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 books coming out this May that both the NetGalley team and members can’t wait for. If you were approved for any of these books on NetGalley, you can read them directly in your NetGalley Shelf app. Don’t forget to leave a review!

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang returns this May with one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year. Kuang explores cultural appropriation and racism in the publishing industry through the lens of a white author who steals an Asian writer’s manuscript after she dies in a sudden accident. June Hayward’s first book debuted without much fanfare, a startling contrast to her Yale classmate Athena Liu’s breakout into the industry. When June has the chance to swipe Athena’s work on Chinese laborers during World War I and claim it as her own, she takes it and rebrands herself with the penname Juniper Song to sell it.

Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

If you’re headed to the shore this summer, you’ll want this debut thriller in your beach bag. Emma Rosenblum transports readers to Salcombe, Fire Island—where a body has been discovered near the boardwalk. From there, the novel introduces a cast of characters, leaving the reader to wonder which of them will meet a tragic fate. Could it be Sam or Jason, whose childhood friendship transformed into adult rivalry? Perhaps one of their wives, Jen or Lauren, who use their social influence to run the town? You’ll just have to read to find out.

The Duchess Takes a Husband by Harper St. George

Harper St. George continues the Gilded Age Heiresses series with this fourth installment featuring a widowed duchess and the illegitimate son of an earl. Camille is too much for London’s ton—too American, too interested in suffrage. But her position as the Duchess of Hereford still holds a powerful sway and she’s more than willing to use that influence to help Jacob Thorne, who needs investors to start his own club. In return, Camille hopes that Jacob can show her that there’s pleasure to be found in the bedroom, something she’s never experienced before.

Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa

Jonny Garza Villa’s young adult novel looks at the impact immigration laws have on a San Antonio, Texas community through the story of a nonbinary Mexican American teen falling for an undocumented waiter at their family’s taqueria. Sparks fly when Ander meets Santi. Falling in love with each other feels easy, and along the way, Ander explores what their future as an artist could be and Santi begins to feel as though he can find a home in the U.S.

The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw

Does this cover look familiar? You may have spotted this May release in our April Cover Love roundup! Cassandra Khaw’s latest is a horror novella following a mermaid and a plague doctor. As they begin traveling together, they stumble across a village where three surgeons who claim to be saints are worshiped by a group of blood-thirsty children. Readers who like their fairytales on the Grimm side won’t want to miss out.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

As World War II ravages London, Hazel and her younger sister Flora are sent to live in a rural village. They were supposed to be safe there, but one day Flora disappeared. Twenty years later, Hazel discovers a mysterious book about Whisperwood, the imaginary fairy world she created to soothe Flora. Hazel sets out to track down the book’s author in the hopes of learning what happened to Flora all those years ago.

Jana Goes Wild by Farah Heron

NetGalley members have been raving about Farah Heron’s upcoming contemporary romance. Jana Suleiman isn’t accustomed to stepping outside of her comfort zone, but when a wedding in Serengeti National Park throws her together with her ex and co-parent, Anil Malek, Jana becomes determined to let loose and prove his presence has no effect on her happiness. As she begins ticking off items on her go-wild list, Jana starts to rethink how she sees Anil and what she might want for their future.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Sisters must protect a secret worth killing for in Emma Törzs’ fantasy debut. Through alternating points of view, Törzs draws readers into a world where magic can be channeled through enchanted books. Estranged sisters Joanna and Esther Kalotay come from a long line of guardians of a magical library. While Joanna currently watches over the collection of books in their family home in Vermont, Esther is in hiding in Antarctica. When a plot against Esther comes to light, they must reunite and learn to trust each other if they hope to survive.

The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray is back with another witty mystery set in the Jane Austen universe. Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine and Henry of Northanger Abbey, and Jonathan Darcy, son of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam, unite once more to solve a murder. When Mr. Willoughby’s wealthy new wife is poisoned at a party thrown in her honor, suspicious eyes turn on Marianne Brandon, who was jilted by Willoughby in the past. Juliet and Jonathan must act quickly to uncover the truth.

Last Canto of the Dead by Daniel José Older

Some teenagers worry about tests or prom, but Mateo and Chela have bigger issues on their plates. Daniel José Older brings the Outlaw Saints urban fantasy series to an action-packed close this May. Mateo and Chela are gods in human form and must figure out how to channel their powers while learning to balance their teenage limitations against their past freedoms. New readers will want to start with book one, while fans of the duology can dive right in!

Which May release are you most excited about?

Stuff Your Shelves

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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