The Best New Book Releases Out May 7, 2024

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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_.

My head is spinning from this past weekend’s rap beef goings-on. I am a very naturally messy person, and Kendrick Lamar’s Bibilical-level roasting of Drake has sated my hunger for drama. Shifting gears a bit, if you, like me, also like your drama in animated form, then you might have already started watching X-Men’97, so this roundup of merch will do you good.

Now for new books. There’s the historical/contemporary story of queer love in China found in Cinema Love by Jiaming Tang; the fictional rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s life in Ella by Diane Richards; and a collection of short horror stories set in a reimagined Lagos, Nigeria in Ghostroots by ‘Pemi Aguda.

Romance-wise, Jackie Lau is serving up a sweet rom-com with Love, Lies, and Cherry Pie, and Colm Tóibín’s Long Island takes a look at Irish-born Eilis Lacey as she contends with life in 1970s New York.

As for the books below, there’s Renée Watson’s adult debut, a time-traveling slice-of-life comedy, a time backtracking family saga (that we have an excerpt for), and more.

cover of Skin & Bones by Renée Watson

Skin & Bones by Renée Watson

In Watson’s adult debut, 40-year-old Lena Baker feels like she has things figured out. She’s got besties she kicks it with regularly, and a wedding just a few weeks away. But then a wedding-day confession rocks her world and she finds herself grieving instead of joyful. Now, she has to find ways to continue to support her daughter, educate on the lost history of Black people in Oregon, all while everything she knows about friendship, motherhood, and relationships gets brought into question.

cover of The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

I like a “busy” novel, and The Ministry of Time, with its promises of time-traveling romance, slice-of-life comedy, and spy thriller, sounds plenty busy. A little ways into the future, a civil servant is offered beaucoup bucks, but the new project that comes with this increase in salary is a little…weird. It involves her working as a “bridge” to a time “expat” — someone from another time. Her expat is Commander Graham Gore, a man from 1847 who was supposed to have died during an Arctic expedition. As he lives with the civil servant turned bridge and adjusts to things like washing machines, music apps, and women’s constantly exposed calves, he falls in love. A zany cast of secondary characters — which include everything from a 17th-century film (and Tinder) lover to a former spy and a WWI captain — round out this everywhere kind of story.

cover of The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

Twenty years ago, Detective Chelsey Clahoun’s sister disappeared. Her sister was never seen again, so Chelsey dedicated her life to finding other missing girls, which is a pretty depressing vocation, not going to lie. Turns out people are awful, and Chelsey’s cases rarely end nicely, but then a teenager who’d been missing for two years — Ellie Black — turns up alive in the woods. The happy turn of events turns sour, though, when Chelsey realizes that Ellie is not trying to spill on what happened, who took her, or where she’s been all this time, and Chelsey will need to know all those things if she’s to stop another girl from being taken.

cover of Shanghailanders by Juli Min

Shanghailanders by Juli Min

This family saga, with its ever-looming apocalypse, takes us backwards in time. We start off in 2040 with handsome and wealthy family man Leo Yang. He and his wife Eko change routes from Boston to Paris once their eldest daughter reveals something big. Meanwhile, a year prior, their youngest daughter Kiko is following in her idol Marilyn Monroe’s footsteps, no matter the cost. As the years wind down to 2014, and the lives of the parents and daughters of the Yang family, and those around them, take centerstage, we see that certain things — like secrets, the complexities of love, and the realities of longing — never change.

cover of You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian

You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian

Okay, here’s something I don’t see often: a queer, mid-century romance that’s also got slow burn and grumpy/sunshine elements. Cat Sebastian might have ate a little something with this premise. You Should Be So Lucky drops us into the 1960 baseball season, a time when Eddie O’Leary is in a bit of a slump. He can’t seem to make the bat and ball connect, his new teammates are super shady, and he’s living out of his suitcase. On top of all that, he has to do interviews with this uppity reporter, Mark Bailey. Now, Mark is also having A Time. First of all, he’s an arts writer, not a sports writer, but even his art writing hasn’t been going too well as of late. He’s also mourning a partner he’d had to be secret about. And now he has to spend a whole season with a baseball team’s new obnoxious member. But then, Mark’s and Eddie’s isolation and simultaneous doldrums create the perfect storm, and soon, they’ll have to make some serious decisions surrounding their being together.

cover of Hunted by Abir Mukherjee

Hunted by Abir Mukherjee

In London, a man is brought in by the police for questioning. Then, in Florida, a mother fears that her son has been radicalized. The two parents are connected through their missing children and an organization in Oregon that has diabolical plans for the U.S. Both parents are thrown together, on the run, and in a race against time to save the country and their children.

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!