New Book Releases: May 7, 2019

Welcome to May’s new book releases! There is so much to celebrate this month! First off, this week marks the three year anniversary of my very first New Release Spotlight. At this time in May 2016, I wrote my first New Release Spotlight as part of a 4-week series on the May new releases that year. There were just so many great ones! It’s been going strong ever since, and I’ve only missed a handful of random weeks here and there. With about 150 New Release Spotlights under my belt, I’ve since noticed that certain months–January, May, and September–are especially huge for new releases.

And another exciting announcement…as you have noticed, my new MrsReaderPants blog has launched! Don’t worry, all the content is still available, but wow, what a gorgeous new facelift! Since I have nearly 700 posts, there will be some formatting issues that will take me some time to fix. If there is a certain article, product, or review you are trying to find, I am happy to help you with the link. Comments are disabled right now (working on it), but you can email me or post on my FaceBook page.


With several starred titles from debut authors, plus new titles from Julia Donaldson, David Macaulay, Elizabeth Acevedo, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Maureen Goo, Mariko Tamaki, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, there is SO much to choose from this week!

NOTE: Titles start with YA and go down in age to picture books at the end. Scroll to the bottom for sequels. Titles highlighted in purple are those that received two or more starred professional reviews.

With the Fire on High (Elizabeth Acevedo)

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions–doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.



PAGES: 389
GENRES: realistic fiction
THEMES: teen pregnancy, cooking
READALIKES: On the Come Up (Thomas)Watch Us Rise (Watson)The Poet X (Acevedo)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred, SLJ starred, Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: ” The short, precise prose chapters will draw in even reluctant readers, and the inclusion of several recipes adds to the appeal. Current pop-culture references and cultural relevance will attract both window and mirror readers. Sabroso.” (Kirkus, 15 Mar 2019)

Somewhere Only We Know (Maurene Goo)

10:00 pm: K-Pop star Lucky has just performed her hit song in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, but right now, she’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11:00 pm:Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute, and he’s curious.



PAGES: 328
GENRES: realistic fiction, romance
THEMES: pop stars, K-pop, music, tabloids
READALIKES: I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Goo)There’s Something about Sweetie (Menon)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A quick-paced, entertaining plot, witty banter, and expert characterization make this a light and satisfying read, and a wealth of local details effortlessly immerse the reader in the worlds of Hong Kong and K-pop stardom. Charming and swoonworthy.” (Kirkus, 1 May 2019)

The Lovely and the Lost (Jennifer Lynn Barnes)

Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Together with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs.




PAGES: 325
GENRES: mystery
THEMES: missing persons, search-and-rescue, wilderness survival
READALIKES: If You Find Me (Murdoch)The Leaving (Altebrando)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “An engaging, clever, suspenseful story in which readers—especially dog-loving teens—will easily lose themselves.” (Kirkus, 1 Mar 2019)

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (Mariko Tamaki (Author), Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Illustrator)

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend. Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem.




PAGES: 289
GENRES: graphic novel, romance
THEMES: LGBT, relationships
READALIKES: This One Summer (Tamaki)Bloom (Panetta)The Music of What Happens (Konigsberg)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Touching gently but powerfully on topics of bullying, homophobia, and toxic relationships, this superb graphic novel has its finger on the pulse of teenage concerns.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Apr 2019)

How It Feels to Float (Helena Fox)

Debut author! Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was seven. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface–normal okay regular fine. But after what happens on the beach–first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears and, with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away?



PAGES: 382
GENRES: realistic fiction
THEMES: LGBT+, mental health, unreliable narrator
READALIKES: A Heart in a Body in the World (Caletti)Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Khorram)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred, BCCB starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “It’s a masterful portrayal of mental illness that illuminates the complex interplay between emotional trauma and the mind’s subsequent recoil. And the writing is just beautiful.” (Booklist starred review, 1 Apr 2019)

Deposing Nathan (Zack Smedley)

Debut author! The summer after eleventh grade, Nate was stabbed in his front yard. The attacker: his best friend, Cameron. Now, Nate is being called to deliver a sworn statement that will get Cam convicted. But the problem is, the real story isn’t that easy or convenient–just like Nate and Cam’s relationship. During the deposition, Nate is forced to come clean about all of the things he’s kept bottled up–like how his aunt isn’t as supportive and friendly as she seems to outsiders, how he cheated on his girlfriend, and how he and Cam are so much more than friends.



PAGES: 400
GENRES: realistic fiction
THEMES: LGBT+, crime, family secrets
READALIKES: We Contain Multitudes (Henstra–releases next week)Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel (McQuiston–also releases next week)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Smedley takes on religion, bisexuality, abuse, and mental health in this ambitious coming-of-age story—and he pulls it all together beautifully.” (Booklist, 1 Apr 2019)

Dark Shores (Danielle L. Jensen)

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape–a choice with devastating consequences.

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him–and the world.



PAGES: 364
GENRES: fantasy, adventure
THEMES: pirates
READALIKES: Daughter of the Pirate King (Levenseller)To Kill a Kingdom (Christo)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The book grabs readers from the beginning with its stellar worldbuilding and multidimensional characters, and the mythical elements are truly believable within the constructs of the story.” (Kirkus, 15 Mar 2019)

Aurora Rising (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch. And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.



PAGES: 472
GENRES: science fiction, adventure
THEMES: space opera (my favorite!)
READALIKES: Starflight (Landers)Illuminae (Kaufman/Kristoff), These Broken Stars (Kaufman/Spooner)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The story is told from seven perspectives, which can make for uneven character development, but coauthors Kaufman and Kristoff (the Illuminae Files series) maintain an exciting, fast pace; a steadily coalescing band of crewmates; and plentiful romantic tension in this entertaining space opera.” (Publishers Weekly, 15 Apr 2019)

We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders (various authors)

Sixteen award-winning children’s book artists illustrate the civil rights quotations that inspire them in this stirring and beautiful book. Featuring an introduction by Harry Belafonte, words from Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among others, this inspirational collection sets a powerful example for generations of young leaders to come. It includes illustrations by Selina Alko, Alina Chau, Lisa Congdon, Emily Hughes, Molly Idle, Juana Medina, Innosanto Nagara, Christopher Silas Neal, John Parra, Brian Pinkney, Greg Pizzoli, Sean Qualls, Dan Santat, Shadra Strickland, Melissa Sweet, and Raul the Third.



GENRES: picture book for older readers
THEMES: civil rights, activism, prejudice, racism
READALIKES: The Undefeated (Alexander)When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (Hill)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A heady mix of visual and verbal inspiration, nearly every page rewarding slow, thoughtful attention.” (Kirkus, 15 Feb 2019)

Up for Air (Laurie Morrison)

Debut author! Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special–and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim.



PAGES: 282
GENRES: realistic fiction, sports
THEMES: swimming, learning disabilities, friendship
READALIKES: Every Shiny Thing (Jenson, Morrison)Diving Off the Edge (Maddox)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred, Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “By avoiding a picture-perfect ending, Morrison stays true to the maddeningly uncertain years of middle school, depicting all of its in-between-ness with spot-on accuracy.” (Publishers Weekly starred review, 18 Mar 2019)

Shouting at the Rain (Lynda Mullaly Hunt)

Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved.



PAGES: 288
GENRES: realistic fiction, adventure
THEMES: grief
READALIKES: Fish in a Tree (Hunt)The Thing About Jellyfish (Benjamin)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: ” Hunt creates a realistic sketch of small-town life and the agonies of growing up in an imperfect family.” (SLJ, 1 Apr 2019)

Mummies Exposed! (Kerrie Logan Hollihan)

Packed with facts but light in tone, this book introduces young readers to the most compelling examples of mummies from all over the world. Readers will learn about a Moche princess in Peru, the bog people of England and Ireland, and a Buddhist monk discovered within a sculpture. Features contemporary research, a touch of humor, and full-color illustrations. The book includes endnotes, bibliography, and index.




PAGES: 194
GENRES: nonfiction
THEMES: mummies, ancient history
READALIKES: Mummies: Truth and Rumors (Montgomery)DK Eyewitness: Mummy (Putnam)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred, SLJ starred, School Library Connection starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “This wide-ranging and well-researched survey of mummies from around the world is a highly recommended purchase for school and public libraries.” (SLJ starred review, 1 Feb 2019)

Your Turn, Adrian
by Helena Öberg (Author), Kristin Lidström (Illustrator), Eva Apelqvist (Translator)

Almost every day, Adrian goes to school with knots in his stomach. He feels different from the other children, and alone. Whenever the teacher calls on him, his heart starts to pound and time stops. But he finds respite in his rich imagination–a world full of color and joy in which he is a circus performer, capable of spectacular feats.

One day Adrian encounters a huge wolfhound that seems to be lost. He names her Heidi, takes her home, and soon the two of them are inseparable. Heidi’s comforting presence provides friendship and tranquility, and even enables Adrian to read aloud in front of the class. This brief period of happiness ends when Heidi is reunited with her owner and Adrian finds himself alone again…


GENRES: graphic novel
THEMES: anxiety, friendship
READALIKES: Awkward (Chmakova)New Kid (Craft)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The minimal text and particular plot twists will garner appreciation from struggling readers; endearing characters and a fresh design will attract many more.” (Kirkus starred review, 15 Apr 2019)

Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team
by Susan Hood (Author), Pathana Sornhiran (Author), Dow Phumiruk (Illustrator)

One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped! With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out.





GENRES: nonfiction picture book
THEMES: caving, rescue, Thailand
READALIKES: Rising Water: The Story of the Thai Cave Rescue (Aronson)
WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: I found no professional reviews of this title.

Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World
(David Macaulay)

Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship.






PAGES: 128
GENRES: nonfiction picture book
THEMES: transportation, steamships, inventions
READALIKES: The Way Things Work Now (Macaulay)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Juicy tidbits (the ship was outfitted with an operating room, a morgue, and seven caskets) augment scientific and historical details, and Macaulay’s memories of his own voyage add a child’s perspective. Appended with an afterword, time line, and photos, this is not to be missed.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Apr 2019)

Red Light, Green Lion (Candace Ryan)

While a green lion waits at a red traffic light, a series of unexpected events occur, involving such things as lightning, a lilac, library books and lima beans. Or rather, ?li-ghtning,? ?li-lac,? ?li-brary books,? and ?li-ma beans? because the text on each spread ends with ?Red light, green li-,? and the reader must turn the page to see the whole word — and what’s happened. All the while, the lion calmly and helpfully deals with whatever shows up (even loading livestock into a lifeboat!) and wryly muses about the way life can be. ?Some days are not like most days,? the lion explains at the beginning. But as all children know: those days are usually the most fun!



GENRES: picture book
THEMES: spelling, predicting text
READALIKES: Blue vs. Yellow (Sullivan)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Funny, helpful, empathetic, accessible, and perfect for an interactive group read-aloud or quiet contemplation under the covers.” (Kirkus, 15 Mar 2019)

Paws and Edward by Espen Dekko (Author), Mari Kanstad Johnsen (Illustrator)

Paws is tired. He just wants to rest. And to dream about the days when he used to chase rabbits. He still walks with Edward to the park twice a day, but only because Edward needs the fresh air. Until one day, Paws decides he doesn’t want to go for another walk. He just wants to lie in Edward’s bed. ?Paws has walked and walked. His paws are heavy. Paws doesn’t have to walk anymore. Paws doesn’t have to do anything anymore.? And Paws falls asleep one last time, leaving Edward to dream of the days when Paws used to chase rabbits.



GENRES: picture book
THEMES:death of a pet, dreams, old age
READALIKES: I’ll Always Love You (Wilhelm)Saying Goodbye to Lulu (Demas)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Edward’s skin is shown as a different shade on each page, a device that allows Edward to approach universality while visually highlighting, once again, the theme of limitlessness. A truly brilliant contribution to the genre and a must for any child who has lost a beloved pet.” (Kirkus starred review, 1 Mar 2019)

How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by Frieda Wishinsky (Author), Natalie Nelson (Illustrator)

The Brooklyn Bridge, the iconic suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, was completed in 1883. It is thanks to Emily Warren Roebling that the bridge was finished at all. Emily was not an engineer, but she was educated in math and science. She married Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the famous bridge. When Washington became ill from decompression sickness, Emily stepped in, doing everything from keeping the books, to carrying messages for her husband, to monitoring the construction of the bridge.



GENRES: picture book biography
THEMES: STEAM, engineering, suspension bridges, Brooklyn Bridge
READALIKES: Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge (Dougherty)I Will Be Fierce (Birdsong)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Particularly delightful for those with a keen eye for detail: cheekily hidden on each page is the victorious rooster that Emily carried as a sign of victory on her ceremonial crossing of the completed bridge. Back matter offers more resources and a handful of additional facts. Another win for the ladies of STEM.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Apr 2019)

The Hawk and the Dove (Paul Kor)

The hawk is sad. He is tired of war. So, he changes his face and puts on gloves. Whoosh! He has become a gentle dove. And all around him, the world is at peace. No more canon blasts. No more bombs. Planes turn into butterflies. Soldiers’ guns sprout dazzling flowers. Everyone is joyful as a blanket of calm envelops the world. However, though happy now, the dove still worries. Will it last?




GENRES: picture book
THEMES: war, peace, rhyming book
READALIKES: The Sky of Afghanistan (Eulate)When Spring Comes to the DMZ (Lee)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Adults sharing this title with children will find a resource both for discussion and for art projects. While perhaps bringing to mind classic 1960s protest songs, Kor’s heartfelt plea to put an end to war should resonate deeply today.” (Kirkus, 1 Mar 2019)

The Cook and the King (Julia Donaldson)

The king searches his kingdom far and wide for the perfect cook. He’s very particular, and none of the cooks can get the job done just right. Until the king meets Wobbly Bob. The king thinks Wobbly Bob might be the perfect fit, but there’s just one small hitch–Wobbly Bob is afraid of everything. He’s afraid that he’ll nick himself with the sharp kitchen knives, and he’s afraid he’ll get dirt from the vegetable garden on his new apron. Wobbly Bob needs a companion to help him feel brave, so the king himself tags along every step of the way.



GENRES: picture book
THEMES: fear, friendship, cooking
READALIKES: Nothing Can Frighten a Bear (Dale)The Gruffalo (Donaldson)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Donaldson’s thumping lines scan as confidently as ever, while expressive characters painted by Roberts (Rosie Revere, Engineer) transmit emotion with great versatility, from fear to absorption to embarrassed relief. ” (Publishers Weekly, 18 Feb 2019)

Being Edie Is Hard Today by Ben Brashares (Author), Elizabeth Bergeland (Illustrator)

Being Edie is hard today. No one understands. Not her mother. Not her teachers, or the kids at school. If only if she could be an animal! Edie’s imagination may be the perfect escape, but she can’t run from her feelings forever if she’s going to be comfortable in her own skin.





GENRES: picture book
THEMES: emotions, bullying
READALIKES: Feelings (Walden)The Bad Mood and the Stick (Snicket)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Edie’s plight is identifiable to anyone who’s ever been bullied or who sometimes finds everyday life a bit of a struggle.” (Kirkus, 1 Mar 2019)


This week’s sequels (YA):


This week’s sequels (Middle Grades):

This week’s sequels (Elementary and Picture Books):


This list also appears on my New Releases–Weekly Board on Pinterest: 


  • Yay new bloggy! Are you still doing the book giveaway? If so I want the book Ready Player One. It’s sooooooo good it’s one I actually want a copy of! 😀

    • Good morning! I was planning to do a giveaway this week, but with the blog migration, I’m holding off until next week. There are still a lot of little issues and things I need to figure out. I’ve gone from Blogger to WordPress, but I’ve never used WP before. I’m in WP learning mode!!!

  • Congrats on on your 3rd anniversary! You are so right May has a ton of new release. I’ve been seeing a lot about “With the Fire on High”, looking forward to reading it this summer.

    • I just put With the Fire on High on-hold on OverDrive. Can’t wait to read it!


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