The Best New Book Releases Out May 14, 2024

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

This week, the finalists for the Locus Awards — which highlight the best science fiction and fantasy — were announced. Keeping in the vein of book awards, the Pulitzers were also announced, albeit last week. Read about them here.

Now for new books. Siblings journey back to their ancestral home in North Carolina in Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris. We get a taste of the horrible and the fantastical with the Caribbean-set YA mystery It Waits in the Forest by Sarah Dass. And, Lunar Boy by Jes Wibowo and Cin Wibowo is a queer, middle grade coming-of-age graphic novel with a gorgeous pastel palette.

The books I’ve featured below include a bid to overthrow a tyrannical king in 16th-century Korea, a genre-blending memoir, queer horror, and more.

cover of A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

I love how June Hur sets her historical YA mysteries during the Joseon era — a period of Korean history that lasted from the 14th century to the 19th century. Here, 17-year-old Iseul and her sister have lived a sheltered life away from the tyranny of the current king. But then, her older sister Suyeon catches the king’s eye. Now, Iseul travels outside through the forbidden territory to get to the capital and save her sister. Then there’s Prince Daehyun, the half-brother of the king, who is trying to start a coup that will overthrow his awful brother. Iseul’s and Daehyun’s paths eventually collide, and, though they detest each other at first, they’re united in their hate for the king.

cover of Another Word for Love by Carvell Wallace

Another Word for Love by Carvell Wallace

In this memoir, award-winning journalist Carvell Wallace peels back layers of pain, beauty, and survival that have encompassed his life as a Black queer person in America. He recounts his experiences with homelessness, living in a white Pennsylvania town, and raising kids, and the love he’s experienced through it all.

cover of Blue Ruin by Hari Kunzru

Blue Ruin by Hari Kunzru

I’m adding this to the growing list of books about artists coming out lately. Here, Jay’s previously promising career as an artist fresh out of his London art school program has sputtered into an existence of working without documentation in the U.S. While living out of his car, he delivers groceries to people in a wealthy area in New York during the pandemic. It’s during one of these delivery runs that he runs into someone from his art school days. When he first sees Alice, a former boo thing, on the enormous estate, he hopes she doesn’t recognize him. But she does, despite the dirty mask he’s wearing and the 20 years since she left him for his best friend and fellow artist, Rob. She invites him to isolate and recover from his sickness in their barn, and the time Jay spends there turns to time spent revisiting the past, and reconsidering what being an artist means.

cover of Magical/Realism: Essays on Music, Memory, Fantasy, and Borders by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Magical/Realism: Essays on Music, Memory, Fantasy, and Borders by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

In these essays, award-winning poet Villarreal bends genres to look at her personal experiences — like a difficult childhood and divorce — colonial consequences, and migration, and analyzes them through a pop culture lens. In one piece, she’s looking at gender performativity through Nirvana and Selena, and in the next, the racial implications of Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow. She also looks at fantasy and considers collective imagination and how magic and ancestral teachings become invalidated through colonialism.

my darling dreadful thing book cover

My Darling Dreadful Thing by Johanna van Veen

Roos Beckman has a companion who only she can see. Ruth is a spirit who has been dead for centuries, and she is the only good thing in Roos’ life. That is, until wealthy young widow Agness Knoop meets Roos, and the two women have undeniable chemistry. But when Roos goes to live with her at her crumbling estate, someone ends up dead. And, Roos is caught red-handed. But did she do it, or did her spirit companion, Ruth?

cover of When Among Crows by Veronica Roth

When Among Crows by Veronica Roth

This novella is already gearing up to be a bit of a summer hit. In it, there’s a city where monsters feed on human emotions, and Dymitr sacrifices a little bit of himself every time he fights them. One night, Dymitr makes a bargain with Ala — a woman who’s inherited a curse from her mother. If she helps him find a legendary witch, she’ll get an enchanted flower that might cure her. But the flower will die in just one day, and Dymitr doesn’t fully even know who Ala really is.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!