May is the start of beach read season and the official start of Summer Reading Bingo! The May 2023 book releases are the perfect books to kick off the season. We are so excited about this list of books. These are our most anticipated books for May. So get ready for a long TBR because this list is fantastic.
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Most Anticipated May 2023 Book Releases
Most Anticipated May 2023 Fiction Book Releases
Plot: Casey Cohen is 16 years old and living her best life in New Orleans in the 1970s when she starts hanging out with the wrong crowd. To get her back on track, her parents decide to leave everything and move to Brooklyn with the Syrian Jewish community. Casey becomes more used to the customs and people and marries Michael at 18. She is shocked when he wants her to stay home and have kids instead of going to college. This pick from May 2023 book releases is perfect for our list of Best Books by Jewish Writers and Authors.
Plot: This pick from the May 2023 book releases is a family saga that examines the American identity from three points of view: Tony, a Chinese born engineer who immigrated to the US and works as a doorman, Tammy, his daughter and Oliver, a white lawyer with a family secret.
Plot: I cannot wait to read this book about a book! Alice always wanted to be a writer and when she experiences an event that breaks her heart, she writes her debut novel that finds it was to nine readers and impacts each of them in a different way. This is one of the picks from the May 2023 book releases that we cannot wait to read.
Plot: Biographical fiction is such a fun subgenre of book and this pick from the May 2023 book releases looks like no exception. The Daydreams was a hit tv show in 2004 with a cast of teenagers who had it all until everything was ruined during the live season finale. Now, the fans are demanding a reunion but, will old secrets threatened everything they have worked for?
Plot: This is a contemporary fiction that explores the meaning of family. This story takes place over a week and looks at Malcolm who is trying to realize his dream of owning a bar and his wife Jess. She is a lawyer tying to come to terms with the idea that motherhood may never be in the cards for her. From the New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes, this pick from the May 2023 book releases is sure to be a hit.
Plot: Clover Brooks is a Death Doula. She has dedicated her life to helping people not die alone. When the dying wish of an old woman is for Clover to uncover a forgotten love story, Clover sets out across the country to remember how to live. If you love Contemporary Fiction, this pick from the May 2023 book releases is right up your alley.
Plot: I cannot wait to get my hands on this new book from Steven Rowley. He writes with wit and humor and this is one of the new-release books I cannot wait to get my hands on. This is a story of friendship that has lasted decades. Jordyn Vargas has not seen his college friends for 5 years and he has a secret that might change everything. You can find more of Steven Rowley on our list of Ultimate List of 67 Feel-Good Books.
Plot: This is a story told in three parts- a husband, his wife, and her best friend. The tumultuous relationship reaches a breaking point. We can see each person’s skewed version of events in this comedy from the May 2023 book releases list.
Plot: This pick from the May 2023 book releases looks like an amazing book about sisters (a prompt from our 2023 reading challenge). When Bree Boyd dies, she leaves a bucket list of things not done and a last request that her younger sister, Jodie, fulfill the bucket list.
Plot: I cannot wait to read this pick from the May 2023 book releases. All the Lonely People is on our list of Books Like A Man Called Ove and was a 5-star read. In this book, Jess finds her mother’s set of encyclopedias while emptying her house after her mother’s death. When trying to find the encyclopedias, a new home, she comes across a curious museum called The Museum of Ordinary People.
Plot: Each character from this novel has been written by a different, major literary voice including Margaret Atwood, Douglas Preston, Celeste Ng, Emma Donoghue, Dave Eggers, John Grisham, Diana Gabaldon, Ishmael Reed, Meg Wolitzer, Luis Alberto Urrea, James Shapiro, Sylvia Day, Mary Pope Osborne, Monique Truong, Hampton Sides, R. L. Stine, R. O. Kwon, David Byrne, Louise Erdrich, Neil Gaiman, Rachel Kushner, Candace Bushnell, Nora Roberts, Scott Turow, Tommy Orange, and more!
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
May 2023 Book Releases: Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: This historical fiction set in 1926, Hyde Park, New York is one of our most anticipated books from the list of May 2023 book releases. Pandora Carmichael seems to have it all until a scandal and tragedy send Pandora fleeing her Hyde Park mansion as the depression looks.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: This is a brand new book from the New York Times bestselling author of Cutting for Stone. This epic saga spans from 1900-1977 and is set on India’s Malabar Coast. It follows three generations of a family that suffers from a curse: in every generation, one person dies by droning. This pick from the list of May 2023 book releases looks like a perfect book for our list of 25+ Beautiful Family Sagas to Fascinate You
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fiction
Plot: Tom Hanks could do anything and I would jump on board. His movie adaptation of A Man Called Ove (A Man Called Otto) was fantastic. From this multiple Academy Award-Winning actor comes a novel about making a superhero action film and the comic books that inspired it. This book is one of my top picks from the list of May 2023 book releases.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: This historical fiction novel is set during. the French Revolution and is the first book in a new series. This is a retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel. We cannot wait to see this series and are excited for this pick from the May 2023 book releases.
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
May 2023 Book Releases: Most Anticipated Fantasy/ Sci-fi
Genre: Greek Mythology
Plot: This book is a reimagining of the myth of Atalanta, the fierce warrior who was raised by wolves after she was left on a mountainside by her parents. Atalanta joined the Argonauts and their quest for the golden fleece. We love Greek Mythology and are very excited about this pick from May 2023 book releases.
Plot: Clare Legrand has a well-earned place on our Ultimate List of YA Fantasy Books so we are so excited to put her adult debut in our May 2023 book releases. This is a fantasy romance for fans of Bridgerton and A Court of Thorns and Roses and you know these are two of our favorite series ever! Check out our Books like Bridgerton and 17 Sensational Books Like A Court of Thorns and Roses!
Genre: Greek Mythology
Plot: We are so excited about the greek mythology retelling from the list of May 2023 book releases. The god of desire is cursed to fall for a mortal woman but the minute she looks directly at his face, they will be cursed to be apart forever.
Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!
Most Anticipated Thrillers and Mysteries for May 2023
Plot: An Agatha Christie Retelling with Hercule Poirot recast as a teenage girl? Count me in! This classic murder mystery is a retelling of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I cannot wait to read this pick from our list of May 2023 book releases. If you love mysteries, you can have a peak at our ultimate list of mystery books.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Plot: This pick from our May 2023 book releases ss from the bestselling author of The Girls. Alex has a way of knowing what people want. Out of deseration and a grey sense of morality, Alex will be sure to leave destruction in her wake.
Genre: Comedic Thriller
Plot: Amber Jamison believes that she is smart and street savvy so when she is stuffed inside a white van, by a serial killer she is more angry than scared. The next thing she knows, she is rescued but finds herself running across the country to escape her past and pairing up with an old partner who she cannot trust. This looks like a hilarious and fun pick from our list of May 2023 book releases
Genre: Psychological thriller
Plot: This psychological thriller from the list of May 2023 book releases is from the bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish. Sloane Chase is a philanthropist and is married to Senator Whit Montgomery. When her lupus starts acting up, they decide to hire a home health aide to help Sloane At first, Athena seems like she is the perfect fit, but then Sloane starts to become sicker. She thinks that Athena is trying to get her husband. Is it all in her head?
Plot: If you need an isolation book, this pick from the May 2023 book releases is the perfect book. Jen and Lauren spend every summer together on the Fire Island with their husbands and are able to manipulate most people to get what they want. Their single friend Rachel also has a way of getting what she wants- even if its someone else’s husband. Then, a body is discovered. None of them are good people but are they capable of murder?
Plot: Darcy and her three friends studied abroad in France 20 years ago. They spent many weekends at Darcy’s grandmother’s château. Now, they have been invited to spend time at Séraphine’s Château in Provence once again. But when Seraphine is found brutally murdered, the friends start receiving snapshots from their time at the Château from a stalker. The house has many secrets, some of which are worth killing for. I cannot wait to read this prick from the May 2023 book releases.
Plot: Jacy and her new husband, Jed, are so excited to be visiting Jed’s father at his cottage in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. When pregnant Jacy has a health scare, all plans for their vacation are canceled and she is under everyone’s watchful eye. Soon, Jacy is starting to feel trapped. Is it in her head or are there dangers lurking? This pick from May 2023 book releases is perfect for our list of isolation books.
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
Romance: May 2023 Book Releases
Plot: Will and Fern spent one amazing, adventure-filled day together in their early 20s with a promise to meet up again one year later. Fern showed up and Will did not. Now, nine years later, Will shows up at the Lakeside resort Fern is running with an offer to help get things back in order. Fern is not loving the life she wanted, her ex-boyfriend is the report manager and she needs help, but can she trust him? This is one of the May 2023 book releases that looks like it belongs on our lake book post!
Plot: Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is a romance novelist who has never been in love. Connor Prince is a documentary filmmaker who is thrown off balance when he needs to create a reality tv show. When he convinces Fizzy to be the star of this show, sparks fly. But will this ruin the tv show that is supposed to be about finding Fizzy true love?
Plot: What happens when a dyslexic chef falls for a library interim director? The attraction between these two inspires Sam to want to create the cookbook she has always dreamed of while helping Ben find the father he never knew. Perfect for a list of books about books, the pick from May 2023 book releases looks like so much fun.
Genre: Steamy romance
Plot: Camille, Duchess of Hereford, has a title but is an outcast. Jacob Thorn is an illegitimate son of an earl. The two of them make a steamy deal to fake an engagement in this romance pick from the list of May 2023 book releases. If you love steamy romances, you can check out 9 Thrilling Billionaire Romance Books like Fifty Shades of Grey.
Plot: Cassidy needs to be home for her sister’s wedding and avoid her family’s judgment. Luke has more than his share of stress. When these two need to share the last rental car that leaves them stranded, they might just find the connections that they needed was with each other. This pick from May 2023 book releases looks like rom-com at its best.
Plot: This is a friends-to-lovers meets enemies-to-lovers romance that is a perfect pick for our May 2023 book releases. Katee Rose was a pop star with a huge future until Cal Kirby comes into her life and it all falls apart. Now, years later, Kathleen Rosenberg is living a normal life until Cal Kirby shows up with a chance of a lifetime. Is it ever a good idea to reignite old flames?
Genre: LGBTQ Romance
Plot: Garland Moore’s husband surprises her with divorce papers on Valentine’s day leaving her sure that love is not for her. When she is invited up to a summer camp for adults, she begins to fall head over heels for a woman. This Book About Camp is a must-read pick from our list of May 2023 book releases.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
May 2023: Best Non-Fiction Book Releases
Plot: Mark Ellison shares lessons on work, creativity, and building a meaningful life through this book. He is a carpenter who has constructed some of New York City’s most beautiful homes. I cannot wait to read this non-fiction pick from the list of May 2023 book releases and check out our non-fiction book list if this is your favorite genre.
Love Non-Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Non-Fiction Books.
Best YA May 2023 Book Releases
Genre: YA Fiction
Plot: Nigeria Jones has been raised as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. She is homeschooled until her mother disappears. Her mother was keeping secrets, including wanting Nigeria to attend a Quaker school. As Nigeria searches for her mothers, she begins to uncover the truth and question what she knows about her family. This pick from the May 2023 book releases looks perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Plot: This YA fantasy is the first book in a new series. Magic, Princes, romance, gods, and the high seas are all in this new fantasy that looks perfect for our Ultimate List of YA Fantasy books. I am always excited about this genre and I am excited for this pick from the list of May 2023 book releases.
Genre: YA Romance
Plot: Imogen sees herself as an amazing Ally to her queer little sister and two best friends. She is hetero but that has never stopped her. When she goes to college to visit her best friend, she finds that Lili has told people that Lili and Imogen dated. Now, the more time Imogen spends with Lili’s college friend, Tessa, the more she wonders about her own feelings. This pick from May 2023 book releases explores friendship, identity and sexuality and looks like a perfect pick for our YA Romance post.
Plot: YA LGBTQ Romance
Dylan has entered the mooncake making competition for teen chefs in memory of his mom but he needs to win in order to help his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout. When Theo Summers convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding, Dylan starts to develop real feelings and needs to decide if he can save his family business and follow his heart. This pick from the May 2023 book releases is perfect for our bakery romance book list.
Genre: YA Mystery
Plot: A perfect whodunit from our May 2023 book releases and this one looks like non-stop fun. When the teen creators behind a viral youtube channel go to investigate the site of a 1972 murder, only three of them come out of the house and they have to figure out who the murdere is before it is too late.
Genre: YA Romance
Plot: In this coming-of-age romance, from our May 2023 book releases, Rubi Ramos has to decide if her parent’s dreams for her are actually her dreams as well or whether she is destined to follow her own path. Rubi loves to bake but her parents want more for her than to follow in their footsteps. When she starts to fall for her math tutor, that complicates things even more.
We LOVE to support independent bookstores. You can shop our entire list of New Books for May 2023 on bookshop.org
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