13 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in May

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Once April showers are finally behind us, is there anything better than taking in the May flowers while lounging outside and reading a book? Maybe a thriller that’s billed as Big Little Lies meets Gossip Girl? Or a rom-com about a rising pop star and an industry veteran? To get you started, we’ve rounded up 13 of the month’s most exciting new releases.

The 17 Best Beach Reads of Summer 2023

books to read in may wong

1. Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong

Jane Wong (How Not to Be Afraid of Everything) describes her debut memoir as “a rallying cry for radical Asian American women who are restaurant babies and tender daughters and rats like me who want to do more than just survive.” Wong spent much of her childhood at her family’s Chinese American restaurant on the Jersey shore. When her father disappeared into the casinos of Atlantic City, losing the family restaurant and leaving her family destitute, Wong’s mother showed her what it takes to make a life beyond just surviving. Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City is about growing up working class, Wong’s path to forgiving her father, dealing with abusive and toxic men and the beauty of mother-daughter relationships.

books to read in may tady

2. Super Bloom by Megan Tady

Massage therapist Joan Johnston can't seem to get her life back on track. She's grieving the accidental death of her boyfriend, Samuel, and her job at an iconic Vermont spa is in jeopardy. That’s where she meets a new client, the controversial romance novelist Carmen Bronze, who tells Joan that she’ll pay off her massage school debt if Joan will share insider dirt on the spa for Carmen’s next book. The task reinvigorates Joan, and she's drawn to writing her own romance novel based on her relationship with Samuel. But when Carmen discovers what Joan has been up to, she steals Joan’s manuscript and claims it as her own, leading Joan’s new motley crew of friends to hatch an audacious (and funny) plan to get it back.

books to read in may greenberg

3. You Are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg

People from very different walks of life are connected by a mall in Albany, NY, that's preparing to close for good in Greenberg's debut novel (after the story collections Faulty Predictions and Vanished). There's a hairstylist yearning to be a children's book illustrator and her young son, who's covertly perfecting his magic act while he keeps his mom company at the salon; a high school student who dreams of stardom while working in the food court; and more compelling characters reckoning with their pasts, presents and futures.

books to read in may mcmasters

4. The Leaving Season: A Memoir in Essays by Kelly McMasters

Kelly McMasters is an essayist, single mother, professor and former bookseller. In her mid-30s, she was living her dream after moving with her husband from New York City to rural Pennsylvania, where their children roamed idyllic acres. But soon, she was quietly plotting her escape. In The Leaving Season, McMasters chronicles in love and carving out a life in the city, the slow dissolution of her relationship and the complexities of making a new home for herself and her children as a single parent, along the way exploring masculinity in the countryside through the life of a freemartin calf, the vulnerability of new motherhood in the wake of a car crash and more.

books to read in may alexander

5. Love Buzz by Neely Tubati-Alexander

In this exciting debut novel, a chance romantic encounter during a wild night at a Mardi Gras bachelorette party sends strait-laced Serena’s carefully constructed life into chaos. The trip seems to be doomed from the start—the maid of honor is a piece of work, Mardi Gras crowds are unfathomable and those hangovers. Then, out of nowhere, sparks fly with a handsome stranger at a Bourbon Street bar—the last stop of the evening. After their conversation is cut short, Serena is determined to find him, but has few details to go on besides that he works at a tech company and loves Lil Wayne. Nevertheless, she persists, combing Seattle for her New Orleans flame and deciding if the pursuit of real passion is worth it before she destroys the life she always thought she wanted.

books to read in may bellezza

6. Emma of 83rd Street by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding

Jane Austen's Emma meets Manhattan's modern dating scene in this witty and romantic debut novel. Beautiful, clever and rich, Emma has lived on the Upper East Side for 23 years with little to worry about. That is, until her budding matchmaking hobby results in her sister's marriage—and subsequent move downtown. With her sister gone and all her friends traveling abroad, Emma has to start her final year of grad school alone…and bored. So when she meets Nadine, a sweet Ohio transplant, she not only sees a potential new friend but a new project. As Emma's best laid plans are foiled at every turn, she and Nadine slowly realize that even the most familiar stories still have some surprises.

may books tinx

7. The Shift: Change Your Perspective, Not Yourself by Tinx

With her first book, lifestyle creator and podcast host Tinx wants to guide readers to a new way of thinking about life, love, happiness and friendships. In The Shift, Tinx shares stories from her life—the good and the bad—to help you better understand how to step into your power and own self-worth, with lessons on how to feed the things that fulfill you, how to break up with dignity, how knowing your worth makes you a better friend and partner and more.

books to read in may varadarajan

8. Late Bloomers by Deepa Varadarajan

In this heartwarming debut novel, an Indian American family is turned upside down when the parents split up 36 into their arranged marriage. Recently divorced Suresh and Lata are trying to start new lives after decades together. Suresh is trying to navigate the world of online dating, while Lata is enjoying her newfound independence. Their kids are having a harder time. Priya thinks her father's online pursuits are distasteful and Nikesh is hiding truths about his own relationship. Over the course of three weeks in August, the whole family will uncover one another's secrets, confront the limits of love and loyalty and explore life's second chances.

books to read in may irby

9. Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

The latest essay collection from New York Times best-selling author Samantha Irby (Wow, No Thank You) is about the less glamorous sides of success. Her career is at an all-time high, but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory. She’s turned away from restaurants for being inappropriately dressed and adopts a deranged pandemic dog. In Quietly Hostile, Irby gives advice for the bathroom etiquette and how to speak with an actual teenager among other relatable, poignant and unbelievably funny observations.

books to read in may cameron

10. No One Needs to Know by Lindsay Cameron

Billed as Big Little Lies meets Gossip Girl, Cameron’s (Just One Look) latest thriller is about what happens when an anonymous neighborhood forum gets hacked and the darkest secrets of New York's wealthiest residents come to light. UrbanMyth was created so that residents of the Upper East Side could anonymously share secret bank accounts, steamy affairs and juicy gossip. When a hacktivist group exposes the forum’s posters, someone ends up dead. Is the murderer Heather, the outsider who wants to fit in, Norah, the high-powered executive or Poppy, whose perfect façade conceals dark secrets? Each of them has something to hide—and will do anything to keep them hidden.

books to read in may hankin

11. The Daydreams by Laura Hankin

In 2004, the teen drama The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers, amazing ratings and a will-they-or-won't-they romance that gripped fans. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why. Almost two decades later, the show’s four stars are on different paths: Kat is a lawyer in Washington, DC, Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete, Noah is poised to become a household name and Summer is the cautionary tale. But now, fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back, but as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.

books to read in may lacey

12. Stars Collide by Rachel Lacey

Singer Eden Sands has been a star for 20 years, but it's lonely at the top. Anna Moss is pop music's rising star, but she’s tired of being defined by her bubbly persona. In a move meant to help them both, it’s decided that the two will collaborate. As they rehearse, Eden and Anna soon realize they have more in common than their musical talents. In this queer romance from the author of Read Between the Lines, they’re forced to decide if the sparks they’re each feeling are a one-hit wonder or the making of a love song-worthy romance.

books to read in may gldis

13. The Chateau by Jaclyn Goldis

A girls’ trip to a luxurious French chateau turns into a deadly nightmare in this thriller for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware. In picturesque Provence, Séraphine has opened the doors of her chateau to her granddaughter Darcy and Darcy’s three friends, who visited the elegant property 20 years earlier while studying abroad. Amid winery tours and fancy dinners, it becomes clear that each woman has a hidden reason for returning to the estate after all these years. Then, following a wild evening's celebration, Séraphine is found brutally murdered. As they race to uncover who murdered Séraphine, the friends begin to suspect each other. As it turns out, the chateau houses many secrets...many that are worth killing for.

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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