10 Great New YA Books to Read in May
Happy May, YA fans! It’s finally getting warm enough that we are in one of my favorite seasons: hammock reading season. I hope that you’re well prepared for the warm weather ahead with the perfect comfy outdoor spot, all the drinks and snacks you need, some sun protection, and — of course — a healthy stack of good books. May is going to be incredibly kind to us and shower us with some amazing new releases!
While I’m sure you already have some of this month’s biggest titles on your radar — such as the new Becky Albertalli (Imogen, Obviously), Hayley Kiyoko’s Girls Like Girls, the hotly anticipated follow up to Angeline Boulley’s first book, Warrior Girl Unearthed — I am going to be highlighting some other great reads that might not be on your radar already. From engaging YA stories that offer some incisive social commentary to swoony romcoms to horror, there’s a lot going on in May, and it was really difficult to narrow it down to just ten, especially as we have five weeks of Tuesday new releases! But all of these YA books absolutely deserve a place on your TBR.
As always, you can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.
Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl by Brianna R. Shrum and Sara Waxelbaum (May 2)
Margo Zimmerman is the straight A student who has everything figured out…except how to be gay. Reeling from a sudden epiphany, she seeks out a tutor in Abbie, who is definitely an expert at being gay but also needs to pull up her history grade. As the two set out on what should be a mutually profitable partnership, Margo begins to realize she’s falling for Abbie.
Your Plantation Prom is Not Okay by Kelly McWilliams (May 2)
Harriet and her dad live on a former plantation in Louisiana, which they’ve turned into a museum and use to educate people on the history of plantations and the enslaved people who used to live there. When Layla and her mother arrive in town and buy the neighboring property with the intent on turning it into an events venue, Harriet is furious and set on hating Layla. But Layla actually seems to listen to Harriet, which is a plus. However, when her school announces that prom will be held at the plantation, Harriet snaps.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude (May 9)
Avery is in love with her best friend and living with depression. Just when she decides that the world is too much and she wants to end things, the world learns that they have only nine days left until an asteroid strikes earth, killing everyone. Avery decides to stick it out a little longer, but in those nine days she discovers how to ask for help, and how to find hope, even at the end of the world.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian (May 9)
In this multi-timeline, multi-POV novel, three generations of Iranian boys learn what it means to find love, find themselves, and grapple with identity. Set against the backdrop of L.A. and Tehran, Nazemian’s latest novel spans from 1939 to 2019, and is a heartrending story of family, queer love, and legacy.
Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi (May 9)
Nigeria Jones has grown up in the Movement, a Black separatist group where she is homeschooled, participates in traditional rituals, and follows the Movement’s strict rules. But her life is turned upside down when her mother disappears and Nigeria finds herself attending Quaker school while grappling with her mother’s secrets and new perspectives.
The Secret Summer Promise by Keah Brown (May 9)
After spending all last summer recovering from surgery for her cerebral palsy, Andrea cannot wait to have the perfect summer. She even comes up with an epic list of things to take the summer over the top, but nothing beats her main objective: don’t let her best friend know that she’s secretly in love with her. What could possibly go wrong?
Julieta and the Romeos by Maria E. Andreu (May 16)
Julieta isn’t one to believe in happily ever afters, but she does enjoy writing about love. And when her writing teacher encourages her class to share their work online, she’s surprised to get notes from an anonymous contributor. At the same time, three very IRL boys are grabbing her attention, making her wonder if her virtual collaborator could be someone she could fall for in real life.
Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo (May 16)
Saint Juniper’s Folly is good at making teens feel trapped — figuratively and literally. Jaime is returning to town after years away and doesn’t love that everyone knows everything about him. Theo is feeling trapped by the town, and even more so when he discovers a haunted house with someone trapped inside. Taylor is a witch with burgeoning powers she’s trying to understand when Theo asks her for help. All three will have to band together in order to strong enough to escape.
Transmogrify: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic by G. Haron Davis (May 16)
Looking for fantastical tales of magic and transformation? look no further than this anthology, with contributions by some trans YA authors you know and love, plus some great new voices! Contributors include g. haron davis, Mason Deaver, Jonathan Lenore Kastin, Emery Lee, Saundra Mitchell, Cam Montgomery, Ash Nouveau, Sonora Reyes, Renee Reynolds, Dove Salvatierra, Ayida Shonibar, Francesca Tacchi, Nik Traxler, and AR Capetta and Cory McCarthy.
Riley Weaver Needs a Date to the Gaybutante Ball by Jason June (May 23)
Riley Weaver is a proud gay femme podcaster eager to finally join the Gaybutante Society, which is known to launch the careers of so many LGBTQ+ youth in the culture and arts scenes. The requirements for joining include attending the Gaybutante Ball, where dates are mandatory. When Riley overhears someone say that masc guys don’t want to date femme guys, he decides to set out and get a masc date to prove them wrong!
The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes (May 23)
Ariana Ruiz doesn’t talk, so as a result her peers barely notice her, despite her eye-catching fashion. But when Luis Ortega pays attention to her, she can’t help but feel flattered…at least until they have sex at a party that Ari doesn’t fully consent to, and the rumor mill starts churning. Ostracized and targeted, Ari feels more alone than ever, until she receives a note in her locker inviting her to join to Luis Ortega Survival Club, a group winged by Luis and bent on exposing him.
When the Vibe is Right by Sarah Dass (May 30)
Tess dreams of being a renowned Carnival costume designer and knows one day she’ll take on her family’s masquerade band Grandeur. But when a rivalry puts the band at risk, Tess finds herself forced to work with her rival Brandon, a social media influencer whom she can’t stand, in order to save Grandeur. But as Tess and Brandon spend more time with each other, she begins to think maybe she misjudged him…
Looking for more great YA releases? Check out April’s round up of new books!