11 Anticipated Young Adult Releases of May 2021

Hey, everyone! Today I’m sharing my most anticipated young adult releases for May 2021. I was trying to narrow it down to 10 but it became impossible so here are 11 of the books I’m looking forward to releasing in the upcoming month. Hopefully you’ll find a new book or two to add to your to-read list!

1. Sunkissed by Kasie West

Publication: May 4th 2021 by Delacorte Press

A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister. But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

Note: I am part of the blog tour and have received an ARC of this book so please look forward to my stop and review (+ a book-inspired playlist!) on May 6th 2021!

2. Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Publication: May 4th 2021 by Orion Publishing

A strange darkness grows in Allward. Even Corayne an Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea. She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed. 

3. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Publication: May 4th 2021 by Roaring Brook

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

4. Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Publication: May 4th 2021 by Inkyard Press

A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy. How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything. Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back. T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

Note: Many reviews remarked on the misrepresentation in this book and the author personally reached out to them stating she would correct the mistakes and has in fact corrected them before publication. Let’s hear it for an author who cares about proper representation and is willing to listen to feedback without being defensive!

5. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Publication: May 4th 2021 by HarperTeen

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud” and all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing . . .

Then 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—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.

6. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

Publication: May 4th 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire

Meredith Fox has been going to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer as long as she can remember. But this summer is the first one back since the death of Meredith’s sister. It will all be overwhelming, but even more since since the entire extended family will be together for her cousin’s big wedding. Unfortunately, Meredith’s longtime boyfriend unexpectedly dumped her two weeks before the wedding, leaving her dateless. Luckily, she has the perfect distraction. Her family has a tradition of playing the ultimate game of Assassin every summer, and this year it will take place during the week of wedding festivities. But her target just happens to be a very cute groomsman. She’s determined to not let herself get distracted, not let herself be lost in another doomed relationship. But as the week progresses, she can’t help falling for him, which may cost her not only the game, but also her heart.

7. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Publication: May 18th 2021 by Flatiron Books

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

8. Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Publication: May 18th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for. But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top. 

Note: “Halmeoni” is grandmother in Korean.

9. Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey

Publication: May 18th 2021 by HarperTeen

Don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning? Madeline Moore does. Books & Moore, the musty bookstore her family has owned for generations, is where she feels most herself. Nothing is going to stop her from coming back after college to take over the store from her beloved aunt. Nothing, that is—until a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street and threatens to shut them down. Madeline sets out to demolish the competition, but Jasper, the guy who works over at Prologue, seems intent on ruining her life. Not only is he taking her customers, he has the unbelievable audacity to be… extremely cute. But that doesn’t matter. Jasper is the enemy and he will be destroyed. After all—all’s fair in love and (book) wars.

10. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jordyn Taylor

Publication: May 18th 2021 by HarperTeen

Present Day: Eva has never felt like she belonged… not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something. But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?

1962: There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy. However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences. Separated by sixty years , Eva’s and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out.

11. Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Publication: May 25th 2021 by Wednesday Books

Double double, twins spell trouble…

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life. When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town. Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.

What books are you looking forward to in May? Let me know in the comments below and happy reading!

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11 thoughts on “11 Anticipated Young Adult Releases of May 2021

  1. What a lovely list Wren!! So many of these are on my TBR as well. Tokyo Ever After, Realm Breaker, Made in Korea, Counting Down With You… I feel like everyone but me has already read CDWY as an ARC, why can’t May 4 come sooner 😫 By the way, I had no idea that there were so many concerns about misrepresentation for that book — but yesss we love to see authors taking constructive criticism without turning it into a Twitter-wide affair!

    And wow the cover of The Summer of Broken Rules is adorable, and the blurb sounds lovely as well. Thank you for putting that one on my radar 😍

    Again, great list Wren! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Abby! 😊 I feel the same way about CDWY! So many people I follow have already read it and raved about it so I’m super eager to get my pre-order copy in the mail. The concerns I’ve seen about the book were things along the lines of the character struggling with her religion and choosing things outside of the “rules” for lack of a better word. And that she’s uninterested in visiting her parents home country and speaks of it in a derogatory way. I can definitely see how the author didn’t mean to cause offense or misrepresent anything because I’m personally guilty of not even wanting to visit my parents’ home state, and I know so many people who don’t follow every rule or statute of their religion (including the religion of the main character as well as my own religion) and choose to do other things so I’m assuming the author wanted to be relatable but it came out harmful which I can 100% see too. I’m definitely going to check the negative reviews when the book drops to see if the author repaired the errors and the readers noticed them. The Twitter-wide affair comment though had me smiling. Lauren Hough is infamous now! 😭

      I’m so happy I was able to bring a new book to your radar. 🤗 It does sound like that book is going to be super cute!

      Looking forward to your thoughts on some of these books! It’s going to be a great month I think. 😊💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh thanks for explaining! I can definitely see why that could come off as problematic. I’m glad the author is taking the feedback to heart — hopefully the finished product will take care of the issues.

        Funnily enough, I typed this comment a few hours before I found out about Lauren Hough — I’m a bit out of the loop with this sort of thing 😂 The entire situation is so ridiculous. Just… unbelievable. Never in my life would I have imagined an author cursing out reviewers for a 4.5-star review 🤦‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, exactly! I can see the author didn’t mean to write anything problematic or be harmful but I see why it was. There’s a comment on this post if you want to check but Ahanna @ Windows to Worlds said that the author did correct the issues and the copies coming out this month will be the new version. 🤗

        I got to see the Lauren Hough debacle in person. It wasn’t pretty. 😭 I missed the first set of twts but saw her arguments with other readers as she replied. I truly can’t see her logic or why she got so upset. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen authors react like that to reviews but never on a review with such high praise and stars! 😬

        Liked by 1 person

  2. omg, i love this list so much!! and yes, tashie read the criticism, and she actually changed the ARC, instead of turning it into a twitter-wide affair, which is something i love, and am proud of, because the fact that she took the time out to reach out to the reviewers, apologise, and then move on to change her book, is amazing!! i read the later version of the ARC and really loved it, so i hope you enjoy it as much as i did!!

    last chance books and made in korea are also super high on my tbr ahh!! i’m currently reading the one’s we’re meant to find, and the pacing is very slow, but i’m loving the writing style!!

    great post!! 💓💓

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh thank you SO MUCH for sharing the info about CDWY. I will update my post. I follow the author on Twitter and she is so sweet! Her excitement over her book dropping has made me even more excited. 💕

      Slow paced books aren’t always my favorite but the writing style can definitely make up for it or if it has great characters. Can’t wait to dig into The Ones We’re Meant to Find once it drops. 😊

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me and also the update on CDWY. I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

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