10 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in May

Everything we think about sex might be wrong…

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illustration of a woman reading a book in the spring
Olga Strelnikova/getty images

Once April showers are finally behind us, is there anything better than taking in the May flowers while lounging outside and reading a book? I think not…especially if it’s a gripping thriller about a couple reluctantly joining a reality show or a fascinating exploration of why everything we think about sex might be wrong. To get your spring/summer reading list started, I’ve rounded up ten of the month’s most exciting new releases.

18 of the Best Beach Read to Pick Up in Summer 2024

may books rosenblum

1. Very Bad Company: A Novel by Emma Rosenblum

In this darkly funny novel from the author of Bad Summer People, a work retreat goes horribly wrong. Every year, the executives at trendy tech startup Aurora go on a retreat in Miami, and this year Caitlin Levy is joining the team as head of events. When another high-level executive vanishes, the disappearance threatens to derail the future of the company’s sale. Caitlin and her colleagues must continue the charade―the team-building exercises, group brainstorms, etc.―to keep the future of Aurora afloat amid all the fatal speculations. What could possibly go wrong?

may books july

2. All Fours: A Novel by Miranda July

Funny, sexy and irreverent, the latest from New York Times bestselling author Miranda July (The First Bad Man), centers on a semi-famous artist who announces a plan to drive cross-country, from L.A. to N.Y. But 30 minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she exits the freeway, checks into a motel and embarks on an entirely different journey. With wry wit and curiosity about human intimacy, All Fours is about the reinvention of the sexual, romantic and domestic life of a 45-year-old female artist.

may books warnick

3. The Skunks: A Novel by Fiona Warnick

For fans of Elif Batuman and Sally Rooney, The Skunks is about a young woman’s formative moments. From the outside, Isabel doesn’t have much going on. It’s the summer after college graduation and she’s moved back to her hometown, but on the inside, Isabel’s mind is always running. So when Isabel spots three baby skunks in her yard, their presence feels like a fortuitous sign from the universe. Skunks: That’s what she should be thinking about. As the summer unfolds, Isabel becomes increasingly preoccupied with the skunks, while also navigating various jobs and an ambiguous relationship with the son of the couple she’s house-sitting for. In her own life and in the imagined inner lives of the skunks, Isabel ponders the nature of existence, love versus infatuation and the many small moments that make us animal…or human. 

may books lau

4. Love, Lies and Cherry Pie: A Novel by Jackie Lau

Writer and barista Emily is tired of hearing about the great Mark, the son of her parents’ friends. Based on how her mother talks about him, you’d think he was a superhero. In reality, he’s a boring engineer who clearly thinks that he’s too good for Emily. But Emily’s mother is fixated on getting her married—preferably to Mark. So Emily takes matters into her own hands and decides to convince Mark to be in a fake relationship with her long enough to put an end to her mom’s meddling. He reluctantly agrees. With each fake date, though, Emily realizes that Mark’s not quite what she assumed…

may books kwon

5. Exhibit: A Novel by R.O. Kwon

A woman is caught between her desires and her life in the latest from R.O. Kwon (The Incendiaries). At a lavish party in the hills outside of San Francisco, Jin Han meets Lidija Jung—a meeting that changes each of their lives. Jin is a brilliant young photographer at a crossroads and  Lidija is an alluring, injured world-class ballerina on hiatus from her ballet company under mysterious circumstances. Drawn to each other by their intense artistic drives, the two women talk all night. As Jin and Lidija become more entangled, they realize they share more than their ambition. Exhibit asks: How brightly can you burn before you light your life on fire?

may books reid

6. Come and Get It: A Novel by Kiley Reid

Fans of Such a Fun Age, rejoice: Kiley Reid is back with a provocative story about an R.A., her messy entanglement with a professor and three unruly students. It's 2017 at the University of Arkansas and Millie, a senior R.A., wants to graduate, get a job and buy a house. So when Agatha, a visiting professor and writer, offers Millie an easy yet unusual opportunity, she jumps at the chance. The only problem is, Millie's hustle becomes jeopardized by odd new friends, vengeful dorm pranks and illicit intrigue. An intimate portrait of desire, consumption and reckless abandon, Come and Get It is about money, indiscretion and bad behavior.

may books tominaga

7. See: Loss. See Also: Love: A Novel by Yukiko Tominaga

Shortly after her husband Levi’s untimely death, Kyoko decides to raise their young son, Alex, in San Francisco, rather than return to Japan. Her overbearing-slash-loving Jewish mother-in-law, Bubbe, encourages her to find new love, even as her own mother wants Kyoko to celebrate her now husbandless life. Four sections of vignettes reflect Kyoko’s fluctuating emotional states: Kyoko and Bubbe take a road trip to a psychic; on visits back to Japan, Kyoko and her mother clash over how best to connect Alex with his Japanese heritage; etc. This novel, full of heart, and it’s about the choices and relationships that sustain us—a testament to how grief is anything but a linear process.

may books kwan

8. Lies and Weddings: A Novel by Kevin Kwan

You likely recognize Kevin Kwan as the author of the mega-popular Crazy Rich Asians. In Lies and Weddings, Kwan is back and better than ever with the story of Rufus, a future Earl and son of a former Hong Kong supermodel who has a problem: His legendary family trust has been depleted. The only solution is for Rufus to attend his sister’s wedding, and seduce a woman with money. When a volcanic eruption burns through the nuptials and a hot mic exposes a secret tryst, the plan—and Rufus’ family’s legacy—goes up in flames. From the beaches of Hawaii to Marrakech, and Los Angeles to England’s oldest family estates, Kwan’s latest is a juicy and hilarious story of love, money, murder and sex.

may books ware

9. One Perfect Couple: A Novel by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10) is a master of suspense, and her latest novel is just the type of ultra-tense thriller we’ve come to know and love her for. It begins with Lyla, who is in a rut, between her post-doctoral research fizzling out and things with her boyfriend, aspiring actor Nico, not going great. When Nico gets the opportunity to join the cast of a new reality TV show, One Perfect Couple, she decides to try out with him, and before long they’re whisked off to a tropical paradise, where they’ll compete against four other couples to win a cash prize. On the deserted island, it’s not long before things start to go wrong, and the group must band together for survival. As tensions run high and resources run low, Lyla finds that this game show is all too real—and the stakes are life or death.

may books tanner

10. Feel It All: A Therapist’s Guide to Reimagining Your Relationship with Sex by Casey Tanner

Do you ever feel insecure about sex? It’s not just you. In her new guide to sexuality, certified sex therapist Casey Tanner argues that this isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you; it’s simply because you’ve been under-resourced and miseducated. Feel It All is meant to uncover readers’ personal misconceptions about sexuality and relationships as Tanner asks you to recognize and assess your core beliefs surrounding relationships, sexuality, gender and more; identify past trauma; find pathways to healing; and redefine sex based on knowledge and possibilities.

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...