May’s Most-Anticipated Books

A collage of the covers included in this article

Look no further for your next read. The amount of great new books hitting shelves each month can be overwhelming but we’ve rounded up ten of the buzziest books coming out this May—no matter what genre you’re interested in. Have you read any of these new releases? If not, you’ll want them on your TBR!

Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen

You might recognize Eric Nguyen’s debut novel from our list of 2021 releases readers need to have on their TBRs. It follows Huong and her two sons, who emigrate from Vietnam to New Orleans, leaving her husband behind. As the years pass, each member of the family searches for their own sense of identity and belonging—with Huong coming to terms with the thought that she’ll never see her husband again, Tuan joining a local Vietnamese gang, and Binh taking a new name as he acclimates to life in America.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

MFA teacher Jacob Finch Bonner doesn’t think much when his student Evan Parker claims the book he’s working on is going to take the world by storm. After all, Jake too was once a young novelist who thought his literary career was destined for more. But when Evan dies and Jake gets his hands on a manuscript that is truly incredible, he can’t resist claiming it as his own and raking in all of the fame and glory that comes with it. Jake believes he’s fooled everyone, until a threatening anonymous email arrives calling him a thief.

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Young adult readers looking for some historical fiction won’t want to miss out on Stacey Lee’s latest, which follows 17-year-old British-Chinese twins who are making their journey to America aboard the Titanic. Valora Luck and her brother Jamie have been apart for two years, but she believes that they can start over together in the States as acrobats at the Ringling Brothers Circus. But before they can find common ground, the unsinkable ship begins to go down.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Reader, do you knead a punny baking rom com in your life? Rosaline Palmer has her eyes on the pies, er, prize. She’s been selected as one of the contestants to compete on a popular baking show, and winning would lift the financial burden she’s been under. She can’t afford distractions, but still finds herself torn between Alain Pope and electrician Harry Dobson. Rosaline wants to protect her heart, but as she gets to know both men she wonders if love is worth the whisk of heartbreak?

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

College graduate Jessamyn Teoh follows her parents to Malaysia to help her father recover from cancer. Once she’s there, she begins to hear the ghost of her grandmother. Ah Ma is refusing to move on in the afterlife until Jess helps her to exact vengeance against Ng Chee Hin, a former gangster turned tycoon. Jess reluctantly agrees and finds herself drawn into a world of gods, secrets, and danger.

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Take a trip to Cape Cod this summer with Jennifer Weiner’s latest. A typo in an email address introduces Daisy Shoemaker to Diana Starling, two women with seemingly opposite lives. Diana’s single life seems glamorous compared to the routine that Daisy has fallen into as a wife, mother, and cooking instructor. She’s at first thrilled to be making an adult friend, until she learns that their chance encounter wasn’t an accident after all. Weiner explores the #MeToo movement, the complexities of friendship, and the search for happiness in That Summer.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Cozy mystery fans will want this book at the top of their May TBR. This first installment in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series follows Lila Macapagal as she takes over her Tita Rosie’s struggling restaurant. Lila needs all the help she can get, but it’s clear that her ex, Derek Winter, a food critic well-known for his negative reviews, isn’t willing to do her any favors. When Derek dies under mysterious circumstances, Lila becomes the prime suspect and must fight to clear her name.

In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland

Featured on our list of must-read LGBTQ+ YA books hitting shelves in 2021, In the Ravenous Dark transports readers to Thanopolis, where spirits are paired with those who possess magic. The spirits both guard and control magic wielders, which is why Rovan has worked so hard to hide her gifts. When she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to the handsome spirit Ivrilos and finds herself thrown into a world of deception where she can’t trust anyone . 

How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole

The first book in Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series blew us away, and we’ve been counting down the days until book two arrives. How to Find a Princess is a queer retelling of Anastasia featuring a missing heir and an investigator determined to track her down. Makeda Hicks doesn’t want to return to Ibarania, where she’s expected to claim the throne. But Beznaria Chetchevaliere has been tasked with bringing Makeda home, and she isn’t willing to give up easily. When the two finally begin the journey back together, sparks start to fly.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

P. Djèlí Clark makes his fantasy novel debut this spring with a tale set in an alternate 1912 Cairo, a location which readers may recall from his novella, A Dead Djinn in Cairo. Fatma el-Sha’arawi is tasked with investigating the murder of a group that works to preserve the legacy of al-Jahiz, a prophet who removed the separation of magical and non-magical realms. But when Fatma arrives on the scene, the killer claims to be the prophet himself.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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