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Our 11 Most Anticipated New Reads of May 2020

by  | April 27
Book Cover By Swimming Pool

Word on the (virtual) street is that a lot of our fellow readers have been struggling to dive into books as readily as usual. Just in the nick of time, to help you (and all of us) break out of that rut, here are our most-anticipated May new releases. But first, allow us to present a few tips to help you prep for your next personal read-a-thon:

  • Buddy read or join a virtual book club so that you keep each other on track.
  • Binge-watch a show and get so absorbed that when it ends you HAVE to read the series it’s based on. Star Trek: Picard, for example.
  • Take it slow. If a chapter a day is all you can do, then do just that. 

Now, without further ado, behold your month of May:

Big Summer

Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner

Sabrina’s Pick

A plus-sized media influencer, a love-hate relationship with high school’s most popular mean girl, and an unexpected invitation to a high-society wedding sound like the recipe for a Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Bridesmaids mash-up. Jennifer Weiner’s Big Summer follows the witty, moving, and suspenseful story of Daphne Berg, a body-positive social media Instagrammer who is starting to bloom in her own skin when her ex–best friend, the most perfect girl in high school, invites her to be her maid of honor. Drue Cavanaugh and Daphne Berg have not exchanged words in seven years, so when Daphne finds herself answering to Drue’s beck and call under the guise of a waterfront Cape Cod mansion wedding with the promise of hot guys and brand partnerships, she begins to question the true motive of Drue’s invitation. Is everything as it seems? Weiner explores issues of appearance versus reality, female friendship, and family bonds in this riveting summer tale. You’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see how this story unfolds.

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Resistance

Resistance

by Tori Amos

Heather’s Pick #1

If there’s a song that suits me better at the start of every work week than Tori Amos’s “I Don’t Like Mondays,” I’ve yet to hear it. My ears perked up, therefore, when I first heard she was releasing a book. I was completely SOLD when I learned the title: Resistance. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter’s lyrics have always had a political bent, as she’s used her voice to call out injustices, but now she’s revealing more about what fuels her artistic process than ever before. Even better, in the book she’s set to share actionable advice for becoming a more engaged citizen. I’m excited to dig in.

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Summer Darlings

Summer Darlings

by Brooke Lea Foster

Courtney’s Pick

My most-anticipated release for May is Summer Darlings. First, just look at that cover! Maybe it’s the current social distancing situation, but I would love nothing more than to be dipping my feet into a pool while sporting an adorable retro red swimsuit just about now. Second, behind this inviting cover is a jaw-dropping story. The year is 1962 and Heddy Winsome, a would-be screenwriter, is the nanny for one of the wealthiest families at Martha’s Vineyard. As the summer progresses, and Heddy interacts with the residents on the island, she soon learns that no one is actually who they appear to be. In my opinion, this sounds like the perfect escapist read for the summer. 1960s Martha’s Vineyard? Secrets of the obscenely rich revealed? A nanny getting paid to watch this all unfold? Count me and my flip-flops in. Honestly, though, does anyone know where to buy a vintage swimsuit like that?

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The Brideship Wife

The Brideship Wife

by Leslie Howard

Alexandra's Pick

I’m a fan of all historical fiction—whether it’s royalty in 16th century England or unsung heroes in WWII’s Paris, I love to get swept up in a captivating historical tale. But my absolute favorite historical novels are those that teach me a part of history, particularly Canadian history, that I had never known before. That’s certainly the case for Leslie Howard’s The Brideship Wife. This debut novel delves into the true history of the British “brideships” that sent young women to the British colonies in order to marry eligible men. The unique thing about these brideships is that, while many of the women did end up marrying, some actually found independence in these new countries. This novel follows Charlotte who, after a disastrous party that puts her reputation at risk, decides to set out on The Tynemouth—a real-life brideship—for British Columbia. It’s entirely engrossing read, and I can’t wait to see how it ends!

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You're Not Special

You're Not Special

by Meghan Rienks

Sara’s Pick #1

Everyone likes to think they're special; that their trials and tribulations are somehow unique; and that no one could really understand what they're going through. Well, actress and YouTube star Meghan Rienks is here to disavow you of that illusion in the gentlest, funniest way possible: by showing you how she got through it all herself. Rienks grew up in a small town with little to do but talk into a camera from her bedroom, which is how she attained her YouTube fame. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. From tales about dating disasters to toxic friendships to stepping out on her own, Rienks will having you laughing, cringing, and feeling empowered to not feel alone in your own angst as she details the weird and wonderful turns her life has taken.

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Catherine House

Catherine House

by Elisabeth Thomas

Sara’s Pick #2

I love a good Gothic story, with characters trapped in an expansive but ever-ominous house, where they must contend with terrible secrets and their own fears. Okay, so maybe that’s going to hit a little close to home for some people at the current moment, but for a spooky-loving reader like me, there’s no creepy read I am more eager for this month than Catherine House. The titular school is one of great prestige, promising its students vast future success—but only if they agree to give up three full years of their lives, with no contact with the outside world. No friends, family, TV, Internet: just them and rural Pennsylvania. Ines is willing to make that sacrifice, but when her roommate Baby’s time at the school ends in tragedy, she realizes something darker is afoot. Author Elisabeth Thomas’s writing will lull you into this world with luscious descriptions and dream-like prose, right up until the trap is ready to spring. If you’re looking for an all-consuming thriller, pick up this story set in the hallowed halls of higher learning.

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My Kind of People

My Kind of People

by Lisa Duffy

Megan’s Pick

Say hello to your first (virtual) beach read of the summer! Lisa Duffy’s third novel, My Kind of People, is all about the power of community and the courage to start over. On Ichabod Island, 10-year-old Sky tragically loses her adoptive parents in a car accident and is left in the custody of her parents’ best friend, Leo. Along with his husband, Leo moves from New York to the island to care for Sky. There, Sky, Leo, and other island locals navigate tumultuous relationships, make surprising friendships, and uncover shocking secrets. You’ll be immersed in this small New England island town, and in true Lisa Duffy fashion, My Kind of People will captivate you with its cast of close-knit characters, pull at your heartstrings, and leave you feeling hopeful and whole.

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More Than Love

More Than Love

by Natasha Gregson Wagner

Emily’s Pick #1

Right now, I’m on the lookout for emotional books filled to the brim with dynamic character interactions and life revelations that will keep me reading the day away. More Than Love is one of those books. This memoir from Natasha Gregson Wagner, daughter of late Hollywood actress Natalie Wood, describes her early childhood memories of her mom, and what it was like to experience Hollywood royalty from so close up. At the story’s core is Natalie’s tragic sudden death by drowning while aboard a yacht in 1981 and the scandalous media and crime narrative that followed, with a cloud that has hung over her stepfather, Robert Wagner, ever since. Above all, this is a heartfelt, bittersweet ode from a fiercely devoted daughter to the adored mother she lost when just a child—and it makes me want to call my own mother right now and thank her for everything.

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The Down Days

The Down Days

by Ilze Hugo

Holly’s Pick

The premise of The Down Days is eerily similar to the pandemic conditions we've been living under—complete with mandatory face masks! But this disease is different. In fact, it's not much of a disease at all, but rather an outbreak of uncontrollable laughter, inevitably resulting in death. The worst part? No one knows how you catch it. Set in South Africa, The Down Days follows several characters as they navigate life within a quarantined city during their deadly outbreak. Faith, one of the city’s corpse collectors, agrees to help a desperate young girl find her lost younger brother. But as she investigates, she begins to wonder if the boy was ever real at all. Meanwhile, Sans, a trader of illicit goods, falls victim to distraction as a dream-like woman floats between his reality and subconscious. When his gang money goes missing, he's left searching for both answers and his own sanity. This story is told over the course of a week as Sans’ and Faith's lives intertwine. Multiple characters attempt to uncover how the laughter begins and how to stay safe as they question which reality they should trust.

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Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes

by Mary Beth Keane

Heather’s Pick #2

As the daughter of cops myself, I was immediately drawn to this touching novel about two NYPD officers, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, whose families end up living next door to each other. As the years pass and their children grow up together, the two families’ lives become inextricably linked, for better and for worse, in ways they never could have predicted. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that this book—new in paperback—will take you on an emotional journey you won’t soon forget. If you enjoy shows like This Is Us and Parenthood, you need Ask Again, Yes in your life.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

by Suzanne Collins

Emily Pick #2

I’m actually an OG Suzanne Collins fan, having followed along since her debut series, Gregor the Overlander—I haven’t looked at a laundry room the same way since—so I’m always on the lookout for what fast-paced, intelligent concepts she has coming next. The Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes (prequel to the The Hunger Games series) delves into President Snow’s story as he mentors a District 12 contender in the 10th annual hunger games. I always love a good villain origin story, and I have all the faith that this one will make any Hunger Games re-reads even more heartbreaking now.

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