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13 Book Releases We're Excited About This Month

And What You Can Read in the Meantime

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 03, 2021

Reading Ahead

No matter how many books we may already have on our TBR shelves, we still can't resist browsing (and buying!) the exciting new reads of the season. From space travel sci-fi to quirky romance to heartbreaking memoir, this month's releases check a lot of boxes! Here are thirteen volumes that we can't wait to get our hands on. A few of these may already be available. (But we'll still include the suggestion of a previously published book with a similar vibe.)

May 4

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Millions of miles from home, Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

What to read first: The Martian by Andy Weir

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Spanning Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles, this epic historical novel traces the unforgettable adventures of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost.

What to read first: Euphoria by Lily King

Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber

Ethan, a young lawyer in New York, learns that his father has long had a second family—a Thai wife and two kids living in Queens. In the wake of this discovery, the interlocking fates of both families lead to surprise loyalties, love triangles, and a reservoir of inner strength.

What to read first: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in this captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman—Evangelina Cisneros—who changed the course of history.

What to read first: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

May 11

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

You may not recognize her name, but this is the author behind HBO's recent series The Undoing and her newest book promises the same sort of breathless suspense. A young MFA student dies unexpectedly after handing his brilliant manuscript to his frustrated writing teacher. It's a story too good not to steal.

What to read first: You Should Have Known (the basis of HBO's The Undoing) by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this poignant work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, Adichie writes about how the recent loss of her father shook her to her core. As one of the millions of people grieving in the midst of the pandemic, she discusses the familial and cultural dimensions of grief and the loneliness and anger inherent in it.

What to read first: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex. They have nothing in common. And yet somehow, they are the best of friends. They live far apart, but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. Now they have one last chance to make it right.

What to read first: Beach Read by Emily Henry

May 18

Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome

The author's story of growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel this achingly beautiful debut. His experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in.

What to read first: Heavy by Kiese Laymon

Don't Breathe a Word by Jordyn Taylor

This YA thriller centers on a girl who has never felt like she belonged. So, when Eva is invited to join an elite secret society at her fancy boarding school, she jumps at the opportunity. But what if being a part of the Fives is about more than belonging? Are they the keepers of some of the school's biggest secrets?

What to read first: The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. But then she hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company. The reliability of numbers is something Jess can count on. At least she thought so.

What to read first: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

May 25

Revival Season by Monica West

The fifteen-year-old daughter of a famous Baptist preacher discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both faith and family. Celebrating both feminism and faith, this debut novel is a story of spiritual awakening and disillusionment in a Southern, Black, evangelical community.

What to read first: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

After her husband's boat capsizes, his body lost at sea, Piper carries on as if he's still there beside her. And her neighbors on tiny Frick Island humor her apparent delusion. When a struggling journalist happens upon an entire town pretending to see a man who isn't there, it looks like the big story he's been waiting for.

What to read first: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

The Guncle by Stephen Rowley

A warm, funny novel about a once-famous sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him temporarily in the role of primary guardian of his niece and nephew. Patrick, aka Gay Uncle Patrick, has always loved spending time with Maisie and Grant for shorter visits. But now he's a bit out of his league.

What to read first: Lily and the Octopus by Stephen Rowley

Hopefully there's something here that catches your eye! Let us know which new books you're most excited about this month. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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