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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.
For April, I predicted 8 of the 9 BOTM selections. For 2023 so far, I have predicted 81.82% (27 out of 33) of the selections correctly.
May has a ridiculous number of exciting new releases. This makes it both difficult to make accurate predictions and fun to see what is actually selected for the month. I am betting that the books will drop on Thursday, April 27th, Friday, April 28th, or Monday, May 1st.
Contemporary & Literary Fiction
There are so many great contemporary and literary fiction books being published in May. I doubt we will see any books published in April or June for this reason. It also means that it is hard to predict which ones BOTM will select, especially without having read them.
There were a few books that I went back and forth on adding to my predictions but ultimately left off, like No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister and The God of Good Looks by Breanne McIvor.
The Half Moon
Mary Beth Keane
Ask Again, Yes was a very popular past BOTM selection. I would be surprised if The Half Moon is not a selection. I will be reading it before books drop, so come back to read my review.
Synopsis: From the bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes, a masterful novel that takes place over the course of one week when Malcolm learns shocking news about Jess, a patron of the bar goes missing, and a blizzard hits the town of Gillam, trapping everyone in place. With a deft eye and generous spirit, Keane explores the disappointments and unexpected consolations of midlife, the many forms forgiveness can take, the complicated intimacy of small-town living, and what it means to be a family.
This debut novel is being compared to two previous BOTM authors. The synopsis also sounds similar to some previous BOTM picks. I think there is a solid possibility that this will be an under-the-radar selection.
Synopsis: An unexpected act of violence brings together a Chinese-American family and a wealthy white lawyer in this propulsive and sweeping story of family, identity and the American experience—for fans of Jean Kwok, Mary Beth Keane, and Naima Coster.
First, how gorgeous is this cover? I am less confident about Lucky Girl being selected, but it has popular BOTM themes and has been blurbed by at least 3 recent BOTM authors.
Synopsis: Longing for independence, a young sheltered Kenyan woman flees the expectations of her mother for a life in New York City that challenges all her beliefs about race, love, and family.
Late Bloomers promises to be a funny family drama, which makes it a prime candidate for selection.
Synopsis: An Indian American family is turned upside down when the parents split up thirty-six years into their arranged marriage in this witty, big-hearted debut.
While Hankin’s last book was not a BOTM selection, The Daydreams has positive early reviews and sounds like a book BOTM members would like. With so many great contemporary and literary fiction choices for May, this may make the cut off.
Synopsis: A deliciously entertaining novel about the stars of a popular teen show from the early 2000s—and the reunion special, thirteen years after their scandalous flameout, that will either be their last chance at redemption, or destroy them all for good.
Avery Carpenter Forrey
Yet another debut! This book approaches several current topics with humor and it aimed at millennials. I think this will be a fun read and would like to see it as a selection. However, in a month crowded with releases and debuts, I think Social Engagement is less likely than some of the above books.
Synopsis: A bitingly sharp and darkly humorous debut novel exploring millennial wedding culture, class, and relationships, all filtered through the ever-present lens of social media.
Dances is a novel that combines contemporary fiction and suspense. I have not heard much about it, but it sounds like it could be a surprise BOTM selection.
Synopsis: A provocative and lyrical debut novel follows a trailblazing Black ballerina who must reconcile the ever-rising stakes of her grueling career with difficult questions of love, loss, and her journey to self-liberation, from a sensuous new voice in fiction.
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Based on the sad girl lit fic BOTM has included so far this year, I think this could be another selection in that vain. It also has really positive early reviews.
Synopsis: Mikki Brammer’s The Collected Regrets of Clover is a big-hearted and life-affirming debut about a death doula who, in caring for others at the end of their life, has forgotten how to live her own, for readers of The Midnight Library.
The Time Has Come
Leitch’s last book was an underrated BOTM selection. Personally, I loved it and would like to see this as a pick (if they do not select debuts). It has been blurbed by several BOTM authors, but I am not particularly hopeful BOTM will feature it.
Synopsis: The author of How Lucky blends suspense, humor, and compassion in a new novel about seven strangers and one very intense evening at a small-town Georgia pharmacy.
As this will be one of the biggest books of the year, I am doubtful that it will be a BOTM selection. However, if I read into the fact that Babel was an add-on at the end of 2022, I could see Yellowface as a selection. It definitely seems like Yellowface is the most BOTM-ish of Kuang’s books.
Synopsis: White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences… Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel
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. Because I think it is extremely likely that The Secret Book of Flora Lee will be a selection, I ruled out other potential selections about WWII, such as To Die Beautiful by Buzzy Jackson, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks, and Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea (which I think could be a June pick).
The Secret Book of Flora Lee
Patti Callahan Henry
Since I first learned of this book a few months ago, I have maintained that it will be a BOTM pick. Something about the cover screams BOTM to me and then add in the synopsis and it seems like a likely choice.
Synopsis: When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.
A History of Burning
I have been pleased that BOTM has featured a few historical fiction novels that are not WWI- or WWII-focused this year. I hope they continue on this trend and select A History of Burning. BOTM loves a good family saga and this book hits those marks along with being blurbed by a list of previous BOTM authors.
Synopsis: In 1898, Pirbhai, a teenage boy looking for work, is taken from his village in India to labor for the British on the East African Railway. Far from home, Pirbhai commits a brutal act in the name of survival that will haunt him and his family for years to come. So begins Janika Oza’s masterful, richly told epic, where the embers of this desperate act are fanned into flame over four generations, four continents, throughout the twentieth century.
The East Indian
I think A History of Burning is a bit more likely to be a May selection than The East Indian. However, I think there is a small chance BOTM will pick this debut.
Synopsis: Inspired by a historical figure, an exhilarating debut novel about the first native of the Indian subcontinent to arrive in Colonial America—for readers of Esi Edugyan and Yaa Gyasi. Set before servitude calcified into racialized slavery, this coming-of-age tale, narrated by a most memorable literary rascal, Charry, conjures a young character sure to be beloved by readers for years to come.
Jasmin Iolani Hakes
I am not super hopeful that Hula will be a BOTM selection, although the debut novel encompasses some common BOTM themes.. I think it would make a wonderful one, and I would be the first person to add it to my box.
Synopsis: Set in Hilo, Hawai’i, a sweeping saga of tradition, culture, family, history, and connection that unfolds through the lives of three generations of women—a brilliant blend of There, There and Sharks in the Time of Saviors that is a tale of mothers and daughters, dance, and destiny. Told in part in the collective voice of a community fighting for its survival Hula is a spellbinding debut that offers a rare glimpse into a forgotten kingdom that still exists in the heart of its people.
Although BOTM does not feature books from this publisher often, the full synopsis seems like a BOTM contender. In addition to being a debut novel, it suggested for readers of Mary Beth Keane, Min Jin Lee, and Rebecca Makkai – all three past BOTM authors.
Synopsis: A gorgeously written and irresistibly intimate queer novel that follows one family across four generations to explore legacy and identity in all its forms.
The Tiffany Girls
Occasionally, BOTM chooses a historical fiction book by an established author when its subject may be of interest to members (think Jacqueline in Paris). I think this book is a contender for that reason.
Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble wows with a gripping historical novel about the real-life “Tiffany Girls,” a fascinating and largely unknown group of women artists behind Tiffany’s most legendary glassworks.
After two romance selections in April, it is looking like there will be at least two BOTM romance selections for May.
Neely Tubati Alexander
While Love Buzz has been compared to two past BOTM authors, I am not super hopeful it will be a selection based upon its publisher. Because it looks like Yours Truly will definitely be a pick based upon the app, there is at least one romance selected for this month.
Synopsis: In this spectacularly enjoyable and serendipitous adventure, a chance romantic encounter during a wild night at a Mardi Gras bachelorette party sends strait-laced Serena Khan’s carefully constructed life into chaos.
Mrs. Nash’s Ashes
This may just be me wishing for this unique sounding debut. However, Mrs. Nash’s Ashes will be released by a publisher that BOTM frequently features.
Synopsis: A starry-eyed romantic, a cynical writer, and (the ashes of) an elderly woman take the road trip of a lifetime that just might upend everything they believe about true love.
Synopsis: When a woman who’d rather do anything than read meets a swoon-worthy bookworm, sparks fly, making for one hot-summer fling in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s new rom-com.
True Love is a follow up of sorts to The Soulmate Equation but acts as a standalone. While Christina Lauren is a big name in romance, BOTM has previously featured the writing duo’s past holiday romance. Rumors point this this being a pick, but I am still a little skeptical.
Synopsis: Sparks fly when a romance novelist and a documentary filmmaker join forces to craft the perfect Hollywood love story and take both of their careers to the next level—but only if they can keep the chemistry between them from taking the whole thing off script.
Early hint seems to indicate that this will be a May pick. As I said in my April predictions, BOTM featured Part of Your World last year despite never having selected an Abby Jimenez book before. That book was seemingly a big success, so it is a possibility that Yours Truly may be a May selection.
Synopsis: Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter. And it’s a really good letter.
Thrillers & Mysteries
In 2022, the majority of early release picks were thrillers or mysteries. Keeping that in mind, I debated whether to add the new S.A. Cosby novel or The Whispers, which both publish June 6th, to this month’s predictions. But there are some solid choices for this month, so I left any potential early releases off my predictions this month.
The Last Word
Taylor Adams is a previous BOTM author. I know his last book was not a selection; however, The Last Word is receiving much better reviews than Hairpin Bridge. I am still holding out waning hope this will be a selection. You can find my review here.
Synopsis: After posting a negative book review, a woman living in a remote location begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror.
The Nigerwife seems like it would be a different kind of thriller pick, which I am all for. As a debut compared to a past BOTM selection, I think there is at least a chance this will be picked. I would also be super happy to see a new BIPOC thriller selection!
Synopsis: This twisty and electrifying debut novel about a young woman who goes missing in Lagos, Nigeria, and her estranged auntie who will stop at nothing to find the truth is perfect for fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer and The Last Thing He Told Me.
I debated whether to include this book as a prediction. I think based upon its comparison and publisher that it has a chance at being selected. However, I am still getting a feel for how much BOTM will steer clear of or include novels that discuss climate change.
Synopsis: For fans of The Last Thing He Told Me comes a page-turning thriller about hidden identities and the terrifying realities of climate change. Ess wakes up alone on a sailboat in the remote Pacific Northwest with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She finds a note, but it’s more warning than comfort: Start over. Don’t make yourself known. Don’t look back. Ess must have answers.
Welp, this thriller will be released by a favorite BOTM publisher and is suggested for readers of three big BOTM authors. I think this is a safe bet. The new spoiler seems to point to this book or The Last Word.
Synopsis: A dream girls trip to a luxurious French chateau devolves into a deadly nightmare of secrets and murder in this stylish, twisty thriller for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware, and Lisa Jewell.
Killing Me does not necessarily seem like a BOTM pick. That being said, I think it sounds fun. I think there may be a small chance it will be a selection.
Synopsis: Amber Jamison can’t believe she’s about to become the latest victim of a serial killer. She’s savvy and street smart, so when she gets pushed into, of all things, a white windowless van, she is more angry than afraid. Things get even weirder when she’s miraculously saved by a mysterious woman . . . who promptly disappears. Who was she? You’d think escaping one psychopath would be enough, but Amber’s problems are just beginning.
Bad Summer People
While the cover and the synopsis make this book look like a solid prediction, Bad Summer People has mixed early reviews. So while it has a chance at being a May pick, I am a bit skeptical.
Synopsis: A whip-smart, propulsive debut about infidelity, backstabbing, and murderous intrigue, set against an exclusive summer haven on Fire Island. Jen Weinstein and Lauren Parker rule the town of Salcombe, Fire Island every summer. They hold sway on the beach and the tennis court, and are adept at manipulating people to get what they want. But even with plenty to gossip about, this season starts out as quietly as any other. Until a body is discovered, face down off the side of the boardwalk.
No One Needs to Know
Synopsis: When an anonymous neighborhood forum gets hacked, the darkest secrets of New York’s wealthiest residents come to light—including some worth killing for—in this gripping suspense novel from the author of Just One Look.
The Guest does not have great early reviews. However, it is the newest novel from a popular past BOTM author.
Synopsis: A young woman pretends to be someone she isn’t in this stunning novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls. Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome. A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.
Horror & Gothic Fiction
Since BOTM has been featuring more horror and gothic fiction novels in the last year or so, I decided to make it a separate category. To me, these books are distinct from thrillers and mysteries.
Our Hideous Progeny
Our Hideous Progeny is a retelling, which seem to be a favorite of BOTM, and is compared to three past BOTM selections.
Synopsis: Historical fiction with a dark twist in the spirit of Circe, Ariadne, and Mexican Gothic, Our Hideous Progeny is a brilliant revisiting of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein that unfolds with a fresh, provocative, queer twist.
Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Magical Realism
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Chain-Gang All-Stars has promised to be one of the biggest books of the year since it’s publication was announced last year. I think if BOTM can get their hands on it, this will be a pick. However, I am not super hopeful since it is being published by Pantheon.
Synopsis: Two top women gladiators fight for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own in this explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel.
The Ferryman does not sound like a typical BOTM selection. I was hesitant to include it for that reason, but it does promise to be one of the biggest May releases.
Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn’t what it seems.
Synopsis: For fans of Madeline Miller, a stunning debut set in the world of Ancient Greece, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.
While Jennifer Saint’s debut novel, Ariadne, was a BOTM selection, her sophomore novel was not. For this reason, I think there is a possibility this will be a pick but there is still plenty of doubt.
Synopsis: From the beloved, bestselling author of Elektra and Ariadne, a reimagining of the myth of Atalanta, a fierce huntress raised by bears and the only woman in the world’s most famous band of heroes, the Argonauts.
Ink Blood Sister Scribe
This debut novel combines family relationships and fantasy making it a possible pick. In addition it is compared to two popular past BOTM selections.
Synopsis: In this spellbinding debut novel, two estranged half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books must work together to unravel a deadly secret at the heart of their collection—a tale of familial loyalty and betrayal, and the pursuit of magic and power. In the great tradition of Ninth House, The Magicians, and Practical Magic, this is a suspenseful and richly atmospheric novel that draws readers into a vast world filled with mystery and magic, romance, and intrigue—and marks the debut of an extraordinary new voice in speculative fiction.
The Wishing Game
This is a May 30 release, so it is a possibility if it is not a May selection it could be a June one. I think this actually makes it more likely to be a pick since there are a few books that seem like shoe-ins.
Synopsis: Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel.
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Personally, I am super excited for this follow up to Firekeeper’s Daughter. However, I have little faith any more that BOTM will pick subsequent books in a series in which they feature the first of. Hopefully, they will, but we will have to wait and see.
Synopsis: Angeline Boulley takes us back to Sugar Island in this high-stakes thriller about the power of discovering your stolen history. Perry Firekeeper-Birch has always known who she is – the laidback twin, the troublemaker, the best fisher on Sugar Island. Her aspirations won’t ever take her far from home, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. But as the rising number of missing Indigenous women starts circling closer to home, as her family becomes embroiled in a high-profile murder investigation, and as greedy grave robbers seek to profit off of what belongs to her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry begins to question everything.
Tell Me Everything: A Memoir
I think this would make a fabulous BOTM selection, and they do occasionally pick celebrity memoirs. The shows Minka Kelly has starred in appeal to a BOTM audience. As I mention every month, it has been awhile since BOTM has had a nonfiction pick and this is not a publisher they work with often. So it is a long shot.
Synopsis: Fans know her as the spoiled, rich cheerleader Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights or as the affluent, mysterious Samantha on the HBO megahit Euphoria. But as revealed for the first time in these pages, Minka Kelly’s life has been anything but easy.
Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir
Rachel Louise Snyder
This memoir sounds right up BOTM’s alley. But as I say every month, BOTM has seemingly abandoned featuring nonfiction books. If they do select them, it is memoirs. This book is suggested for those who loved The Glass Castle, which is a past BOTM selection.
Synopsis: From the author of the groundbreaking, award-winning No Visible Bruises, a riveting memoir of survival, self-discovery, and forgiveness sure to captivate readers who loved Tara Westover’s Educated and Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle.
2 responses to “May 2023 Book of the Month Predictions”
I always look forward to your prediction posts — I love that your picks are often different from what I see everywhere else (but no less accurate)! Added a bunch of these to my TBR. Thank you for the research and thoughtfulness!
Your prediction blog is the one I look forward to most each most! I appreciate the thought that you put into these instead of rushing to get them out as soon as the previous month drops. This month is a good opportunity to discover some new authors!