Here are the diverse YA & MG books being published in May. (Here are the releases for past months.)
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Published 2nd May from Amulet Books.
LGBTQ*: Bisexual - #OwnVoices. Secondary gay character.
Class: Family is impoverished, on benefits.
Cultural/Religious Background: Secondary Sikh character.
POC: Biracial; half-Chinese, half-Irish
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped ... revered ... all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for. From Goodreads.
Release by Patrick Ness - UKYA
Published 4th May from Walker.
LGBTQ*: Gay - #OwnVoices.
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It's a big day. Things go wrong. It's intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches...
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It's a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won't come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course. From Goodreads.
Noah Can't Even by Simon John Green - 2017 UKYA Debut
Published 4th May from Scholastic.
LGBTQ*: Questioning/Gay - #OwnVoices.
POC: Biracial; half-white, half-Afro-Guyanese secondary character (though her mother being Afro-Guyanese is not specified in text).
Chronic Illness/Disease: Secondary character with Dementia.
Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is...Well, it's pure HELL. Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light? But Noah's plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That's when things go from bad to utter chaos. From Goodreads.
Girlhood by Cat Clarke - UKYA
Published 4th May from Quercus.
Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows noone else will ever really understand.
But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.
Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.
How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?
A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. From Goodreads.
Encounters by Jason Wallace
Published 4th May from Anderson Press.
Zimbabwe, 1994. A group of children spot peculiar lights in the sky over the grounds of their school.
From this moment on, six young people's lives are changed forever.
Gary hides the anguish he feels now his mum's left, acting out in fury and hatred. Chloe has no words for the thing she fears most every day. Karl is the headmaster's son, now fallen from grace. Tendai knows he can never live up to his grieving father's ideals. And Sixpence watches all, knowing he'll never be like these other children. All of them have seen something they can't explain.
In amongst these tangled, tortured lives, comes a group of paranormal investigators to verify the spookily similar claims of every witness. Their daughter, Holly, can tell there's more to it than just aliens or mass hysteria - can she reveal the dark truths that haunt them?
Inspired by true accounts, this is the long-awaited new novel from Costa-award-winner Jason Wallace. From Goodreads.
The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published 4th May from Scholastic.
Immigrants/Refugees: Afghan refugee.
Cultural/Religious Background: Muslim - #OwnVoices
Cultural/Religious Background: Muslim
Michael is drawn to his new classmate Mina, but they're on opposite sides of an issue that's tearing their town apart. His parents are part of an anti-immigration group, while her family have fled their besieged home in Afghanistan. As tensions rise, lines are drawn and both must decide what they want their world to look like, no matter the cost. From Goodreads.
The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton
Published 4th May from Anderson Press.
LGBTQ*: Trans secondary character.
Chronic Illness/Disease: Secondary character with Alzheimer's Disease.
Mental Illness: OCD, and panic and social anxiety disorders.
Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She’s angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheimer’s is worsening. When her parents put Granny in a home, Zoe decides now is the time to break free. She smuggles Granny out and together they hit the tracks on a cross-country trip to find Zoe’s long-lost uncle. But there will be some home truths along the way. . .
An emotional story about family, surviving school and being true to yourself for fans of The Art of Being Normal and Unbecoming From Goodreads.
I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson - 2017 UKYA Debut
Published 4th May from Electric Monkey.
Disability: Cerebral Palsy.
Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can't tell anyone.
Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change...
A page-turning thriller seen through the eyes of a unique narrator, this is a truly original, heart-rending and compulsive book for young adult readers. Perfect for fans of Wonder, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Looking for JJ. From Goodreads.
Countless by Karen Gregory - 2017 UKYA Debut
Published 4th May from Bloomsbury Children's Books.
Mental Illness: Eating disorder.
'Is there anything that's concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?' Though she's more or less smiling at this last one.
I don't smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she's just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I've never heard her use before she says, 'Have you done a pregnancy test?'
When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …
Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. From Goodreads.
Battlemage by Taran Matharu
Published 9th May from Hodder Children's Books.
POC: Biracial; half-Brazillian, half-Indian.
One boy's ability to summon demons will change the fate of an empire ... The epic conclusion to the fantasy trilogy described as 'Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon'.
After the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of book two, we rejoin Fletcher and his friends in the ether, where they must undertake a mortally dangerous quest, all the while avoiding capture by enemies and facing foes more terrifying than anything they have yet encountered.
But this is nothing compared to what truly lies ahead for Fletcher, as his nemesis, albino orc Khan, is on a mission to destroy Hominum and everything and everyone that Fletcher loves.
Epic battles, dramatic revelations and breathtaking drama await in the third and final book in the New York Times bestselling Summoner series. From Goodreads.
Passing For White by Tanya Landman - UKYA
Published 15th May from Barrington Stoke.
POC: Biracial; half-white, half-black. Black secondary character.
1848. The Deep South. Rosa is a slave but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means that she can ‘pass for white’. With the aid of her husband, Rosa disguises herself as a young Southern gentleman, and her husband as her property. In this guise, the couple flee the South, explaining away their lack of literacy, avoiding anyone that they may have ever met and holding their nerve in the face of extreme stress and imminent danger, over a thousand miles to freedom.
Inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft, this is a short story not to be missed, from the Carnegie-winner, the excellent Tanya Landman. From Goodreads.
The Harder They Fall by Bali Rai - UKYA
Published 15th May from Barrington Stoke.
Class: Impoverished - uses food banks.
POC: British Indian.
Cultural/Religious Background: Sikh.
Cal's family are proud to live in an 'analogue' world - no wifi in their house , just an ancient black-and-white TV. At school, Cal has no choice but to live in the 21st century, coping with a range of bullies and chancers on a daily basis. When Cal's mum decides to 'rebalance' the family with a stint as volunteers at a local foodbank, Cal inadvertently discovers new kid Jacob's secret, and Jacob flips. From Goodreads.
Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor - 2017 UKYA Debut
Published 23rd May from YA HQ.
Chronic Illness: Diabetes (secondary character).
Feather Tucker has two wishes:
1)To get her mum healthy again
2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships
When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.
Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good? From Goodreads.
Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy - YAIE
Published 25th May from Hot Key Books.
Here's what Lauren knows: she's not like other girls. She also knows it's problematic to say that - what's wrong with girls? She's even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes's, her posh all-girls school, you'd feel like that too. Here everyone's expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it's even a song in the painfully awful musical they're putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren's arch nemesis.
Under it all though, Lauren's heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she's crazy and her best friend's going through something Lauren can't understand... so when Lauren realises she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That's all so much easier... right? From Goodreads.
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