10 of the Best May YA New Releases to TBR

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

our 1-year Kindle Unlimited subscription giveaway.

We’re giving away a 1-year Kindle Unlimited subscription to 5 lucky winners, courtesy of Macmillan’s eDeals Newsletter. Enter now!

Hey, YA readers! May is here, and although the world is going through some tough and unsettling times, some things stay the same: The weather is getting warmer, and book releases are as hot as ever. May is a great month for YA releases—you probably already have Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and The Betrothed by Kiera Cass on your radar, but you’ll also want to add these debuts, LGBTQ+ releases, and new novels from some favorite YA authors. All release dates were current as of this writing, but know that things might shift. So grab a few good books, and settle in for some amazing reading for the summer months ahead!

Out Now: Queer We Go Again edited by Saundra Mitchell

Aside from having the most delightfully punny subtitle, there are so many reasons to be excited about a new anthology of LGBTQ+ stories put together by Saundra Mitchell, this time set in the present! Featuring fiction from Katherine Locke, Mark Oshiro, C.B. Lee, and much more, this is a fun and fantastical collection of LGBTQ+ stories you don’t want to miss.

The Paper Girls of ParisThe Paper Girls of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

In this dual timeline novel, Alice’s grandmother has just died and left her an apartment in Paris. But the most unbelievable part is that no one in Alice’s family knew this apartment existed—and it’s been closed up for 70 years. During World War II, Adalyn is a young socialite who finds her life forever altered by the horrors of war, and fearful of the Nazis who occupy her city. When she’s given the chance to join the resistance, she is eager for a way to fight back—but finds her choices becoming harder and harder the longer war wages on.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Nishat is having a hard time reckoning being honest about who she is, and pleasing her traditional family, especially when a childhood friend named Flávia comes back into her life, and Nishat falls for her instantly. Then things get extra complicated when their henna painting businesses are in competition with each other, leaving Nishat at an important crossroads. This is a debut novel from a Book Rioter, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the SeaThe Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

When Flora joins a pirate crew, she passes as a young man named Florian both for her protection and to earn the respect of her crew. But when Flora befriends a passenger on their ship, a Lady Evelyn headed to an unwanted arranged marriage, the two dream up a wild escape plan that relies on magic, folklore, and an infamous witch!

ParachutesParachutes by Kelly Yang

Kelly Yang is the author of the middle grade novel Front Desk (one of my favorites!) and I’m excited for her YA debut. Claire Wang is a parachute: a wealthy teen sent from Shanghai to attend high school in California. Dani de la Cruz is an American teen annoyed about the unofficial exchange student living under her roof. Even though they live with each other, they have different ideas of what success looks like, and they can’t help but cross paths as their lives get more complicated.

Stay GoldStay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Pony is going to keep a low profile at his new school—he doesn’t want a repeat of what happened after he came out as transgender at his last school. Georgia has sworn off dating, and is starting to think beyond her high school life when she meets Pony, and sparks just fly, putting Pony and Georgia in very difficult positions of not being able to keep to their resolutions this school year.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix is a trans teen who fears he’ll never find love, and worries that all of his identities might be too much for someone. But when a bully begins sending Felix transphobic messages and deadnaming him, he won’t stand for it. He enacts an elaborate catfishing scheme to draw out his anonymous bully—and is surprised to find where it lands him.

The Boy in the Red DressThe Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

Millie is running the Cloak & Dagger, a speakeasy in New Orleans, while her aunt is away. The speakeasy’s star performer is Marion, a boy in a red dress who charms patrons and brings them back in droves. But when someone begins asking questions about Marion, and then that person is found dead, Millie must race against the clock to prove that Marion isn’t the culprit, uncovering a good many secrets along the way.

We Are Not From HereWe Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Pulga, Chica, and Pequeña are three friends who’ve grown up in Guatemala who find one day that their hometown isn’t safe for them anymore, and they must flee. Following La Bestia, the train route that will take them through Mexico to the U.S., the three must risk everything and brave the unknown for a shot at a better future.

Four Days of You and MeFour Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Lulu and Alex start off high school sworn enemies, and by the end of it, they’re definitely something more complicated. This YA novel takes a look at their relationship on May 7th of every year they’re in high school, from a school trip to the museum to Six Flags, New York to London. Lulu and Alex learn just how much work and how rewarding relationships can be!

What book are you most looking forward to this month? Let us know on our YA Instagram page!

Want more “3 On A YA Theme” posts? Gotcha covered.