Anticipated May 2021 Young Adult and New Adult Releases

Happy May! We’re already over a third of the way through the year (not sure how that’s possible, but okay), and May is full of awesome new releases! (I also have some ARC reviews of a few of them coming soon for you all, too!) Let me know in the comments which ones you’re most excited for — I can’t choose!

MAY 4

“The Summer of Broken Rules” – K. L. Walther

Sourcebooks Fire

*ARC review coming soon!

Meredith Fox has been going to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer as long as she can remember. But this summer is the first one back since the death of Meredith’s sister. It will all be overwhelming, but even more since since the entire extended family will be together for her cousin’s big wedding.

Unfortunately, Meredith’s longtime boyfriend unexpectedly dumped her two weeks before the wedding, leaving her dateless. Luckily, she has the perfect distraction. Her family has a tradition of playing the ultimate game of Assassin every summer, and this year it will take place during the week of wedding festivities.

But her target just happens to be a very cute groomsman. She’s determined to not let herself get distracted, not let herself be lost in another doomed relationship. But as the week progresses, she can’t help falling for him, which may cost her not only the game, but also her heart.

“Take Me Home Tonight” – Morgan Matson

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Two girls. One night. Zero phones.

Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?

Well. Kind of a lot?

They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.

Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.

That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

“Sunkissed” – Kasie West

Delacorte Press

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

“Meet Cute Diary” – Emery Lee

Harper

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans meet cutes. There’s just one problem: all the stories are fake. What started as a trans boy’s daydreams has grown into a blog with thousands of devoted, hopeful followers.

When a troll exposes the Diary as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save his blog is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but how? Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary.

Noah quickly realizes that dating in real life isn’t the same as crafting idealized meet cutes. With his blog and his heart hanging in the balance, Noah will have to choose between following his own advice or accepting that some of the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

“All Kinds of Other” – James Sie

Harper

In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one who is cis and one who is trans—have been guarding their hearts to protect themselves, until their feelings for each other give them a reason to stand up to their fears.

Two boys are starting at a new school.

Jules is just figuring out what it means to be gay and hasn’t totally decided whether he wants to be out at his new school. His parents and friends have all kinds of opinions, but for his part, Jules just wants to make the basketball team and keep his head down.

Jack is trying to start over after a best friend break-up. He followed his actor father clear across the country to LA, but he’s also totally ready to leave his past behind. Maybe this new school where no one knows him is exactly what he needs.

When the two boys meet, the sparks are undeniable. But then a video surfaces linking Jack to a pair of popular transgender vloggers, and the revelations about Jack’s past thrust both Jack and Jules into the spotlight they’ve been trying to avoid. Suddenly both boys have a choice to make—between lying low where it’s easier or following their hearts.

“Counting Down With You” – Tashie Bhuiyan

Inkyard Press

A lot can happen in 28 days.

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee, impresses her friends, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week!) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Now Karina is counting down the days until everything returns to normal—but what if she no longer wants it to?

“Better Than the Movies” – Lynn Painter

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.

“Realm Breaker” – Victoria Aveyard

Orion

Who is left when the heroes fall?

Corayne lives at the end of the world. Year after year, she watches her pirate mother sail away to adventures she’ll never share with Corayne. So when a mysterious immortal and deadly assassin appear on Corayne’s doorstep telling her she is the last member of a dying bloodline, and the only one who can save the world, Corayne seizes the chance to have her own adventure.

But the world is in graver danger than they ever imagined; Corayne and her rag-tag group of allies are alone in a world that is slowly coming apart at the seams with little but their fading hope to guide them.

Now is not the age of heroes, but courage can bloom even in the darkest corners. And it just might be enough to save everything.

“Any Place But Here” – Sarah Van Name

Sourcebooks Fire

Seventeen-year-old June can’t think of anything worse than being separated from her best friend, Jess. But at the end of her first semester of junior year she’s expelled for drinking at a school dance. It’s bad enough being expelled, but her parents decide to send her away to live with her grandmother in Virginia and attend the all-girls boarding school where her grandmother teaches. Miles away from home, her life, and most importantly, Jess, June is devastated.

She still talks to Jess every day and counts down the days until she can come back home for the summer. But as she befriends new girls at school, and meets Sam, who she is instantly drawn to, life in Virginia starts to feel more real. Her relationships with her friends, grandmother, and Sam get stronger as she learns more about them and herself through her photography assignments. At the same time, she starts to question her friendship with Jess as Jess pulls away.

Can June hold onto the past while also exploring her new future?

MAY 6

“The Hate of Loving You” (Falling #3) – Maya Hughes

*ARC review coming soon!

Six years ago, in the dead of night, I woke up to a cold bed and an even colder future without her.

I would’ve followed her anywhere and she left.

I thought I’d moved on and left all she meant to me behind. But a first love is never easy to forget. Even harder when I once felt our love is inevitable–inescapable. And I’ve been proven right once again.

One night brings us back together and derails our lives. We’re sent on a collision course with a future apart and even scarier–a future together. I’m back basking in the warm glow of her gaze and burning with the unquenchable fire of her touch.

We’ve walked this path before and our shattered hearts have been pieced back together. As easy as it would be to run again, I can’t stop wanting her.

This is our final chance to have what we’ve always wanted–each other. Or it’ll be our ruin.

The final book in the Fulton U universe sports romance, Falling trilogy.

MAY 11

“Where the Rhythm Takes You” – Sarah Dass

Balzer + Bray

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at the Plumeria, her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden—her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything—left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try and keep the Plumeria running.

And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life—as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal—the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PersuasionWhere the Rhythm Takes You is a romantic, mesmerizing novel of first love and second chances.

MAY 18

“Last Chance Books” – Kelsey Rodkey

Harper Teen

Don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning?

Madeline Moore does. Books & Moore, the musty bookstore her family has owned for generations, is where she feels most herself. Nothing is going to stop her from coming back after college to take over the store from her beloved aunt.

Nothing, that is—until a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street and threatens to shut them down.

Madeline sets out to demolish the competition, but Jasper, the guy who works over at Prologue, seems intent on ruining her life. Not only is he taking her customers, he has the unbelievable audacity to be… extremely cute.

But that doesn’t matter. Jasper is the enemy and he will be destroyed. After all—all’s fair in love and (book) wars.

“Don’t Breathe a Word” – Jordyn Taylor

Harper Teen

Perfect for fans of books like Truly DeviousDon’t Breathe a Word follows two girls, separated by sixty years but whose stories are inextricably linked by their connection to a secret society that has run their elite boarding school for decades.

Present Day:
Eva has never felt like she belonged . . . not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something.

But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?

1962:
There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy. However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences.

Separated by sixty years , Eva’s and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out.

“Made in Korea” – Sarah Suk

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

MAY 25

“Not My Problem” – Ciara Smyth

Harper Teen

From the author of The Falling in Love Montage, this queer coming-of-age story about a slacker who inadvertently becomes her school’s underground problem-solver is wry, multilayered, and unflinchingly honest—perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour.

Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t solve. But when she stumbles upon overachiever Meabh Kowalski having a full-blown meltdown, she sees one that she can actually fix. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help—by pushing her down the stairs.

Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.

***

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