It is that time of the month where all of us Book of the Month subscribers start to anxiously anticipate the next month’s releases. I am here to speculate and possibly predict which books will be selected for Book of the Month main picks and add-ons. I try to limit my predictions to two or three books per genre, except for thrillers and contemporary & literary fiction and sometimes historical fiction, where there is often more than one selection.
Last month, I guessed 7 of the 9 selections correct! For January, I predicted 5 of the 7. I hope to keep my streak going this month.
Contemporary & Literary Fiction
The Unsinkable Greta James
Jennifer E. Smith
Right after the sudden death of her mother—her first and most devoted fan—and just before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, indie musician Greta James falls apart on stage. Months later, Greta reluctantly agrees to accompany her father on the Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary.
Chorus shepherds seven siblings through two life-altering events—their mother’s untimely death, and a shocking teenage pregnancy—that ultimately follow them through their lives as individuals and as a family.
Truth and Other Lies
Readers who love Jodi Picoult’s topical plot twists and Liane Moriarty’s character-driven novels will devour this fast-paced tale of three women whose lives converge as one fights a devastating accusation, another campaigns for a contested seat in Congress, and one, the young reporter with ties to both, navigates the tricky line between secrets and lies.
An indelible love story about two very different people navigating the entanglements of class and identity and coming of age in an America coming apart at the seams.
Elaine Hsieh Chou
Disorientation is a multivalent pleasure, a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit, in which the murder victim might be your idea of yourself—no matter how you identify. A Taiwanese American woman’s coming-of-consciousness ignites eye-opening revelations and chaos on a college campus in this outrageously hilarious and startlingly tender debut novel.
Lessons in Chemistry
Meet Elizabeth Zott: a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the star of a beloved TV cooking show.
Debut & Early Release
Tara M. Stringfellow
A spellbinding debut novel tracing three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter’s discovery that she has the power to change her family’s legacy.
Debut & Early Release
The Tobacco Wives
A vibrant historical debut set in 1946 North Carolina following a young female seamstress who uncovers dangerous truths about Big Tobacco.
On A Night of A Thousand Stars
Andrea Yaryura Clark
In this moving, emotional narrative of love and resilience, a young couple confronts the start of Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s, and a daughter searches for truth twenty years later. On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding—and redemption—people crave in the face of tragedy.
The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.
Blending past and present, and told through three unique interwoven narratives that build on one another, a daring and brilliant debut novel that reimagines a chapter in the life of Sylvia Plath, telling the story behind the creation of her classic semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar.
Four Treasures of the Sky
Jenny Tinghui Zhang
A propulsive and dazzling debut novel set against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, about a Chinese girl fighting to claim her place in the 1880s American West.
Debut & Early Release
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell
A delicious debut rom-com about a plus-size sweetheart who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup. Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her relationship with her body, her work-life balance (or lack thereof) and, last but not least, her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of friends. But as any home-reno-show junkie can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations.
A Brush with Love
Mazey Eddings’ debut A Brush with Love explores the nuances of falling in love while having a mental illness. Balancing hilariously awkward hijinks with moments of emotional vulnerability, ABWL portrays the absurdity of modern dating, the reality of sexism in medical careers, and how love can undo even the most carefully laid plans.
The Sign for Home
Arlo Dilly is young, handsome and eager to meet the right girl. He also happens to be DeafBlind, a Jehovah’s Witness, and under the strict guardianship of his controlling uncle. His chances of finding someone to love seem slim to none. When Arlo Dilly learns the girl he thought was lost forever might still be out there, he takes it as a sign and embarks on a life-changing journey to find his great love—and his freedom.
Debut & Early Release
Thrillers, Mysteries, & Horror
The Book of Cold Cases
Simone St. James
A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel.
The Love of My Life
A love story wrapped in a mystery: an up-all-night page-turner with a dark secret at its core. A story about what happens when you discover the person you trust most in the world isn’t who they say they are . . .
In this twisty, mind-bending thriller from the bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes, Emma Averell worries that her crippling insomnia is a sign that she’s slowly going insane—like the mother she’s worked so hard to leave in her past.
Early Release & Repeat Author
From the author of People Like Her comes a smart and sinister murder mystery set in the secretive world of exclusive celebrity clubs. At this club, if your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out.
Portrait of a Thief
Grace D. Li
Ocean’s Eleven meets The Farewell in Portrait of a Thief, a lush, lyrical heist novel inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums, about diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of the Chinese American identity.
Debut & Early Release
Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Magical Realism
Tell Me An Ending
Never Let Me Go meets Black Mirror in this thrilling dystopian debut about a tech company that deletes unwanted memories, the consequences for those forced to contend with what they tried to forget, and the dissenting doctor who seeks to protect her patients from further harm.
When We Were Birds
Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead. Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love’s seismic power to heal.
All My Rage
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary YA novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents.
No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. When her grandfather disappears, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest, only to have a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching. Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself.
Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning & A Reconciliation
An acclaimed writer goes searching for the truth about her wildly unconventional Southern family—and finds that our obsession with ancestors opens up new ways of seeing ourselves. Ancestor Trouble is one writer’s attempt to use genealogy—a once-niche hobby that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry—to expose the secrets and contradictions of her own ancestors, and to argue for the transformational possibilities that reckoning with our ancestors offers all of us.
Easy Beauty: A Memoir
Chloé Cooper Jones
From Chloé Cooper Jones—Pulitzer Prize finalist, philosophy professor, Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant recipient—a groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen.