Thrilling debuts, fantastical middle-grades, and emotional reads dominate the list of May 2022 new book releases. Finish off your Spring reading strong and pre-order from your local bookstore or place these great titles on hold at your library!
The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton (May 3)
A magical school in the sky is a perfect setting for a middle-grade fantasy series debut. For fans of B.B. Alston’s Amari and The Night Brothers or Jessica Townsend’s Morrigan Crow series, this wondrous book is a delightful multi-cultural adventure.
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (May 3)
I’ve read this book described as a “love letter to the Bronx,” and as a native New Yorker, I needed to check this out immediately. Burn Down, Rise up is a suspenseful, original, and Sapphic urban fantasy that Stranger Things fans will love. Don’t miss out on this debut!
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (May 3)
Casey McQuiston’s debut YA romance? Yes, please! And like, See You Yesterday, this highly-anticipated contemporary romance will be top of the best of books this month. With charming, larger-than-life characters, and an overall writing style that makes you want to sink into the pages, I can’t be more excited that Casey’s latest novel has arrived.
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (May 3)
Kelly Barnhill is known for her atmospheric middle-grade fantasy. Her first adult fantasy is a genre-bending feminist epic. While it is a world like ours, there is a major split: in 1950s, masses of women turned into dragons. In the aftermath, no one speaks of it and even though the subject is taboo, a young women deals with the fallout and her growing questions as her family shifts and changes in response to the loss.
The Honeys by Ryan La Sala (May 3)
If you prefer your beach reads to be a little twisty-with a dash of mystery and a bit of horror–you should pre-order The Honeys, immediately. After genderfluid teen, Mars, loses his twin tragically, he travels to the glamorous summer retreat in her place to learn more about his once inseparable sister. What he finds is a glitzy bucolic getaway that underneath the sun-drenched splendor is more malicious than it first appears.
Zachary Ying and The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao (May 10)
Xiran Jay Zhao’s bold and unapologetically feminist debut Iron Widow created buzz in the book-world and after that breathless ending, I knew they were a must-read author for me. Described as a queer Percy Jackson full of action and Chinese culture, readers should be to see what this middle-grade fantasy adventure would look like in their capable hands.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (May 3)
For fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this chilling debut has is a much-needed addition to a favorite horror subgenre: the haunted house. Rave reviews and buzz has already poured in from The New York Times and The Washington Post, and with its post-colonial reckoning and a fierce heroine, it definitely appears worthy of the praise.
Duet by Elise Broach (5/10)
This feel-good and sweet middle-grade novel is too adorable to pass up. A musically-gifted bird and piano-playing boy team up to solve the mystery of a lost piano, and uncover a connection to a group of brilliant artists, authors, and musicians in history.
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (May 10)
A new offering of Heartdrum, an incredible imprint that prioritizes indigenous voices, The Summer of Bitter and Sweet introduces readers to Lou, a Metis girl living in Canada, who must contend with her incarcerated father and her recently returned best-friend and the ex-boyfriend she has to work with at her family’s ice-cream business. Emotional, real, and full or rage, this is a must-read this May.
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (May 10)
I wonder how long this book will be out until it blows up on TikTok, where its comp titles, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and The Night Circus, are recommended in every other video. With its glitzy and magically premise and with the success of the author’s previous book, it definitely deserves to go viral. The cover alone is dazzling.
Twelfth by Janet Key (May 17)
As a sleep-away camp alum, I love the idea behind Twelfth. A quiet girl who doesn’t think she can find a place at the theatre camp–which she only thinks is for outgoing cinephiles, gets involved in a mystery to find a missing ring that may be the key to saving the camp from closure. I love the queer found-family aspect, entertaining mystery, and important backmatter detailing LGBTQ-history.
See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon (May 17)
I love a good Groundhog’s Day loop trope. Usually dramatic (think Supernatural or Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver), this trope is one of the best devices in storytelling–there’s just so much you can do with it. And a rom-com/enemies-to-lovers time loop story? Set in college? This is one of the contemporary YA romances that everyone will be talking about this Spring.
Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos (May 17)
Have you ever had a Famous Amos cookie? They are by far one of the best chocolate chip cookies. This semi-autobiographical debut novel is by the son of the creator of Famous Amos, a pop-culture icon. As sweet as the cookies, this is a delicious novel that should make it to the top of your TBR for the Spring.
Rising Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones (May 17)
Rising Troublemaker is Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ bestselling guide to being fearless for teens. Hilarious, honest, and for anyone who needs a little help using their voice, this book would be a great gift for pre-teens and up, especially new graduates.
Free At Last by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, illustrated by Alex Bostic (May 24)
A novel in verse to celebrate and honor Juneteenth, this invaluable “ode to strength of Black Americans,” is a necessary read from poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle and with illustrations by Alex Bostic.
Broadway Bird by Alex Timbers (May 24)
This list has not one but two singing birds on it and both are highly recommended. From Alex Timbers, a Tony-Award winning Broadway Director, this vibrant picture book is a great introduction to young readers to Broadway and a must-buy for older fans of Broadway too.
Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda (May 24)
Aside from its catchy title, this book should grab your attention because bi-centric books are important, but also because it has a fun premise and Maggie Gonzales is a fantastic main character you’ll want to follow.
Theo Tan and The Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutano (May 31)
This is a slight departure from Jesse Q. Sutano’s popular mystery, Dial A For Aunties but one with the same fun, entertaining spirit as its older book sibling. When a young boy inherits a grieving fox spirit, he must work together with it to solve the mystery of his brother’s death. Both magically and emotional, I feel like I have found a new favorite book before I’ve even finished reading it.
Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele (May 31)
As someone enamored with 90s teen movies, this book sold me at a comparison to I Know What You Did Last Summer. An estranged group of friends choose to honor one of their own by gathering at the lake where she died. When they uncover her death wasn’t an accident, the once inseparable group must work together to piece together the mystery that spans the course of three summers.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (May 31)
Remember how I said I was enamored with teen 90s movies? One of those movies is a classic friendship movie like Stand By Me, but instead of a dead body, the teenagers in Now & Then (two played by Thora Birch and Christina Ricci) hunt ghostly secrets. I’ve never read it compared to another book. Until now. Her Majesty’s Royal Coven was also compared to A Discovery of Witches, an epic, amazing witchy love series and so I know I need this book and you need it too.
Deep In Providence by Riss M. Neilson (May 31)
Another witchy book about a group of best friends and the grief they carry together. With early reviews praising Deep In Providence for being thrilling, with magical realism and fierce friendship at its heart, I’m excited to start the summer with this debut.