Subscriptions Sneak Peek!

We may not have a staff pick roundup for you this month, but fear not, readers! We’d never leave you hanging without some recommendations to get your New Year started off right. If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook or subscribe to our email newsletter, you saw a few weeks ago that we revealed the first three picks of 2023 for each of our four subscription box clubs, but we’re bringing the announcement over to Musing to give you a closer look at the fabulous books we can’t wait to share with our members! Not a member yet? It’s never too late to join the club of your choice. Happy reading!

Sprout Book Club

Sprout Book Club is the book subscription box for picture book lovers. Every month members will receive a first edition picture book. Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite picture book lover for 3, 6, or 12 months, or get an ongoing month-to-month membership!

January Selection

Very Good Hats By Emma Straub, Blanca Gomez (Illustrator) Cover ImageVery Good Hats

By Emma StraubBlanca Gomez (Illustrator)

The January 2023 Sprout Book Club selection is Very Good Hats by Emma Straub and Blanca Gómez. This delightful picture book is an ode to hats, from fancy hats that come from the haberdashery to temporary hats made of bubbles. The words are only half the fun in this delightful read-aloud, because who wouldn’t want to see an empty pudding cup as a hat for a
stuffed bear on the pages of a book?

Early praise for the book:

“Raise your hats, everyone; raise them high!” – Kirkus, starred review

“An openhearted aesthetic playfulness that promises to inspire audiences’ love of categorization.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

February Selection

Once Upon a Book By Grace Lin, Kate Messner Cover ImageOnce Upon a Book

By Grace LinKate Messner

From Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Grace Lin and bestselling author Kate Messner comes a modern folktale about the joy of reading.

“Lin and Messner’s spectacular collaboration celebrates books and reading….A spellbinding ode to imagination and the transformative wonder of stories.”—Kirkus, starred review

March Selection

Twenty Questions By Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson (Illustrator) Cover ImageTwenty Questions

By Mac BarnettChristian Robinson (Illustrator)

Award-winning creators Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson tap deep into childhood curiosity with a mind-tickling ode to the open-ended.

Each spread creates its own world, inviting readers to discuss. . . A humorous vein runs through the book, but other emotions are also evoked, including poignancy. . . The clever, attractive final spread—posterworthy—manages to be both open-ended and final. Humans depicted are diverse. . . .Quirky entertainment to jump-start creativity. —Kirkus

Spark Book Club

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readersEvery month members will receive a first edition middle grade novel — plus a letter written by the author especially for club members. Makes a great gift for the independent reader! Sign ups are available for 3, 6, or 12 months, or an ongoing membership.

January Selection

Trashed! By Martha Freeman Cover ImageTrashed!

By Martha Freeman

The January 2023 Spark Book Club selection is Trashed! by Martha Freeman. This is a middle grade mystery about a boy named Arthur, his younger sister, Ramona, and a ghost mouse named Watson. Their family owns Universal Trash, a consignment shop, where things begin to go missing. With the help of his sidekick Watson, Arthur will follow the clues to solve the mystery.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“A delightful mystery that will lure in young sleuths.” – Kirkus

February Selection

Lasagna Means I Love You By Kate O'Shaughnessy Cover ImageLasagna Means I Love You

By Kate O’Shaughnessy

What are the essential ingredients that make a family? Eleven-year-old Mo is making up her own recipe in this unforgettable story that’s a little sweet, a little sour, and totally delicious.

“Readers will laugh, cry, and embrace Mo completely as they rejoice at the wonderful twist that leads to a happy new beginning for her. Deeply moving and tender.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

March Selection

The Town with No Mirrors By Christina Collins Cover ImageThe Town with No Mirrors

By Christina Collins

In a modern-day utopian community where mirrors, photos, and even words like beautiful and ugly are forbidden, a girl who has never seen her own face harbors a guilty curiosity about the outside world. A thoughtful exploration of self-image in a world familiar to readers of The Giver and The List.

“Immensely intriguing… sure to spark consideration of body image, beauty concepts, and what truly defines an individual” — Booklist


ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months, or for a month-to-month membership.

January Selection

City of Nightmares By Rebecca Schaeffer Cover ImageCity of Nightmares

By Rebecca Schaeffer

The January 2023 ParnassusNext selection is City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer. Ness is still struggling with the emotional scars of seeing her sister turn into a spider and eat their father, an unfortunate consequence of living in a world where dreaming means turning into a literal nightmare. When she takes a quieter job within her organization (that may be a cult), she’s expecting to find some peace. Instead she uncovers a crime syndicate where the people involved will stop at nothing to make Ness stay quiet.

Early praise for the novel:

“So much fun readers will stay up all night to finish it.” —Kirkus, starred review

“Schaeffer’s worldbuilding is economical and inventive, and snappy dialogue, breezy first- person-present narration, and a quirky, ethnically diverse cast add levity, counterbalancing ruminations on fear.” –Publishers Weekly

February Selection

Reggie and Delilah's Year of Falling By Elise Bryant Cover ImageReggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling

By Elise Bryant

From the NAACP Image Award–nominated author of Happily Ever Afters comes a dual POV rom-com about Reggie and Delilah, who fall in love through missed connections and chance meetings on holidays over the course of a year. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.

“Via inspirational self-discovery arcs with fated romance vibes, Bryant pens a tender tale prioritizing conversations on disability and tokenism.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

March Selection

The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway By Ashley Schumacher Cover ImageThe Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway

By Ashley Schumacher

Dumplin‘ meets Well Met in this novel about finding your place in the world, learning love is a risk worth taking, and discovering what happens when you take your fate into your own hands.

“Ashley Schumacher’s latest novel is a delightful read, with diverse characters and an irresistible setting. The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway proves that there’s no better place to find yourself than at a Renaissance Faire.” – Jen Deluca, author of Well Met

First Editions Club

Every member of the First Editions Club receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.

January Selection

In the Upper Country: A Novel By Kai Thomas Cover ImageIn the Upper Country: A Novel

By Kai Thomas

Dear friends,

When things aren’t going well in this country, we sometimes say we’ll move to Canada. Canada, we imagine, will be like home, but with more snow, fewer people, and a heightened sense of civility.

So it was with particular interest that I began Kai Thomas’s first novel In the Upper Country, a story set in Dunmore, Canada, in 1859. Dunmore is more or less the last stop on the Underground Railroad. The town has been settled by people who have escaped enslavement in the American South. The people in Dunmore have each other’s backs. Everyone remembers where they came from, and newcomers are welcomed and protected. When a white bounty hunter shows up to steal back two women who have recently arrived, the elder of those two women shoots him dead.

That’s just the beginning.

Lensinda, a young reporter, is sent to the jail to take down the woman’s story for the local newspaper, but the older woman, Cash, isn’t going to make it easy for her. “Will you barter with me?” she asks. “A tale for a tale?” And so begins the exchange that leads to understanding and recognition.

In the Upper Country is a story of empowerment. It is also about the power of stories. It traces a complex web of interconnected lives and shows how those lives form a net on which people can pull themselves up and out of intolerable circumstances. It is a testament to strength, courage, and connection. It’s not the story we think we know, and it’s the perfect way to begin the New Year.

Yours in reading,

Ann Patchett

February Selection

The Sun Walks Down: A Novel By Fiona McFarlane Cover ImageThe Sun Walks Down: A Novel

By Fiona McFarlane

Fiona McFarlane’s blazingly brilliant new novel tells the many-voiced, many-sided story of a boy lost in colonial Australia. The Sun Walks Down pulses with love, art, and the unbearable divine. It arrives like a vision: mythic, vivid, and bright with meaning.

The Sun Walks Down by Fiona MacFarlane is, quite simply, the best novel I’ve ever read about 19th century Australia. A tense search for a lost child unfolds with rising dread against a landscape of harsh and radiant beauty, amid lives as tangled as barbed wire.” —Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Horse

March Selection

I Have Some Questions for You: A Novel By Rebecca Makkai Cover ImageI Have Some Questions for You: A Novel

By Rebecca Makkai

In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transfixing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph.

“I’ve been waiting years for a book like this! You will laugh, think, think again, cry and stay up all night finishing it. Unputdownable and unforgettable. Makkai has written the book of the season.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less and Less Is Lost