Every May, so many great YA books hit our library shelves just in time to start Summer that it's next to impossible to narrow this list. So if you haven't signed up for SJPL's Summer Learning program yet, be sure to do so, as there are some fantastic fantasies from author favorites, swoon-worthy romances, and stories pulled straight from history to dive into this season! Which is the first one you are checking out?
May 2023 Releases
Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley
Perry Firekeeper-Birch was ready for her Summer of Slack but instead, after a fender bender that was entirely not her fault, she’s stuck working to pay back her Auntie Daunis for repairs to the Jeep.
Thankfully she has the other outcasts of the summer program, Team Misfit Toys, and even her twin sister Pauline. Together they ace obstacle courses, plan vigils for missing women in the community, and make sure summer doesn’t feel so lost after all.
But when she attends a meeting at a local university, Perry learns about the “Warrior Girl”, an ancestor whose bones and knife are stored in the museum archives, and everything changes. Perry has to return Warrior Girl to her tribe. Determined to help, she learns all she can about NAGPRA, the federal law that allows tribes to request the return of ancestral remains and sacred items. The university has been using legal loopholes to hold onto Warrior Girl and twelve other Anishinaabe ancestors’ remains, and Perry and the Misfits won’t let it go on any longer.
Using all of their skills and resources, the Misfits realize a heist is the only way to bring back the stolen artifacts and remains for good. But there is more to this repatriation than meets the eye as more women disappear and Pauline’s perfectionism takes a turn for the worse. As secrets and mysteries unfurl, Perry and the Misfits must fight to find a way to make things right – for the ancestors and for their community.
Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli
Imogen Scott may be hopelessly heterosexual, but she’s got the World’s Greatest Ally title locked down.
She's never missed a Pride Alliance meeting. She knows more about queer media discourse than her very queer little sister. She even has two queer best friends. There's Gretchen, a fellow high school senior, who helps keep Imogen's biases in check. And then there's Lili—newly out and newly thriving with a cool new squad of queer college friends.
Imogen's thrilled for Lili. Any ally would be. And now that she's finally visiting Lili on campus, she's bringing her ally A game. Any support Lili needs, Imogen's all in.
Even if that means bending the truth, just a little.
Like when Lili drops a tiny queer bombshell: she's told all her college friends that Imogen and Lili used to date. And none of them know that Imogen is a raging hetero—not even Lili’s best friend, Tessa.
Of course, the more time Imogen spends with chaotic, freckle-faced Tessa, the more she starts to wonder if her truth was ever all that straight to begin with. . .
Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi
That’s what Nigeria’s father calls her. He’s raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals that connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch to their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want.
Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. There, she slowly begins to blossom and expand her universe.
As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian
2019. Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.
1978. Saeed is an engineering student with a promising future ahead of him in Tehran. But when his parents discover his involvement in the country’s burgeoning revolution, they send him to safety in America, a country Saeed despises. And even worse—he’s forced to live with the American grandmother he never knew existed.
1939. Bobby, the son of a calculating Hollywood stage mother, lands a coveted MGM studio contract. But the fairy-tale world of glamour he’s thrust into has a dark side. Bobby is forced to hide his sexuality for fear of losing everything.
Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.
If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St. Jude
Avery Byrne has secrets. She's queer; she's in love with her best friend, Cass; and she's suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.
Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.
Rubi Ramos's Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra
Graduation is only a few months away, and so far Rubi Ramos’s recipe for success is on track.
*Step 1: Get into the prestigious Alma University.
*Step 2: Become an incredibly successful lawyer.
But when Alma waitlists Rubi’s application, her plan is in jeopardy. Her parents–especially her mom, AKA the boss–have wanted this for her for years. In order to get off the waitlist without her parents knowing, she needs math tutoring from surfer-hottie math genius Ryan, lead the debate team to a championship–and remember the final step of the recipe.
*Step 3: Never break the ban on baking.
Rubi has always been obsessed with baking, daydreaming up new concoctions and taking shifts at her parents’ celebrated bakery. But her mother dismisses baking as a distraction–her parents didn’t leave Cuba so she could bake just like them.
But some recipes are begging to be tampered with…
When the First Annual Bake Off comes to town, Rubi’s passion for baking goes from subtle simmer to full boil. She’s not sure if she has what it takes to become OC’s best amateur baker, and there’s only one way to find out--even though it means rejecting the ban on baking, and by extension, her parents. But life is what you bake it, and now Rubi must differentiate between the responsibility of unfulfilled dreams she holds, and finding the path she’s meant for.