May's Most Anticipated YA Reads

Posted by Sharon on May 1, 2021
As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young adult fiction. Every month our team looks at the books being published and how they're resonating with early readers. We use this information to put together a roundup of soon-to-be favorites.
New in May: A boy-crush gets interrupted by a girl-crush in Dahlia Adler’s Cool for the Summer. A teenage acrobat makes unfortunate travel plans in Stacey Lee’s Luck on the Titanic. And climate change necessitates levitating eco-cities in Joan He’s seriously cool-looking sci-fi tale The Ones We're Meant to Find. Plus: Twin witches, bibliophiliac bribery, and the second installment of Maggie Stiefvater’s Dreamer Trilogy.
Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf, and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments!

Author Victoria Aveyard’s new high fantasy series brings together a group of unlikely companions: a sorceress, a squire, an assassin, a forger, a bounty hunter, an avenging immortal, and Corayne an-Amarat, last of an ancient lineage with the power to fight the coming darkness. Aveyard (the Red Queen series) is an old pro with YA fantasy, and fans are duly psyched about this new project.

How’s this for a spooky-cool premise: In the not-too-distant-future, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in a floating eco-city, one of eight levitating around the world protecting its citizens from the violent natural disasters of climate change. Kasey’s sister, Celia, has disappeared on a mad expedition to the outside world—and Kasey is determined to find her.

For several centuries running now, the Gatekeepers have been guarding the portals to various underworlds—magical realms where the creatures and monsters of mythology still hold sway. Twin witches Hunter and Mercy Goode, inheriting their ancestors’ task, must now learn how to become Gatekeepers themselves. When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of mysterious deaths, the sisters vow vengeance.

This second installment of the Dreamer Trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, The Raven Cycle) promises the usual fascinating awesomeness. Ronan Lynch is a dreamer—he can pull elements from the dream world over and into our reality. Along with his stalwart companions, Ronan is trying to make the world’s dreamers more powerful for the inevitable showdown with the Moderators. C’mon! How cool is that?

Karina Ahmed has a problem. She’s agreed to tutor the school’s resident bad boy, Ace Clyde. When Karina’s parents return to Bangladesh for a four-week visit, the train goes off the rails. Karina says yes to Ace’s highly dubious fake-dating plan, but it’s hard to fault her. If she plays along, Ace has promised to buy her a dozen books—per week! So the kid can’t be all bad.

Dahlia Adler (Just Visiting) returns with a YA romance for the happy but confused. High school junior Lara has had a crush on football star Chase Harding for years. Years. Just when he’s starting to come around, Lara gets reacquainted with Jasmine, a girl from a bygone perfect summer. Now that she’s got the guy, she can’t stop thinking about the girl. Why must this love business always be so complicated?

Recommended for fans of Felix Ever After and Becky Albertalli, Emery Lee’s Meet Cute Diary tells the story of a blog gone wild. Transgender teen Noah Ramirez has been inventing fake romances on his popular website—happily-ever-after stories that mean the world to trans kids. But now a troll is threatening to expose the blog as fiction. Noah will have to do some quick thinking, and some actual dating, to get out of this one.

Here’s a dilemma: What do you do when you wake up one morning to find out you’re literally a princess? That’s the problem for Izumi “Izzy” Tanaka, who has just discovered that her previously unknown father is actually the Crown Prince of Japan. Didn’t see that one coming. When Izzy finally gets to visit the country she’s always dreamed about, she’s quickly made aware that the royal lifestyle has its own complications. The food is great, though.

Historical fiction specialist Stacey Lee (The Downstairs Girl) is back with another story drawn from the history books. It’s the year 1912, in Southampton, England. Teenage Chinese British acrobat Valora Luck has swindled her way aboard the Titanic, a doomed luxury liner you may be aware of. Her plan is to persuade the Ringling Brothers to hire her and her twin brother, Jamie, who are traveling with a group of Chinese workers in third class. What could go wrong?

When Humaira "Hani" Khan tells her friends that she’s bi, they shut her down: You can’t be bi if you’ve only dated guys. Untrue, of course, but in a panic, Hani invents a fake romance with Ishita "Ishu" Dey—pretty much her complete opposite. And you know what they say about opposites. Fake dating appears to be a theme in this month’s collection of highly anticipated YA books. Apparently, the universe is trying to tell us something.

Which new releases are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
30 New Contemporary YA Romances for Sweet Summer Lovin'
Readers' Most Anticipated Books of May
72 New Books by Asian American Authors to Read Now

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Labeebah (new)

Labeebah Hasan Ronan Lynch for ALLLLLLL the wins. My favorite Raven Boy hands down. Cannot wait for Mister Impossible!

message 2: by Laiba (new)

Laiba Absolutely psyched about 'Luck of the Titanic'.

message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren So excited for Realm Breaker and The Ones We're Meant to Find! I'm going keep my eyes out for them on a bookshop run next week. Tokyo Ever After sounds like it'd be right up my alley as well.

message 4: by Aqeelah (new)

Aqeelah "Fake dating appears to be a theme in this month’s collection of highly anticipated YA books. Apparently, the universe is trying to tell us something." I LAUGHED 😂😂

As someone who has unfortunately gone through the fake dating drama in real life (more than once), I can assure that it does NOT GO LIKE THE BOOKS SAYS IT DOES 🤣🙃

message 5: by TMR (new)

TMR So excited.

message 6: by Em (new)

Em so good to see Meet Cute Diary and Hani & Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating on here :3 I'm super excited for The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk and Pumpkin by Julie Murphy ^.^

message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie “The Ivies” Should be on this list!!

message 8: by Vardhan (new)

Vardhan Rode Wooow some books in the list have really caught up my attention 😋

message 9: by Savannah (new)

Savannah Lancaster Omg the cover for The Ones Were Meant to Find is so beautiful 😩🤩

message 10: by Cathy (new)

Cathy I wish there was a way for the books not available yet to buy that I have added to my want to read to be highlighted. I kept going to get books that aren’t available! Ugh.

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