It’s funny how, when you spend your life immersed in books, unbidden thoughts of a book can presage an event. We’ve been focusing here at Booklist on the best books of 2012 for our Editors Choice list, but a 2013 title kept popping up in my mind. This morning it surfaced again, and I found myself wondering what how this first novel will be received when it is officially released. Not an hour later, I saw an online announcement of Oprah’s latest book club pick, the very title I was musing about: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis.
Not only did we publish a starred review of this powerful debut in our Spotlight on First Novels in October, we also ran a read-alikes, picking up on Mathis’s theme of the complex legacies of the Great Migration. If someone had asked me then if The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was an “Oprah book,” I would have said, Oh yes. Absolutely.