May is always a great month. It’s starting to get warm, the sun is almost always out, and there’s a sense of hopefulness that comes with Spring. The book selection this month mirrors that. There’s so many cute YA books and romances coming out. I’ve have almost all of these on my TBR for months and I’m looking forward to being able to check them out from the library soon!
I Kissed Shara Wheeler (May 3rd)
by Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston blew up after they wrote Red White & Royal Blue, a book which I read recently and absolutely adored. McQuiston was so good at creating a cute LGBTQ+ romance that felt real and yet also escapism. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of I Kissed Shara Wheeler yet, but I’m very excited for this wlw book!
Goodreads Summary: Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.
But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.
On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.
Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.
Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.
See You Yesterday (May 3rd)
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
When I saw this book, I thought I’d read a book by Solomon before but it turns out it’s just that she was recently on one of these very lists for her January release, Weather Girl. That book seemed to get pretty good reviews and I’ve heard good things about this one, so Solomon is definitely high up on the list of authors I need to read!
Goodreads Summary: Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.
The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.
When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?
Family of Liars (May 3rd)
by E. Lockhart
If you haven’t read We Were Liars yet, what are you even doing. Not only was the book wildly popular when it first came out, it had a recent resurgence of popularity on TikTok. Capitalizing on the return the fame, E. Lockhart has written a sequel to the popular YA mystery/thriller novel. I am wildly excited to read this book when it comes out.
Goodreads Summary: A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.
The Barrens (May 3rd)
by Kurt and Ellie Johnson
I had the opportunity to read an ARC of this book, and I was underwhelmed. The story follows a girl who travels with her sort-of girlfriend to the Barrens, and then is forced to make the rest of the trek alone when her girlfriend dies in chapter 1. I was very much not a fan of the premise and felt that the lesbian representation was unrealistic at best, but this is a debut novel and I’m including it here since I’ve read it! If you’re a fan of adventure books this might be the one for you! If you’re on the cusp, read my review of The Barrens.
Goodreads Summary: Two young women attending college decide to have a summer adventure canoeing the rapids-strewn Thelon River that runs 450 miles through the uninhabited Barren Lands of subarctic Canada. Holly made the trip once before with a group of skilled paddlers she trained with at camp, and she wants to share that experience with her friend and lover, Lee, believing it will draw them closer. But a week in, Holly, the risk-taker, falls while taking a selfie near the edge of a cliff. She is left injured and comatose, and soon dies. Their locator beacon for summoning rescue was smashed in Holly’s fall. It remains to Lee, the inexperienced paddler, to continue the grueling and dangerous trip alone, to save herself and return her lover’s body to civilization and Holly’s family.
In their relationship, Holly and Lee had always told each other stories; Lee had called Holly a “storyist.” Storytelling helps Lee endure the rigors of her journey and engage her grief as she explores her relationship with Holly while chronicling her own coming-of-age off the grid in Nebraska with her estranged eco-anarchist father, who is now serving time in prison.
What We Do In the Dark (May 3rd)
by Michelle Hart
I don’t know what it is about lesbians and their age gap romances, but for some reason they love them?? And as ashamed as I am to admit it…. I do too. I also love books where people enter an emotional spiral because everything in their life is changing and they don’t know how to handle it. In other words, What We Do In the Dark sounds like the ideal book for me.
Goodreads Summary: A novel about a young woman’s life-altering affair with a much older, married woman.
Mallory is a freshman in college, reeling from her mother’s recent death, when she encounters the woman. She sees her for the first time at the university’s gym, immediately entranced. Soon, they meet, drawn by an electric tension and shared past wounds; before long, they begin sleeping together in secret. Self-possessed, successful, brilliant, and aloof–the woman is everything Mallory wants…and wants to be. Desiring not only the woman but also the idea of who she is when they’re together, Mallory retreats from the rest of the world, solidifying a sense of aloneness that has both haunted and soothed her since childhood and will continue to do so for years even after the affair ends. As an adult, Mallory must decide whether to stay safely in isolation or step fully into the world, to confront what the woman meant to her and how their relationship shaped her, for better or worse.
Mallory’s life is transformed by loss and by love and by discovering who she is while enduring both. In this enthralling debut novel, the complexities of influence, obsession, and admiration reveal how desire and its consequences can alter the trajectory of someone’s life.
Lote (May 3rd)
by Shola Von Reinhold
This book sounds so interesting and complicated and I’m excited to read it! Shola Von Reinhold is going to explore black figures in history through a literary lens. One of my favorite ways to learn about history is through fiction, because it adds context and allows me to actually absorb details that I’d skim over if I was reading nonfiction. This book is on the top of my tbr and I cannot wait to read it.
Goodreads Summary: Lush and frothy, incisive and witty, Shola von Reinhold’s decadent queer literary debut immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscurement of Black figures from history.
Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things that she adores, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists’ residency in Dun, a small European town Hermia was known to have lived in during the 30s. The artists’ residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination, but will she be able to break the thrall of her Transfixions?
From champagne theft and Black Modernisms, to art sabotage, alchemy and lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cults, Mathilda’s journey through modes of aesthetic expression guides her to truth and the convoluted ways it is made and obscured.
The Hacienda (May 10th)
by Isabel Canas
I didn’t read Mexican Gothic, but every other book blogger who read it absolutely adored it. This book is being compared to that, and has equally amazing reviews, so I’m sure it’s going to be great. I mentioned earlier that I love historical fiction, but my favorite genre is psychological thriller and this book is a mix of both! It sounds amazing and I’m very excited to read it.
Goodreads Summary: Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…
In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.
But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.
When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?
Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.
Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.
Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty (May 24th)
by Awaeke Emezi
I have been SO LOUD about how much I loved this book and I am overjoyed that it’s finally coming out and all of you will be able to read it. Awaeke Emezi is such a talented author, and this foray into romance proved that they can be a cross genre success. The book was just so damn good, and if you want to hear me gush longer you should read my review.
Goodreads Summary: New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.
It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.
Rainbow Rainbow (May 31st)
by Lydia Conklin
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and I’m SO excited to read it!! It’s a series of short stories about various queer people, and it’s written by a queer debut author, so I’m sure it’s going to be good. I have really been enjoying reading short stories lately because I find that the emotions are so much stronger when they have to be constricted into a short amount of time.
Goodreads Summary: A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that’s not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy.
In this delightful debut collection of prize-winning stories, queer, gender-nonconforming, and trans characters struggle to find love and forgiveness, despite their sometimes comic, sometimes tragic mistakes.
In one story, a young lesbian tries to have a baby with her lover using an unprofessional sperm donor and a high-powered, rainbow-colored cocktail. In another, a fifth-grader explores gender identity by dressing as an ox—instead of a matriarch—for a class Oregon Trail reenactment. Meanwhile a nonbinary person on the eve of top surgery dangerously experiments with an open relationship during the height of the COVID crisis.
With insight and compassion, debut author Lydia Conklin takes their readers to a meeting of a queer feminist book club and to a convention for trans teenagers, revealing both the dark and lovable sides of their characters. The stories in Rainbow Rainbow will make you laugh and wince, sometimes at the same time.