What’s in the box? Who knows! But, we’re going to try anyway.
This is the most honest title I have ever written. I’m not going to pretend anymore that I have a good feel for Aardvark predictions. I was 1/5 on selections last month (2/5 if you include What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez, which I had predicted for March instead of April). Still, I’m going to share some titles that feel like possible Aardvark selections. Maybe I’ll be better at predicting their boxes in the future!
Here are my top 8 guesses (including one confirmed pick!) about what could be coming to multi-colored box near you:
The Society of Shame by Jane Roper
|Publication Date:||April 4, 2023|
From the Publisher: "Kathleen Held’s life is turned upside down when she arrives home to find her house on fire and her husband on the front lawn in his underwear. But the scandal that emerges is not that Bill, who's running for Senate, is having a painfully clichéd affair with one of his young staffers: it's that the eyewitness photographing the scene accidentally captures a period stain on the back of Kathleen’s pants.
Overnight, Kathleen finds herself the unwitting figurehead for a social media–centered women’s right movement, #YesWeBleed. Humiliated, Kathleen desperately seeks a way to hide from the spotlight. But when she stumbles upon the Society of Shame—led by the infamous author Danica Bellevue—Kathleen finds herself part of a group of women all working to change their lives after their own scandals. Using the teachings of the society, Kathleen channels her newfound fame as a means to reap the benefits of her humiliation and reclaim herself. But as she ascends to celebrity status, Kathleen’s growing obsession with maintaining her popularity online threatens her most important relationship IRL: that with her budding activist daughter, Aggie.
Hilarious and heartfelt, The Society of Shame is a pitch-perfect romp through politics and the perils of being “extremely online”—without losing your sanity or your true self.”
The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
|Publication Date:||May 30, 2023|
From the publisher: "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.
“Clever, dark, and hopeful . . . a love letter to reading and the power that childhood stories have over us long after we’ve grown up.”—V. E. Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Make a wish. . . .
Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.
But be careful what you wish for. . . .
Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.
For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.
. . . You might just get it.”
The Home for Wayward Girls by Marcia Bradley
|Publication Date:||April 4, 2023|
From the publisher: "Growing up in the 1990s, a young girl escapes her abusive parents–and the “ranch” they ran for “bad” girls—and becomes an advocate for teen runaways in this harrowing and heartfelt novel for fans of Joanna Goodman and Lisa Wingate.
While other adolescent girls are listening to grunge rock or swooning over boy bands and movie stars, Loretta knows little of life beyond the Home for Wayward Girls, the secluded ranch where her parents run a program designed to “correct” teen girls’ “bad behavior.” Some new residents arrive with their moms and dads, while other are accompanied by transporters—people paid to forcibly deliver these “problem” teens—girls caught swearing, smoking, drinking, or kissing. Many are failed runaways desperate to leave their controlling and sometimes brutal homes. Few have any idea of the suffering that lies ahead. Loretta witnesses firsthand how the adults use abusive discipline to crush these young women’s spirits and break their wills. She understands these girls’ pain and shares it. Since childhood she’s been afraid of her father, and avoids him by spending time with the residents, secretly teaching them the survival skills they’ll need in case they manage to escape. Until the day a horrifying act of violence forces her to make her own terrible choice. Terrified and with no other option, Loretta flees the ranch and hitchhikes across the country, ending up in New York. Eventually finding safety and a sympathetic community, Loretta dedicates herself to working with lost, vulnerable, and defenseless teens, determined to prevent the same thing from happening to other girls like her.”
The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh
|Publication Date:||April 25, 2023|
From the publisher: "From Edgar Award-finalist Adam Sternbergh, an electrifying domestic suspense novel for fans of The Perfect Marriage and Rock Paper Scissors, about a couple who are forced to the ultimate extremes to save their marriage—and themselves.
Seven Days. Seven Questions. Forever Changed.
Daisy and Craig’s marriage is in serious trouble. That’s why Daisy has signed up for The Eden Test, a week-long getaway for couples in need of a fresh start. Yet even as she’s struggling to salvage her marriage, it seems Craig has plans to leave her for another woman. In fact, his bags are already packed—long before he arrives to meet Daisy in this remote cabin in the woods of upstate New York.
At first, their week away is marked by solitude, connection, and natural beauty—and only a few hostile locals. But what Craig doesn’t know is that Daisy, a slyly talented actress, has her own secrets, including a burner phone she’s been using for mysterious texts. Not to mention the Eden Test itself, which poses a searing new question to the couple every day, each more explosive than the last. Their marriage was never perfect, but now the lies and revelations are piling up, as the week becomes much more than they bargained for…How far are they willing to go?
Adam Sternbergh brings his wit, originality, and a Hitchcockian sense of dread to this chilling, surprising, and wholly entertaining portrait of a marriage on the brink.”
Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul
|Publication Date:||May 2, 2023|
From the publisher: "A multigenerational saga that traverses the Jim Crow South, the glamour of old Hollywood, and the seductive draw of present-day showbiz as secrets split a family tree into Black, white, and something in between.
When white silver screen icon Kitty Karr Tate dies and bequeaths her multimillion-dollar estate to the three Black St. John sisters, it prompts questions.
A celebrity in her own right, Elise St. John would rather focus on sorting out Kitty’s affairs than deal with the press. But what she discovers in one of Kitty’s journals rocks her world harder than any other brewing scandal could—and between a cheating fiancé and fallout from a controversial social media post, there are plenty. And if this isn’t enough, her Vogue shoot has been complicated by the arrival of Jasper, a handsome and knowing photographer who may offer the Elise a chance at her most authentic pose yet—if she can defy her publicist, plan Kitty’s memorial, and figure out how she really feels under the harsh gaze of the paparazzi, the public—and her mother. The discovery that her longtime neighbor and mentor was her grandmother, a Black woman who had been passing for white for over sixty years, threatens to expose a web of unexpected family ties, debts owed, and debatable crimes that could, with one pull, unravel the all-American fabric of her sisters and those closest to them.
Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is a sprawling tale that explores the celebrity machine, the burdens of being Black, the privileges gained by fading to white, and the power that family secrets have to erode and complicate the lives of future generations.”
Swamp Story by Dave Barry
|Publication Date:||May 2, 2023|
From the publisher: "Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times bestselling author and actual Florida Man Dave Barry returns with a Florida caper full of oddballs and more twists and turns than a snake slithering away from a gator.
Jesse Braddock is trapped in a tiny cabin deep in the Everglades with her infant daughter and her ex-boyfriend, a wannabe reality TV star who turned out to be a lot prettier on the outside than on the inside. Broke and desperate for a way out, Jesse stumbles across a long-lost treasure, which could solve all her problems—if she can figure out how to keep it. The problem is, some very bad men are also looking for the treasure, and they know Jesse has it.
Meanwhile, Ken Bortle of Bortle Brothers Bait and Beer has hatched a scheme to lure tourists to his failing store by making viral videos of the “Everglades Melon Monster.” The Monster is in fact an unemployed alcoholic newspaperman named Phil wearing a Dora the Explorer costume head. Incredibly, this plan actually works, inspiring a horde of TikTokers to swarm into the swamp in search of the monster at the same time villains are on the hunt for Jesse’s treasure. Amid this mayhem, a presidential hopeful arrives in the Everglades to start his campaign. Needless to say, it does not go as planned. In fact, nothing in this story goes as planned. This is, after all, Florida.”
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal
|Publication Date:||April 18, 2023|
From the publisher: "From the New York Times bestselling author J. Ryan Stradal, a story of a couple from two very different restaurant families in rustic Minnesota, and the legacy of love and tragedy, of hardship and hope, that unites and divides them.
Mariel Prager needs a break. Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she’s been holed up for more than a week. The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel’s grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it. When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.
Ned is also an heir—to a chain of home-style diners—and while he doesn’t have a head for business, he knows his family’s chain could provide a better future than his wife’s fading restaurant. In the aftermath of a devastating tragedy, Ned and Mariel lose almost everything they hold dear, and the hard-won victories of each family hang in the balance. With their dreams dashed, can one fractured family find a way to rebuild despite their losses, and will the Lakeside Supper Club be their salvation?
In this colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds, J. Ryan Stradal has once again given us a story full of his signature honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they grapple with love, loss, and marriage; what we hold onto and what we leave behind; and what our legacy will be when we are gone.”
Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson
|Publication Date:||April 4, 2023|
From the publisher: "The USA Today bestselling author of The Gown returns with another enthralling and royal-adjacent historical novel—as the lives of three very different residents of London’s historic Blue Lion hotel converge in a potentially explosive climax on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.
It is Coronation Year, 1953, and a new queen is about to be crowned. The people of London are in a mood to celebrate, none more so than the residents of the Blue Lion hotel.
Edie Howard, owner and operator of the floundering Blue Lion, has found the miracle she needs: on Coronation Day, Queen Elizabeth in her gold coach will pass by the hotel’s front door, allowing Edie to charge a fortune for rooms and, barring disaster, save her beloved home from financial ruin. Edie’s luck might just be turning, all thanks to a young queen about her own age.
Stella Donati, a young Italian photographer and Holocaust survivor, has come to live at the Blue Lion while she takes up a coveted position at Picture Weekly magazine. London in celebration mode feels like a different world to her. As she learns the ins and outs of her new profession, Stella discovers a purpose and direction that honor her past and bring hope for her future.
James Geddes, a war hero and gifted artist, has struggled to make his mark in a world that disdains his Indian ancestry. At the Blue Lion, though, he is made to feel welcome and worthy. Yet even as his friendship with Edie deepens, he begins to suspect that something is badly amiss at his new home.
When anonymous threats focused on Coronation Day, the Blue Lion, and even the queen herself disrupt their mood of happy optimism, Edie and her friends must race to uncover the truth, save their home, and expose those who seek to erase the joy and promise of Coronation Year.”