sequels We don’t want to get too much into the synopsis so that we don’t spoil the first book. Suffice it to say, Bloodmarked picks up with Bree and her friends where Legendborn left off and Bree is an unpredictable and unknown entity in the battle between good and evil. It’s another thick (almost 600 pages) urban fantasy with an epic fantasy feel. The final book in the Legendborn duology, we can’t wait to see how the story ends. It will take Bree and her friends away from campus and on the run to save their friend and the world as they know it. We aren’t super confident about this pick, but we’ll if Book of the Month picks up the sequel to one of our favorite YA novels of the last few years.
What About You?
What picks are you hoping to see for November? What do you think of our predictions? Let us know in the comments!