30 of Our Most Anticipated May YA Books

Thirty? Yes, thirty. A committed May reader will mow down this list with a day to spare (on that day, you’ll reread The Golden Compass because reasons). So stretch your reader muscles, stock up on Gatorade, and get thee to the reading fort. May’s gonna be a doozy.

Girl Out of Water, by Laura Silverman (May 1)
Anise is a displaced surfer girl in this debut novel about what remains when your torn away from all the things you thought made you you. When her widowed aunt is badly injured in a car accident, Anise and her father leave her beloved Santa Cruz behind, on the cusp of her last summer before senior year, to help care for the woman’s kids. As her contact with her friends back home fades away, and while dealing with the psychic pressures of being in the space where her estranged mother grew up, Anise falls for a new boy and a new sport, and discovers the beauties of a plan B.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (Court of Thorns and Roses #3), by Sarah J. Maas (May 2)
In 2015 series starter A Court of Thorns and Roses, a huntress trying to feed her starving family becomes key to saving the faerie realm of Prythian. After Feyre kills a wolflike beast in the woods bordering Prythian and the human world, a frightening fae comes to collect: her life for the life she took. But living with gorgeous faerie lord Tamlin isn’t the doom she thought it would be—nor is Prythian as settled as she once believed. In follow-up A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre is more powerful than ever, but has sacrificed much to return to the Spring Court. The dark deal she made with the Night Court still hangs over her head, and the safety of herself, her love, and her two-realm world are far from secure. In A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre must navigate the changeable High Lords of Prythian, under the shadow of approaching war.

How to Make a Wish, by Ashley Herring Blake (May 2)
Life with her widowed mother, Maggie, leaves Grace constantly on the defensive: at any time she might be expected to pack up and go, heading for a new home, a new opportunity that never pans out. Things get worse when they move in with one of Maggie’s awful exes, but a ray of hope arrives for Grace in the form of Eva, a new friend who might be becoming something more. But when her mother steps in, forging a motherly relationship of her own with Eva—one Grace knows could never be anything but flimsy—it might be one sabotage too many.

Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate (May 2)
Jordan Sun knows she belongs onstage, but the casting directors at her elite performing arts boarding school can’t seem to get on board with her low, Alto 2 range. Then an opportunity hits: a chance to audition for the Sharpshooters, her school’s beloved a cappella group. The catch? The Sharpshooters are all male. A quickie makeover later, and Jordan has become Julian, snagging the spot and setting out on a path of subterfuge, vocal bliss, and explorations of identity and expectation.

The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth Wein (May 2)
Code Name Verity prequel? CODE NAME VERITY PREQUEL! In this long-awaited companion to the bestselling, beloved World War II–set heartbreaker that introduced friend duo for the ages Maddie and Queenie, we get to know Queenie—aka Julie—before she became a spy. Julie wakes up in the hospital, her body and her memory broken. Figuring out what happened to land her there becomes her burning quest, as she befriends the Scottish boy who found her after she was hurt, gets to know his family and the bigotry they face, and untangles the way her own injuries connect with the disappearance of one of her father’s employees.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean, by Jenny Han (May 2)
Across the first two books of her beloved, bestselling Lara Jean trilogy, Han introduced a late-blooming narrator on the lookout for both love and self-actualization, through mishaps including the accidental sending of a series of secret love letters out into the world. In the closing installment, Lara Jean is embarking on senior year with a boyfriend in tow, while preparing for her dad’s imminent remarriage and her sister’s upcoming visit home. But the future is approaching on greased skids, and she must decide what the first post–high school chapter holds for her—and for her relationship.

Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith (May 2)
A momentous lottery ticket changes everything in this tale of two friends who bonded over loss…and might be blown apart by an unexpected win. Alice has long known she’s in love with her best friend, Teddy, and it seems like he might finally be wising up to it. Then she buys him an 18th-birthday lottery ticket, and the impossible happens: he wins. Now he’s $140 million richer, and everything is changing. As the distance between them grows, Alice starts to wish he’d never won at all.

The Duke of Bannerman Prep, by Katie A. Nelson (May 2)
In a contemporary take on The Great Gatsby, quietly observant outsider Nick Carraway is reimagined as Tanner McKay, a scholarship student whose presence at Bannerman Prep is thanks entirely to his debate-team prowess. He’s ready to keep his head down and ride his good fortune straight into Stanford, until he’s partnered for debate with infamous party boy Duke. At first Tanner is turned off by his partner’s unwillingness to work—but soon he’s pulled in by Duke’s glittering, easy-come world. Until he learns the ground under Duke’s feet might be as shaky as it is beneath his own.

The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr (May 2)
Flora Banks has one new memory: of kissing a boy on a beach (a boy she shouldn’t have kissed). That kiss blows up her life, first alienating her from her best and only friend (the boy was her boyfriend), then breaking the rule that runs her existence: the rule that says Flora can’t remember anything that happens to her. A childhood tumor removal at age 10 left her unable to make new memories, and she lives a small life under her parents’ care. But the fact that a new memory has hardened in her mind makes Flora certain her life is about to change—and that the boy she kissed is the key. She sets off on a dangerous journey to reunite with him in the distant land he traveled to, blowing up everything she thought she knew about her life along the way.

Dreamfall, by Amy Plum (May 2)
Seven teens taking part in a radical treatment for insomnia find themselves trapped in a subconscious hellscape when the treatment machines go on the fritz. Unable to recall how they got there, the teens navigate a psychological otherworld populated by their own nightmares. Their only hope of escape? Working together to vanquish their most secret fears.

Brave New Girl, by Rachel Vincent (May 9)
Dahlia 16 is just one of five thousand, a girl with the same face and genome as other girls all over her city. She’s not made to think or stand out—but meeting Trigger 17 makes her do both. His attraction to her means she’s marked with a fatal flaw: girls like her should’t be noticed, nor should they notice back. Stepping out of line will mark her and the rest of her kind for destruction, but taking a step toward claiming her own story just might be worth it.

That Thing We Call a Heart, by Sheba Karim (May 9)
It’s her last summer before college, and Shabnam is finding herself growing apart from her best friend, Farah, in the wake of Farah’s decision to wear hijab. She feels unmoored, but soon finds direction in both a new relationship and the beauty of her father’s beloved Urdu poetry. Shabnam makes more than a few mistakes finding her way through a momentous season…and, perhaps, finding her way back to Farah, despite having strayed from both her friend and her own identity.

Dear Reader, by Mary O’Connell (May 9)
English teacher Miss Sweeney is bookish Flannery Fields’ favorite thing about life at Sacred Heart High School. So when the woman goes missing, leaving her purse behind, Flannery is on the case. Inside the purse is her only clue as to her teacher’s whereabouts, the supernatural item that tips this book into the realm of fantasy: a copy of Wuthering Heights, whose original text has been replaced by a diary account of Miss Sweeney’s spontaneous escape to New York City, where, off her medication and increasingly unwell, she searches for her recently deceased former love. Flannery follows her to Manhattan, then is led on a chase around the city, accompanied by a very interesting boy and the constantly updating diary. This genre-bender features lit-up language and a story unlike any I’ve read.

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, by Misa Sugiura (May 9)
Sana’s family may have left Wisconsin for the much more diverse California, but that doesn’t mean she has left the weight of her secrets behind. Secrets like her suspicion that her father is having an affair, the simmering resentments poisoning her social life, and her crush on her female best friend. In her new city she finds an awesome friend group and romance with nerdy girl Jamie, but social and romantic conflicts remain—and the problems at home may be reaching a tipping point.

Ramona Blue, by Julie Murphy (May 9)
As Ramona enters senior year in her teeny hometown of Eulogy, Mississippi, she’s bidding farewell to Grace, her summer fling, and dealing with the stress of her unmarried sister’s pregnancy. Ramona, 6’3, blue-haired, and one of the only out lesbians in town, is comfortable with who she is—but the return of her male childhood friend Freddie stirs up unexpected romantic feelings, causing her to reexamine her sexual identity. Along with that upheaval, a new kind of future comes calling: the possibility of a swimming scholarship. Ramona has always pictured a life spent close to her father and sister, waiting tables and serving as the family glue. Now, for the first time, she has to imagine a life path with herself, not her family, at the center.

Grace and the Fever, by Zan Romanoff (May 16)
A fangirl from way back is forced to confront the reality behind the image in Romanoff’s perfectly titled sophomore novel. Grace is the only one of her friends who never got over tween heartthrob boy band Fever Dream, and only her community of fellow online fans knows the truth about her. Then a chance meeting with band member Jes turns, impossibly, into an IRL romance, in a book that’s kinda sweet, kinda dark, and the right read for anyone who has ever crushed on an onstage stranger.

Flame in the Mist, by Renée Ahdieh (May 16)
Mariko may be a gifted inventor, but she’s also a dutiful daughter in Feudal Japan, where the expected extent of a girl’s ambitions is an advantageous marriage, not a future of her choosing. Her samurai father pushes her into a match with a man whose relation to the Emperor will raise Mariko’s entire family’s position, but on the way to fulfilling her duty Mariko’s party is set on by the vicious Black Clan. When she learns they were contracted to kill her, she disguises herself as a boy and attempts to embed in their ranks. Instead she’s taken as a prisoner to their leader and his right-hand man, kicking off a dangerous and deepening relationship with two men who believe her to be the boy she’s masquerading as, and whose confidences will change her life.

Grit, by Gillian French (May 16)
Darcy’s a girl with a bad reputation, in a town too small to outrun it. Painted through the magic of gender double standards as the town “slut,” the whispers behind her back only get louder when her best friend goes missing. But there’s more to Darcy than meets the eye, and sometimes acting out is the only way she can suppress the pain of her friend’s disappearance, and the nightmare of what happened to her on a life-changing Fourth of July.

Seeking Mansfield, by Kate Watson (May 16)
This Mansfield Park update reimagines Austen’s shy, displaced Fanny Price as orphaned Finley, whose godparents take her in after her parents’ death. She finds solace in friendship with their son Oliver, and in performing—if only she were brave enough to audition for the Mansfield Theater. Then the arrival in the neighborhood of young movie star siblings Emma and Harlan changes everything: suddenly Emma is gunning for Oliver, and Harlan—could it be?—seems to care for Finley. Though she’s drawn to him, she can’t help but feel he’s not her destiny…and that it’s time to fight for what is.

Thick as Thieves, by Megan Whalen Turner (May 16)
The bookternet about lost its mind with the announcement of this forthcoming fantasy novel, the fifth set in the world of Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. It arrives 21 years after the series kicked off with The Thief, and centers on ambitious secretary and slave Kamet. Despite his humble beginnings, he’s sure he’s on a path to power—until he receives a warning that immediately changes the course of his life.

A Million Junes, by Emily Henry (May 16)
In this magical-realistic tale of forbidden love, the children of two small-town families with generations of bad blood at their backs find themselves drawn inexorably into each other’s orbits. June is an O’Donnell, Saul is an Angert, and that should be enough to keep them apart. But with the details of their epic rift lost to history, it’s hard to stay true to the enmity between their family names. When the two dig deeper into the past (via supernatural intervention), they discover there’s more than hatred between them: there’s a curse, one they’ll have to risk everything to overcome.

The Names They Gave Us, by Emery Lord (May 16)
Lucy is set to embark on a summer of camp counseling and quality time with her parents and boyfriend when the worst happens: her mother’s cancer has returned, threatening both Lucy’s faith and her ability to keep it together. When her boyfriend distances himself, and she finds herself working at a camp for at-risk youth instead of her familiar childhood Bible camp, it might be one more blow than she can bear. But she slowly finds her way (as well as friends and a crush) in her unexpected new milieu, and peace in time spent with her mother. But after family secrets are driven to the surface, her hard-won equilibrium is starkly challenged.

Love Interest, by Cale Dietrich (May 16)
In the secret teen spy group the Love Interests, Caden is a Nice, the kind of guy you get close to and tell all your secrets to because you know you can trust the boy next door. Dylan is a Bad, and, well, we’ve all seen the powers of persuasion those guys can have, even when you should know better. Each one has a responsibility to lure in a girl important to their agency’s investigation, and it’s a fight to the death in the truest sense: whoever she doesn’t pick as her life partner bites the bullet. But what if neither one wants the prize at hand? What if they’re too preoccupied…wanting each other? Basically, this is the cutest premise ever, guaranteed to be the most charming spy novel YA has ever seen.

The Crown’s Fate, by Evelyn Skye (May 16)
The Crown’s Game saw Vika and Nikolai competing for the honor of being the tsar’s enchanter, and now that Vika has walked away with the prize, she sees just how dangerous her new role really is. Meanwhile, Nikolai has escaped the death to which the competition’s loser is sentenced, but the shadow world he’s stuck in is no substitute for the beautiful and magical world outside. And all the while, Pasha—heir to the throne and Nikolai’s best friend—is fighting his own battles to keep his title, defeat a new challenger that would take his seat, and protect his kingdom from the growing threat of dark magic.

Lord of Shadows, by Cassandra Clare (May 23)
Clare kicked off her hotly anticipated new Dark Artifices series, set in the world of the Mortal Instruments, with Lady Midnight, centering on the Los Angeles Shadowhunters and bringing in characters old and new. Bound Nephilim warriors Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, grieving the tragedies of their pasts, navigated both new supernatural challenges and old grudges in a deadly, alluring world readers were itching to return to. In Lord of Shadows, Emma has finally gotten the revenge she hungered for, but finds it hasn’t brought her closure. She turns to a relationship with Julian’s brother, Mark, a former faerie prisoner who may be even more changed than she realizes. In the meantime, relations with the Unseelie court are increasingly uneasy, and the hard-won peace threatens to tip into war.

Branded, by Eric Smith (May 23)
Inked introduced a world in which tattoos determine your future, where one-time farm boy Caenum set off a disastrous chain reaction starting with upsetting the scribe set to tattoo him—and seal his fate—on his 18th birthday. His unwitting act of rebellion has wide-reaching consequences, bringing magic-averse government the Citadel down on his head. In sequel Branded, the rebellion is threatened by forces from within and without, and Caenum is speeding toward a final battle that will determine not just his own destiny but those of anyone seeking escape from beneath the Citadel’s thumb.

House of Furies, by Madeleine Roux (May 30)
Louisa believes she has escaped the worst life has to throw at her when she leaves a punitive boarding school for the relative comforts of Coldthistle House, where she has found employment as a maid. But there’s something darker at play in Mr. Morningside’s boarding school, where the guests get something different from the rest they’re paying for. When one of the guests faces a fate Louisa is certain he doesn’t deserve, she must fight to save him from the house’s dark justice. Like Roux’s Asylum series, this series starter features creepy images, including illustrations and photo collages.

When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon (May 30)
This book is a hug you can carry, but it’s also a smart exploration of how hard it can be to hold onto who you are and what you want if you dare to let someone else in. Dimple is a hardheaded coder who dreams of making life-saving apps and fights hard against her traditional Indian mother’s expectations (makeup, marriage, mini-Dimples). Rishi is a born romantic, deeply respectful of tradition and his parents’ wishes and sacrifice. The two first-generation Americans meet at Insomnia Con, a coders’ paradise where Dimple hopes to win the grand prize and Rishi hopes to win Dimple, whose parents have failed to reveal they sent her to the con in order to throw her together with their friend’s son. Despite herself, Dimple finds herself falling for Rishi, and the two must navigate parental hopes, the even heavier burden of self-expectations, and nefarious fellow con attendees on their way to a Bollywood-worthy romance (complete with a Bollywood dance number).

One of Us Is Lying, by Karen McManus (May 30)
When Simon, the widely feared and detested creator of a savage gossip app, dies while serving detention, the police quickly classify it a homicide…and the four teens who served detention alongside him are all suspects. Each had a reason to fear Simon, as each had a starring role in the app update he was planning to run the day after he died. Each survivor takes turns narrating in a twisty, breakneck ride toward determining whether it’s all a big setup—or whether one of them is a killer.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (May 30)
Desi is brilliant, self-sufficient, academically successful…and totally unclear on how one gets a romantic life. When a smoking hot new crush object rolls into town, she decides it’s time to tackle this deficiency the way she has everything else in her life: through studying. This time her source material is the K-Dramas she has spent her life watching at her father’s side. Arming herself with a series of romance “rules” including “Reveal Your Vulnerabilities in a Heartbreaking Manner” and “Be Caught in an Obviously Lopsided Love Triangle,” she sets out to make sexy artist boy Luca Drakos her own.

Eliza and Her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia (May 30)
Eliza lives a comic book–worthy double life: in one she’s a socially anxious, largely ignored high school student. In the other, she’s LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of wildly successful webcomic Monstrous Sea. Then she meets Wallace, a Monstrous Sea superfan (and fanfic writer), saving him from mockery and kicking off a relationship conducted largely through writing. Eliza’s secret is a ticking time bomb as she struggles with whether or not to share it with Wallace, in a moving story punctuated with panels of the webcomic created by author Zappia.

Royal Bastards, by Andrew Shvarts
After witnessing their powerful parents’ attempted royal coup, three bastards go on the run with Princess Lyriana in tow, a full-blooded royal with a target on her back. With assassins paid off by their parents at their heels, the bastards make tracks for the palace, to warn the king and head off civil war…if they’re not killed on the way.

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