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Every month, I make (pretty accurate) predictions about which books will be featured by Book of the Month (BOTM). I take a lot of time to research upcoming releases, analyze past selections, and choose books that are solid bets.
February is a strange month in that there is a publication date on the last day of the month. Starting last year, BOTM began categorizing books published at the end of a month as “early releases” and featuring more books that were released in the previous month. I think it is likely that there will be a few that are February releases among the March selections. So that you do not need to review my February predictions, I have included books in my predictions that are late February releases as well as March releases. Any books that have a publication date of March 28 are noted as early releases.
Last month, I predicted 6 of the 7 BOTM selections. In January, I predicted 5 of the 7 selections. I am hoping to keep my predictions above 70 percent for the rest of the year. We shall see how on target my predictions are next week!
I am betting that the books will drop on either Monday, February 27th or Tuesday, February 28th.
Contemporary & Literary Fiction
Between late February releases and a strong March showing, I think more than one book in the contemporary fiction and literary fiction genres will be selected.
There were a few books that I really went back and forth on adding to my predictions but ultimately left off. Those include The Fake by Zoe Whittall, Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major, and Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah.
Dear Edward was a super popular book and BOTM selection. Its television adaptation on Apple TV+ was well timed to coincide with the release of Hello Beautiful. I think if the publisher is willing, BOTM will select this book.
Synopsis: William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him–so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos. But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another.
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez
I have an ARC of this novel and immediately started reading it when I received it. I think it is a fascinating premise and sounds like a strong contender for a BOTM pick.
Synopsis: A powerful debut novel that’s “hilarious, heartbreaking, and ass-kicking” (Jamie Ford), of a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who discovers their long‑missing sister is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show, and they set out to bring her home.
Our Best Intentions
I requested an e-galley of this debut novel months ago because it sounds and looks like a BOTM selection. It is also compared to Ask Again, Yes, which was a popular past BOTM pick. In addition, it is blurbed by three previous BOTM authors.
Synopsis: Babur “Bobby” Singh, single parent and owner of a fledging Uber business, remains ever hopeful about ascending the ladder of American success. He lives in an affluent suburb of New York with his daughter Angie, an introverted teenager. During summer break, Angie is walking home after training at the high school pool when she finds Henry McCleary, a wealthy classmate, stabbed and bleeding on the football field. The incident sends shock waves through the community and reveals jarring truths about the lengths to which families will go to protect themselves.
Because I have not read this book, it is hard for me to say for sure if it a perfect BOTM pick. So I am calling it a toss up. It has themes that are popular with BOTM readers, but without knowing the execution, I am wavering about its likelihood as a selection.
Synopsis: A deliciously funny, sharply observed debut of family, love, and class, this zeitgeisty novel follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan. Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognizable, loveable—if fallible—characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love—all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.
This books sounds like a mash up of Remarkably Bright Creatures, which was a 2022 runaway hit, and Really Good, Actually. I am intrigued by the premise, but I think it is a bit of a toss up as a BOTM selection.
Synopsis: An enchanting novel about Ro, a woman tossed overboard by heartbreak and loss, who has to find her way back to stable shores with the help of a giant Pacific octopus at the mall aquarium where she works.
Cheryl A. Head
This is a roll over from my February predictions. This is a novel that I would like to see as a selection. It has been blurbed by several past BOTM authors. Plus, BOTM tends to love mysteries, even when they appear within another genre. My only hesitance regarding this one is the fact that it includes a BLM storyline that may be considered too political.
Synopsis: A searing and tender novel about a young Black journalist’s search for answers in the unsolved murder of her great-grandfather in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, decades ago—inspired by the author’s own family history.
Take What You Need
I went back and forth whether to include this novel in my predictions. I think it would be an unexpected pick that is not on many people’s radars. It features a few common BOTM themes – mother/daughter relationships, grief, and friendship. For that and other reasons, I think it is a possibility.
Synopsis: Set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, Take What You Need traces the parallel lives of Jean and her beloved but estranged stepdaughter, Leah, who’s sought a clean break from her rural childhood. Take What You Need explores the continuing mystery of the people we love most with passionate and resonance, this novel illuminating can be built from what others have discarded—art, unexpected friendship, a new contentment of self.
The Society of Shame
This April 4th release is being advertised as a combination of two previous BOTM selections. While it may be an April selection, rather than a March one, I think it would make a good, typical BOTM pick.
Synopsis: In this timely and witty combination of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? a viral photo of a politician’s wife’s “feminine hygiene malfunction” catapults her to unwanted fame in a story that’s both a satire of social media stardom and internet activism, and a tender mother-daughter tale.
I always have such a difficult time narrowing down historical fiction predictions. As I have previously said, this is one of the genres I find the most difficult to predict.
I added and removed so many possibilities for this genre, fluctuating being which were the best bets. A Most Intriguing Lady seemed like it may have a slight possibility having the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, as an author. Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner was included, but I ultimately opted to include The Lost English Girl instead. The Last Carolina Girl was included as a prediction until the end when I decided that its themes of eugenics and bodily autonomy may be too much for BOTM.
Go As a River
This book is another late February release. It is a debut compared to a previous Book of the Year winner. Moreover, it is blurbed by several previous BOTM authors. Based simply upon the synopsis, it sounds like a solid possible pick.
Synopsis: Set amid Colorado’s wild beauty, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a resilient young woman whose life is changed forever by one chance encounter. A tragic and uplifting novel of love and loss, family and survival—and hope—for readers of Great Circle, The Four Winds, and Where the Crawdads Sing.
The Farewell Tour
I maintain that BOTM loves a book about a celebrity. Between that and the fact this cover screams BOTM to me, I think there is a chance we will see it among March predictions.
Synopsis: A rich and riveting novel with the exquisite historical detail and evocative settings of The Cold Millions and Great Circle that tells the story of one unforgettable woman’s rise in country and western music. We see her striving to build a career in the male-dominated world of country music, including the hard choices she makes as she tries to redefine music, love, aging, and womanhood on her own terms. Nearing her final tour stop, Lil is forced to confront her choices and how they shaped her life.
Hang the Moon
Because Jeannette Walls has become so acclaimed, I am hesitant to bet on Hang the Moon being a March selection. However, her memoir, The Glass Castle, was a previous selection albeit not when it was first published. It was a BOTM pick around the time the movie adaptation premiered.
Synopsis: Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out. Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.
The Last Russian Doll
I can see The Last Russian Doll as an unexpected BOTM pick. It is a family saga written as a dual timeline with hints of mystery. I am not sure if it is on many subscriber’s radar, but it would be a selection from an untypical time period that still feature common BOTM themes.
Synopsis: A haunting, epic novel about betrayal, revenge, and redemption that follows three generations of Russian women, from the 1917 revolution to the last days of the Soviet Union, and the enduring love story at the center.
The Lost English Girl
I debated whether to include The Lost English Girl or Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner as a prediction. Being that The Lost English Girl stays away from religion and has stronger themes of motherhood, I ended up going with it.
Synopsis: On the eve of World War II, Viv is faced with the impossible choice to evacuate her young daughter, Maggie, to the countryside estate of the affluent Thompson family. However, tragedy strikes when Viv learns that the countryside safe haven she sent her daughter to wasn’t immune from the horrors of war. Telling the harrowing story of England’s many evacuated children, Julia Kelly explores how one simple choice can change the course of a life, and what we are willing to forgive to find a way back to the ones we love and thought lost.
Her Lost Words: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley
Stephanie Marie Thorton
I would love to see this book about two legendary female authors and historical figures as a BOTM selection. While Thornton is an established novelist who has not been a BOTM author, I think Her Lost Words definitely has a shot at being a selection.
Synopsis: From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to Frankenstein, a tale of two literary legends—a mother and daughter—discovering each other and finding themselves along the way. A riveting and inspiring novel about a firebrand feminist, her visionary daughter, and the many ways their words transformed our world.
The Queen of Dirt Island
This is yet another February 28th release. While BOTM does not work with the publisher of The Queen of Dirt Island often, I think this story really fits BOTM.
Synopsis: The Aylward women are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. In spite of what the neighbors might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes, their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world. Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. The Queen of Dirt Island is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that bind generations together.
Strangers in the Night
To me, this book seems like a strong BOTM contender. With this cover and the fact it is a historical fiction novel about real life celebrities, it feels similar to previous picks, despite the fact Ava Gardner may not be familiar to some BOTM subscribers.
Synopsis: It was the tumultuous romance that scandalized the world: Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner fought, loved, and lived life to the hilt. Now their unbridled story is brought vividly to life by Heather Webb, the bestselling author of Meet Me in Monaco.
I think the selection of romance novels being published in March are pretty slim pickings, especially when you consider which may be BOTM selections. I managed to find a few possibilities, including one by a previous BOTM author. There is one February release I debated including – The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything – that I ultimately excluded for its strong math themes.
Something Wild & Wonderful
As I said last month, I am not sure how popular Love & Other Disasters was with BOTM subscribers. But I hope that this book will be a pick simply because I like to see BOTM including more diverse romance reads, including non-cis het couples.
Synopsis: From the author of Love & Other Disasters comes a sparkling grumpy-meets-sunshine romance featuring two men’s sweeping journey across the Western wilderness on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Neighbor Favor
I included this in my February predictions, but it is being published on February 28 making it a possible candidate for March.
Synopsis: A shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he’s the obscure author she’s been corresponding with, in this sparkling and heart-fluttering romance.
Love & Other Scams
This sounds like a wildly entertaining and original romance novel. I am also intrigued by the fact it is written by a male author. However, I think it is a pretty big toss-up as a BOTM pick.
Synopsis: You are cordially invited to a crime extravaganza: two con artists join forces to pull off a huge scam, posing as a couple at the poshest wedding in town.
Jane & Edward
I personally hate this cover, and therefore, have a difficult time imagining it as a BOTM selection. However, BOTM does love retellings, and this novel, based in Toronto, would definitely appeal to BOTM’s new Canadian subscribers.
Synopsis: This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.
Hotel of Secrets
It has been some time since BOTM has selected a historical romance, instead preferring contemporary romances. I think Hotel of Secrets‘s entertaining combination of romance, mystery, and history with a strong female protagonist makes it a possible BOTM pick.
Synopsis: It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way – not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is. Hotel of Secrets is chock full of banter-filled shenanigans, must-have-you kisses, and romance certain to light a fire in the hearts of readers everywhere.
This Bird Has Flown
This debut novel has an eye-appealing cover, a famous author, and a sexy, fun story. Add in the fact that the main character is a washed up pop star and this book is said to have Jane Eyre vibes, I think it just may be a selection. However, it is an April 4th release, so it is a possible April pick as well.
Synopsis: A delightfully funny and steamy novel about music, fate, redemption, and love from beloved songwriter and Bangles co-founder Susanna Hoffs that is “part British romcom, part Jane Eyre, and one hundred percent enjoyable” (Tom Perrotta).
Debut | Early Release
Thrillers, Mysteries, & Horror
The Golden Spoon
I have a hard time imagining this book NOT as a March BOTM pick. The Maid was a super popular BOTM selection last year. I definitely think a large demographic of BOTM subscribers are also Only Murders in the Building fans. So long as it has some killer twists, this is a shoe-in for a selection this month.
Synopsis: Only Murders in the Building meets The Maid in this darkly beguiling locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise
This mystery sounds sweet and fun with a theme of unlikely friendship. Perhaps BOTM will not consider this a mystery but contemporary fiction instead. Either way, I think this book has a pretty good chance at selection.
Synopsis: A “wildly surprising, entertaining” (Jodi Picoult) novel featuring a college dropout and an eighty-four-year-old woman on the run from the law, full of tremendous heart, wit, and wisdom.
Now You See Us
Balli Kaur Jaswal
This cover does not appeal to me or really scream mystery/thriller. However, it is compared to two popular books and is by an author who has found commercial success previously. Based upon the synopsis, I am not super confident in its selection, but I am willing to bet that there is a possibility.
Synopsis: The wildly entertaining, sharply observed story of three women who work in the homes of Singapore’s elite and band together to solve a murder mystery involving one of their own.
How I’ll Kill You
How I’ll Kill You is blurbed by half a dozen previous BOTM authors and sounds like a combination of past selections. Add in the fact that it is being released by one of BOTM’s favorite publishers and I think we may just see it in a little blue box on your doorstep.
Synopsis: Your next stay-up-all-night thriller, about identical triplets who have a nasty habit of killing their boyfriends, and what happens when the youngest commits their worst crime yet: falling in love with her mark.
It seems that a lot of people are highly anticipating Lone Women. This book is described as a horror book rich in historical fiction and mystery. The cover alone gives me The Hacienda and Mexican Gothic vibes. It is, however, a March 28 release. So if it is a BOTM pick, it is a toss up whether we will see it in March or in April.
Synopsis: Blue skies, empty land—and enough wide-open space to hide a horrifying secret. A woman with a past, a mysterious trunk, a town on the edge of nowhere, and a bracing new vision of the American West, from the award-winning author of The Changeling.
Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Magical Realism
The God of Endings
This debut has received a lot of praise from early reviewers. Personally, I think it gives Addie LaRue vibes but with vampires. While I do not think vampires are typical BOTM fare, I still think this book has enough going on beyond that to be a possibility for March.
Synopsis: Collette LeSange has been hiding a dark truth: She is immortal. In 1834, Colette’s grandfather granted her the gift of eternal life and since then, she has endured centuries of turmoil and heartache. Now, almost 150 years later, Collette is a lonely artist running an elite fine art school for children in upstate New York. But her life is suddenly upended by the arrival of a gifted child from a troubled home, the return of a stalking presence from her past, and her own mysteriously growing hunger for blood.
The London Séance Society
I will be beyond surprised if The London Séance Society is not a pick. Sarah Penner’s debut novel, The Lost Apothecary, was wildly popular and a Book of the Year finalist. Plus, I believe the hint on the BOTM app refers to this book.
Synopsis: Vaudeline D’Allaire is known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them. Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the London Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime…
I think this debut novel has the right mix of Hollywood, feminism, and self-acceptance to be a BOTM selection. I also believe it is a unique premise that will be hard for BOTM to pass up. I am looking forward to reading my ARC of this title!
Synopsis: A brilliantly funny debut novel that follows a writer lured to Los Angeles to adapt her feminist mermaid novel into a big-budget action film, who believes her heroine has come to life to take revenge for Hollywood’s violations.
This debut is a mix of historical fiction and fantasy. It has also been blurbed by Sarah Penner. However, I am not super confident in its selection since BOTM does not typically do witchy books outside of “spooky season.” But it is receiving a ton of praise and has an inherent mystery, so BOTM may just surprise me with this as a pick.
Synopsis: A spellbinding story about what may transpire when the natural world collides with a legacy of witchcraft. Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart’s Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.
Michelle Min Sterling
Camp Zero was originally a March release; however, the publication date has been moved back to April 4th. I am hesitant to predict a novel with climate change as a central theme. However, Camp Zero is being described as a novel in the vein of Station Eleven and The Power, both of which are previous BOTM picks. I would love to see it as a selection.
Synopsis: In a near-future far north of Canada sits Camp Zero, an American building project hiding many secrets. Desperate to help her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother, Rose agrees to travel to Camp Zero and spy on its architect in exchange for housing. Gradually, Rose and others realize that a disturbing mystery lurks beneath the surface of the camp. At the same time, rumors abound of an elite group of women soldiers living and working at a nearby Cold War-era climate research station.
Debut | Early Release
Black Candle Women
Diane Marie Brown
This February 28th release will be Read with Jenna’s March book club novel. Often, BOTM overlaps with Jenna Bush’s picks. There is also the possibility that the hint on the app refers to this book instead of, or in addition to, The London Séance Society.
Synopsis: A warm and wry family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women, a family curse, and one very complicated year of heartache, miscommunication, and learning to let go.
The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi
I know a lot of people are dying to get their hands on this book. S.A. Chakraborty has had two books as BOTM before, both from her Davebabad Trilogy. (That is right, not the third book in the trilogy.) I am not super hopeful this will be a pick simply because it is by an established fantasy author and is a planned trilogy. It seems like BOTM has been getting away from books in a series, but you never know!
Synopsis: A new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.
This is another hold over from my February predictions. I have observed that BOTM loves a retelling. Last year, BOTM featured Darling Girl, a Peter Pan retelling. This book sounds unusual in that it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that takes inspiration from the original fairy tale rather than the Disney movie.
Synopsis: A mesmerizing novel set in the French royal court of Catherine de’ Medici during the Renaissance, which recreates the touching and surprising true story behind the Beauty and the Beast legend. Gorgeously written, heartbreaking and hopeful, Marvelous is the portrait of a marriage, the story of a remarkable, resilient family, and an unforgettable reimaging of one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.
Lies We Sing to the Sea
I keep thinking that BOTM will pick one of the many mythology releases. I think depending on whether Clytemnestra was intended to be a March pick (before all of the publisher’s copies burned in transit) will have an impact on whether this book is a selection. For example, if Clytemnestra was supposed to be a BOTM selection, I think it is unlikely for BOTM to have two mythology books in one month; and thus, this book would not be a pick.
Synopsis: Each spring, Ithaca condemns twelve maidens to the noose. This is the price vengeful Poseidon demands for the lives of Queen Penelope’s twelve maids. But when that fate comes for Leto, death is not what she thought it would be. Instead, she wakes on a mysterious island and meets a girl with green eyes and the power to command the sea.
She Is a Haunting
Trang Thanh Tran
This is another February 28th release. She Is a Haunting is rated highly by early reviewers. However, I fear it may have some themes that BOTM typically shies away from. So, I am not particularly confident it will be a selection.
Synopsis: Trang Thanh Tran weaves an impressive gothic mystery in which Jade’s father is determined to restore a decrepit home to its former glory, and Jade is the only person who feels the soul-crushing devastation of colonialism lingering within its walls.
Poverty, by America
I hope this is the month that BOTM decides to bring back nonfiction picks – solely for this book. I am dying to read it! Desmond’s previous book Evicted was a BOTM selection, giving me (likely too much) hope for seeing this as a March pick.
Synopsis: The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a new and bracing argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it. In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor.
Stash: My Life in Hiding
Laura Cathcart Robbins
This new memoir is by an podcaster and is compared to a previous BOTM selection. It has been a bit since BOTM selected a memoir. Perhaps this will be the month? I am not particularly hopeful since we have seen so few nonfiction picks in the last year or two.
Synopsis: A propulsive and vivid memoir—in the vein of Drinking: A Love Story and Somebody’s Daughter—about the journey to sobriety and self-love amidst addiction, privilege, racism, and self-sabotage from the host of the popular podcast The Only One in the Room.
I have tried a few different things with my predictions recently – adding commentary, a new format, etc. Please let me know what you think in the comments!