There are some terrific books heading to stores this May for young readers – here’s our pick of the titles to look out for.
Hello! We’re continuing our support for children’s reading on our site, and we’ve put together a big list of upcoming titles for young readers. All of these come out in May.
This is all part of our commitment to supporting reading for youngsters, and trying to give exposure to authors at a time when publications are cutting back their support of children’s books. All amplification appreciated.
Without further ado…
Middle Grade (ages 9 – 12)
The Time-Thief by Patience Agbabi (out 6th May)
It’s mid-summer’s day and thirteen-year-old Elle and her Leapling classmates are visiting the Museum of the Past, the Present and the Future. But on the day of the school trip, disaster strikes, and the most unique and valuable piece in the museum, the Infinity-Glass, is stolen! And worse still, Elle’s friend and fellow Infinite, MC² is arrested for the crime! To prove his innocence Elle must leap back centuries in time, to a London very different from today. Along the way she will meet new friends, face dangers unlike any she has ever known, and face an old enemy who is determined to destroy her. Can Elle find the missing Infinity-Glass and return it to its rightful home before it’s too late?
Otherland by Louie Stowell (out 6th May)
Otherland is a dangerous magical underworld – a place where appearances can be deceiving and anything can happen. A world of gods, vampires, and fairies. It’s also… horrible. When life-long friends Myra and Rohan discover that Rohan’s baby sister Shilpa has been stolen and taken to Otherland, the only way to rescue her is by taking part in a deadly game – three impossible challenges set by the Fairy Queen of Otherland. Win the game, and Rohan and Myra can go home with Shilpa – but lose, and they’ll be trapped in Otherland forever…
The Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia (6th May)
Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime — a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family… and his only friends. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and wisecracking sense of humor, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them. Together with Besa and the Ibis — a game rival turned reluctant ally — Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.
The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum (6th May)
Lonny is a lifeling. He has the power to heal any living creature and bring it back from the dead. But he pays a price for this gift – by lengthening the creature’s life, he shortens his own. So Lonny has to be careful, has to stay hidden in the forest. Because if people knew what he could do, Lonny would be left with no life at all…
Arctic Star by Tom Palmer (6th May)
Winter 1943. Teenagers Frank, Joseph and Stephen are Royal Navy recruits on their first mission at sea during the Second World War. Their ship is part of an Arctic Convoy sailing to Russia to deliver supplies to the Soviets. The convoys have to navigate treacherous waters, sailing through a narrow channel between the Arctic ice pack and German bases on the Norwegian coast. Faced with terrifying enemy attacks from both air and sea, as well as life-threatening cold and storms, will all three boys make it home again?
Noah’s Gold by Frank Cottrell Boyce (13th May)
Eleven-year old Noah sneaks along on his big sister’s geography field trip. Everything goes wrong! Six kids are marooned on an uninhabited island. Their teacher has vanished. They’re hungry. Their phones don’t work and Noah has broken the internet. There’s no way of contacting home . . . Disaster! Until Noah discovers a treasure map and the gang goes in search of gold.
Crater Lake, Evolution by Jennifer Killick (20th May)
It’s five months since the nightmare Year Six School trip to Crater Lake, and something has gone very wrong in Lance’s home town of Straybridge. There’s been an explosion at the University, a mysterious test creature is missing and no one is allowed in or out of the town. On top of this Lance has lost touch with his friends since starting at his new school. And now his mum has been acting strangely since they started decorating the Christmas tree… As he goes door to door trying to reunite his team, Lance realises how bad things have got. Now he, Katja, Max, Chets and Ade, plus new friend Karim, must think bigger and bolder if they are to save their families. But there’s something else out there too – something straight out of their nightmares…
The Caravan at the Edge of Doom by Jim Beckett (27th May)
When her grandparents explode in their caravan toilet late one night, twelve-year-old Harley discovers a surprising truth: their toilet is a gateway to the Land of the Dead, and they are its Guardians. Well, they were. But there’s no time to mourn their passing. Because Harley’s baby brother has accidentally gone with them to the Land of the Dead. And Harley only has 24 hours to rescue him before he’s trapped there FOREVER!
The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs. the World by Priscilla Mante (27th May)
Olá! I’m Jasmina Santos-Campbell (but you can call me Jaz). You’ve probably heard of me and my football team the Bramrock Stars before. No? Well, you will soon because we’re almost famous! Forming the Stars was my genius idea – you see I need to prove to Mãe (that’s my mum!) that I’m a football star so she’ll want to come back home. The idea was the easy part, though. Now I’ve got a team of seven very different girls and we need to work together, to be taken seriously as footballers. We are the DREAM TEAM and we’re going to show the world that girls CAN play football!
The Swallows’ Flight by Hilary McKay (27th May)
Erik and Hans are German boys. Ruby and Kate are English girls. They grow up in worlds that would never meet, until war tumbles their lives together. Then one September afternoon there are choices to be made. How is courage lost, and found? Who is really the enemy? And what does friendship truly mean, in the middle of a war? Meanwhile Rupert and Clarry work secretly for peace – and a brighter future for them all.
Young Adult (13+)
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney (4th May)
Quinn keeps lists of everything – from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears (as well as embarrassing and cringeworthy truths) on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing . . . An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett – the last known person to have her journal and who Quinn loathes – in a race against time to track down the blackmailer. Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.
I Know You Did It by Sue Wallman (6th May)
It’s Ruby. On her first day at a new school, Ruby finds a note in her locker saying “I KNOW YOU DID IT”. She’s terrified that someone has found out she was responsible for the death of a girl called Hannah in a playground when they were both toddlers – a secret that has haunted her for years. When first one, then two students are found dead, it looks like Ruby is being framed by another killer. Or, she might be next.
We Were Wolves by Jason Cockcroft (6th May)
Boy lives in a caravan on his own in the woods. His dad, John, is in prison and promises to get out soon. All the boy needs to do is survive alone for a little while longer. But dark forces are circling – like the dangerous man in the Range Rover, who is looking for his stolen money. And then there are the ancient forces that have lain asleep in the woods for an age…
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue (12th May)
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex-best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace. Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find–even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself.
The Yearbook by Holly Bourne (13th May)
Most likely to…be forgotten. Working on the school newspaper, Paige is used to dealing with fake stories. How popular girl Grace is a such an amazing person (lie). How Laura steals people’s boyfriends (lie). How her own family are so perfect (lie). Now Grace and friends have picked their “best” high-school moments for Paige to put in the all-important Yearbook. And they’re not just fake. They’re poison. But Paige has had enough of all the lies in her life. And with the help of Elijah – the only boy who could ever understand her – she’s going to reveal the truth.
Things to do Before the End of the World by Emily Barr (13th May)
What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most? You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before? Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be? Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her. But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (18th May)
Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalisation too many – Black, queer and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages – after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned – Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle . . . But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
The Boyband Murder Mystery by Ava Eldred (27th May)
Harri and her best friends worship Half Light – an internationally famous boyband. When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world’s about to fall apart. But quickly she realises that she – and all the other Half Light superfans out there – know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could. Now she’s rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie’s innocence – and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion…
Off the Record by Camryn Garrett (27th May)
When seventeen-year-old Josie Wright wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared. Soon she is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, and then the secrets keep coming, she realizes she’s in over her head. She wants to do the right thing, but is this her story to tell? What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead . . . but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar (27th May)
Everyone likes Hani Khan – she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they don’t believe her, claiming she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship… with a girl her friends can’t stand – Ishu Dey. Ishu is the polar opposite of Hani. An academic overachiever, she hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for university. Her only problem? Becoming head girl is a popularity contest and Ishu is hardly popular. Pretending to date Hani is the only way she’ll stand a chance of being elected. Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.
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