All Ages

The Best Children’s and YA Books of
May 2020

by the Brightly Editors

If March was about our regular routines slamming to a halt, and April was for creating new routines at home, May has a lot of folks, children and parents alike, starting to feel a bit antsy. If that’s the case for your household, switch things up with a few wonderful additions to your home library. May’s best new books are meant to entertain and ease the cooped-up doldrums. Stay well and happy reading!

  • Chapter Books & Middle Grade

  • Tornado Brain

    by Cat Patrick

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    Frankie and Colette first became friends during kindergarten, while a tornado made a beeline for their school. But now, in seventh grade, they’re not friends anymore. That’s not the only thing that’s difficult for Frankie, who’s neurodivergent. (“Sometimes I don’t notice things at all and sometimes I notice things too much,” she says.) But she misses her friend — and when Colette goes missing, Frankie is determined to find her. Tornado Brain is a mystery wrapped in a coming-of-age tale, told by an unforgettable narrator.
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • The Unbelievable Oliver and the Sawed-in-Half Dads

    by Pseudonymous Bosch, Illustrated by Shane Pangburn

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    Oliver’s stage debut was thwarted by petty theft, but he’s set to make a big comeback. His friends’ dads are finally getting married and Oliver will perform the classic sawed-in-half magic trick at their rehearsal brunch. Unfortunately, one of the grooms goes missing, prompting yet another mystery for the amateur magician to sort out.
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • The Madre de Aguas of Cuba

    by Adam Gidwitz and Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Hatem Aly

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    The latest mission for the Unicorn Rescue Society is set in Cuba. The legendary water serpent — also known as the Madre de Aguas — is missing and Cuba’s gripped by drought. Uchenna, Elliot, and Professor Elliot find the serpent, but not every creature is keen on being rescued by a trio of humans. Will they manage to help without becoming dinner?
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • Unicorn Academy #8: Ariana and Whisper

    by Julie Sykes, illustrated by Lucy Truman

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    At the Unicorn Academy, Ariana’s been paired with Whisper. Ariana adores her unicorn but she’s beginning to get worried that Whisper hasn’t yet found his magic, which also means the two of them haven’t yet bonded. When they learn that all the animals are fleeing the Verdant Forest, they’ll have to work together to set things right.
    (On Sale: 05/12/20)

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  • Stepping Stones

    by Lucy Knisley

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    Bestselling comics creator Lucy Knisley borrows from her own childhood in this coming-of-age graphic novel. Jen is less than thrilled when her mom moves the two of them to the country, but to make matters worse, they move in with her mom’s boyfriend, Walter, and Walter’s two seemingly perfect daughters. Not only does Jen have to figure out how to live (and work) on Peapod Farm, but she also has to figure out where she fits into this new family — a journey that is both amusing and heartwarming.
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • YA

  • Forged in Fire and Stars

    by Andrea Robertson

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    In the first book of an epic new fantasy series, Ara is thrust onto a path that will lead to either greatness or doom. Years ago, before the monarchy’s downfall, Ara was fated to become the next Loresmith — the blacksmith who serves alongside royalty. Now, her ordinary life is confined to a small mountain village until the missing Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon recruit Ara to help them reclaim the throne.
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • Aurora Burning

    by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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    In the second book of the Aurora Cycle series, Squad 312 (a ragtag group of space cadets) have their hands full, to say the least. Not only is an ancient evil on the brink of release, but sketchy agents are after Auri, the sole survivor of a vanished colony ship — which has just been discovered after two centuries. Its black box could save them all if they can get to it first.
    (On Sale: 05/05/20)

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  • House of Dragons

    by Jessica Cluess

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    The author of the Kingdom of Fire series returns with another riveting fantasy world. In the kingdom of Etrusia, the eldest child of each of the five royal houses spend their entire lives training to compete for the throne. But this year, everything is different. Five outcasts receive the Call instead: a liar, a solider, a servant, a thief, and a murderer. Who will survive? And who will ascend to power?
    (On Sale: 05/12/20)

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  • Say Yes Summer

    by Lindsey Roth Culli

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    Rachel Brooks has spent her high school career working her tail off to get into her dream school on scholarship, which has involved saying no to just about everything fun — dances, parties, and dating. But after she finds a self-help book called A Season of Yes!, Rachel decides to spend her pre-college summer saying yes to everything — which entails big risks and a few mistakes as well, but also cultivating relationships and experiences that she’ll never forget.
    (On Sale: 05/12/2020)

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  • Date Me, Bryson Keller

    by Kevin van Whye

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    Bryson Keller is the hottest guy at Fairvale Academy, and he’s accepted the ultimate dare: to date someone new every single week, whoever asks him out first on Monday morning. When closeted Kai Sheridan asks him out on a lark, Bryson agrees on one condition – that it remains a secret. Kai knows dating a straight boy is pointless, especially when there’s a five-day limit, but what if his assumptions about Bryson are wrong?
    (On Sale: 05/19/20)

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  • Nowhere on Earth

    by Nick Lake

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    This fast-paced, emotional story will enthrall every kind of reader. Sixteen-year-old Emily is running away from home when she crosses paths with a little boy named Aidan. All by himself in the woods, Emily quickly learns that helping Aidan find his way home is going to be difficult — if not impossible — because Aidan isn’t from Earth. Simultaneously a survival story and a meditation on family, Nowhere on Earth is compulsively readable.
    (On Sale: 05/26/20)

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