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New Book Releases for May 2023

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

There are some absolutely fabulous books coming out in May! I've restrained myself and am highlighting just one per release day. (That was so hard!)

May 2

Book cover of Angeline Boulley's Warrior Girl Unearthed

Angeline Boulley's Warrior Girl Unearthed ( |

Description from Publisher:

"Perry Firekeeper-Birch has always known who she is - the laidback twin, the troublemaker, the best fisher on Sugar Island. Her aspirations won't ever take her far from home, and she wouldn't have it any other way. But as the rising number of missing Indigenous women starts circling closer to home, as her family becomes embroiled in a high-profile murder investigation, and as greedy grave robbers seek to profit off of what belongs to her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry begins to question everything.

"In order to reclaim this inheritance for her people, Perry has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She can only count on her friends and allies, including her overachieving twin and a charming new boy in town with unwavering morals. Old rivalries, sister secrets, and botched heists cannot - will not - stop her from uncovering the mystery before the ancestors and missing women are lost forever.

"Sometimes, the truth shouldn't stay buried."

Why I want to read it:

Firekeeper's Daughter was one of my favorite reads of 2021, and I'm so excited to read Boulley's follow-up, which sounds just amazing.


May 9

Book cover of Ibi Zoboi's Nigeria Jones

Ibi Zoboi's Nigeria Jones ( |

Description from Publisher:

"From Ibi Zoboi, bestselling, award-winning author of American Street and co-author of Punching the Air, comes a bold new YA coming-of-age story, which explores race, feminism, and complicated family dynamics. The ideal next read for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jacqueline Woodson, and Roxane Gay.

"Warrior Princess. That's what Nigeria Jones's father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother--the perfect matriarch of their Movement--disappears, Nigeria's world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn't want.

"Nigeria's mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father's disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. -There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe.

"As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.

"From award-winning author Ibi Zoboi comes a powerful story about discovering who you are in the world--and fighting for that person--by having the courage to be your own revolution."

Why I want to read it:

I love Zoboi's work—we've read several of her books for the podcast as book club and buddy read picks—and this sounds as if it's going to be another fantastically readable, thought-provoking novel.


May 16

Book cover of R. F. Kuang's Yellowface

R. F. Kuang's Yellowface ( |

Description from Publisher:

"White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences... Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn't write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American--in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang.

"Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena's a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

"So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.

"So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song--complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

"But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

"With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang's novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable."

Why I want to read it:

Kuang's fantasy books, including The Poppy War trilogy and Babel, are absolutely phenomenal. This new novel is a departure from her typical books, but its synopsis is just as captivating . . . plus, I've heard some early buzz.


May 23

Book cover of Magic Has No Borders, edited by Sona Charaipotra and Samira Ahmed

Magic Has No Borders, edited by Sona Charaipotra and Samira Ahmed ( |

Description from Publisher:

"From chudails and peris to jinn and goddesses, this lush collection of South Asian folklore, legends, and epics reimagines stories of old for a modern audience.

"This fantasy and science fiction teen anthology edited by Samira Ahmed and Sona Charaipotra contains a wide range of stories from fourteen bestselling, award-winning, and emerging writers from the South Asian diaspora that will surprise, delight, and move you. So read on, for after all, magic has no borders.

"A pair of star-crossed lovers search for a way back to one another against all odds . . .

"A girl fights for her life against a malignant, generations-old evil . . .

"A peri seeks to reclaim her lost powers . . .

"A warrior rebels against her foretold destiny . . .

"With stories by:

  • "Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ember in the Ashes series, and winner of the National Book Award and Printz Award for All My Rage

  • Sayantani DasGupta, New York Times bestselling author of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series

  • Preeti Chhibber, author of Spider-Man's Social Dilemma

  • Sona Charaipotra, author of Symptoms of a Heartbreak and How Maya Got Fierce, and coauthor of The Rumor Game and Tiny Pretty Things, now a Netflix original series.

  • Tanaz Bhathena, award-winning author of Hunted by the Sky and Of Light and Shadow

  • Sangu Mandanna, bestselling author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches and the Celestial Trilogy

  • Olivia Chadha, author of Rise of the Red Hand

  • Nafiza Azad, author of William C. Morris Award nominee, The Candle and the Flame

  • Tracey Baptiste, New York Times bestselling author of The Jumbies series and Minecraft: The Crash

  • Naz Kutub, author of The Loophole

  • Nikita Gill, bestselling author of Wild Embers and Fierce Fairytales

  • Swati Teerdhala, author of the Tiger at Midnight trilogy

  • Shreya Ila Anasuya, New Voices selection

  • Tahir Abrar, New Voices selection"

Why I want to read it:

I've been looking for good story collections this year because of the Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge category, and this one is featuring some AMAZING YA authors writing South Asian-inspired speculative fiction. Can't wait!


May 30

Book cover of Steven Rowley's The Celebrants

Steven Rowley's The Celebrants ( |

Description from the Publisher:

"A Big Chill for our times, celebrating decades-long friendships and promises--especially to ourselves--by the bestselling and beloved author of The Guncle.

"It's been a minute--or five years--since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they've reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living 'funerals,' celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living--that their lives mean something, to one another if not to themselves.

"But this reunion is different. They're not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact.

"A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley's signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living."

Why I want to read it:

Rowley hasn't gone wrong yet, with both The Editor and The Guncle blowing me away. This sounds like a perfect next novel for his list.


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