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“It’s gonna be Mayyy…” Please tell me you sang that in your best Justin Timberlake voice…if not…go back and try again…I’ll wait! Ok, May is on the horizon, my friends…so you know what that means. New Releases! May is looking to be another amazing month for middle-grade titles. So I have once again given myself the daunting task of picking just 5 new titles that I am most excited about! Without further ado, here are my Top 5 new middle-grade releases arriving in May!
The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
First up we have The Marvellers. This is the first in a brand new series called The Marvellerverse and I couldn’t be more excited if I tried. Let’s just pause for a moment and enjoy this cover. I mean…come on…this is amazing!!! Covers have a way of just making you have to grab a book and this one does it well. Take. All. My. Money. This is the middle-grade debut of New York Times bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton and I am thinking she is arriving on the middle-grade scene with a bang! Get ready to read this description…are you ready? The Marvellers is being published May 3rd.
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.
Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy―some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures.
When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.
My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk
Do you have an auto-buy author? You know, the author that no matter what they publish you are there with your credit card in hand? Yeah, Lauren Wolk is that author for me. Ever since I read Echo Mountain I was enamored with her writing. My Own Lightning is the sequel to her amazing book Wolf Hollow and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on this book! Also, historical fiction is my jam…and World War II era historical fiction? The jammiest of jams. My Own Lightning publishes May 3rd.
It’s been several months since the tragic events set in motion by bully Betty Glengarry, and the routine of daily life in Wolf Hollow has slowly returned. But for Annabelle McBride it’s hard to move forward and make peace with what feels like threadbare justice.
Newly warm summer days are about to bring a jolt of change on the winds of a powerful storm. In its wake, the search for her brother’s missing dog will set Annabelle on a new path that brings her to unfamiliar doorsteps and reunites her with a too-familiar adversary—Andy Woodberry, who was complicit in Betty’s most terrible acts. Growing up and blazing her own trail will soon force Annabelle to reexamine deeply felt truths—about people, about justice, about herself—that had once seemed so uncomplicated.
Freddie Vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua
Next up we have Freddie Vs. The Family Curse. I chose this book because I love a book that infuses culture and history into its pages. This book is filled with Filipino history and mythology and I am so excited to read it. It also promises to be the perfect combo of laugh-out-loud funny and heartwarming tale…which is always a hit in my eyes! Freddie Vs. The Family Curse is written by Tracy Badua and publishes on May 3rd.
Freddie Ruiz is cursed.
While other people may have bad days, Freddie and his family have had bad generations: from bird poop splatting on him during picture day to the many tumbles and trips that earned him the nickname Faceplant Freddie. He’s learned to lay low and keep himself out of trouble—which means no fun, no friends, and definitely no risks.
But when he discovers a family heirloom, a century-old amulet from the Philippines that’s supposed to bring good fortune, Freddie thinks his luck is finally about to change.
He couldn’t be more wrong. Because the spirit of Freddie’s cranky great-granduncle Ramon is trapped in the heirloom, and the evil spirits responsible for his death have returned with a vengeance. Now, Freddie and his cousin, Sharkey, have thirteen days to break the curse, or Freddie will join Ramon for an untimely afterlife in the amulet.
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali
Next up we have The Civil War of Amos Abernathy . This is the debut novel of author Michael Leali! This was another that sucked me in based on the cover. Show me LGBTQ+ representation and I am immediately on board to learn more. Completely thrilled to be seeing more representation like this in the middle-grade world! Also, the name Amos Abernathy is kinda the best thing I have seen in forever. I also love the fact that Amos is a history buff…my kind of dude! The Civil War of Amos Abernathy hits shelves on May 24th! This book has such a fabulous premise…check it out below!
Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He’s been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them.
Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal—and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight.
Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos
Last but certainly not least we have Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos. I was immediately curious about this book just based on the title alone! This is a semi-autobiographical novel partially based on the life of author Shawn Amos (son of Wally “Famous” Amos). This is a debut novel that has delightful illustrations as well as a wonderful message of belonging, community, and having faith in yourself! Cookies & Milk publishes May 24th!
Eleven-year-old Ellis Johnson has the summertime blues. He dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers.
But of course, nothing is as easy as Dad makes it sound, even with Grandma along for the ride. Like she says, they have to GIT—get it together—and make things work. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery he is determined to solve, the power of community, and new faith in himself.
Partially based on Shawn Amos’s own experiences growing up the son of Wally “Famous” Amos in a mostly white area, and packed with humor, heart, and fun illustrations, this debut novel sings with the joy of self-discovery, unconditional love, and belonging.
Who is excited about these May books? I know I am! I would love to hear which book you are most looking forward to…or if you have your eyes on any that I didn’t include!
You can check out my April New Release list here. Did you read any of these? So far I have managed two out of the 5 and they were both fantastic!!
PS- If you love YA books, stay tuned…I have a blog post coming soon that is dedicated to my TOP 5 YA that are publishing in May!