The 15 Best Fiction Books Of May 2017

by Melissa Ragsdale

You smell that fresh spring air? Feel the sun on your face? That means it's almost summer, and it's time to prepare for the best fiction of May 2017, the best month of the year for reading, in my opinion.

If you're a suspense fan, you're in luck, because there's some great reads coming your way, including a new book from Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins. Buckle your belts for some great, edge-of-your-seat writing, with plenty of plot twists.

Plus, this month there are so many amazing immigrant stories and stories about finding home, each one vibrant and eye-opening in its own way. I'm so excited by the range of perspectives we get to experience, as characters confront their heritage, the reality of their situations, and where they want their lives to lead. Get ready for your heart to be yanked in every direction.

I'm delighted to see new books by well-loved authors like Haruki Murakami, Edan Lepucki, Tracy Chevalier, and Courtney Maum, alongside some spectacular debut novelists. Seriously, these authors are killing it.

Reading is in the air, and there's plenty to be hyped about this month. You're going to want to get your hands on these great new books ASAP.

'Into the Water' by Paula Hawkins (May 2; Riverhead)

That's right, the author of the page-turner The Girl on the Train has a new psychological thriller, just in time for your beach getaway. When a single mother's body is found at the bottom of the river, her 15-year-old daughter and fearful sister attempt to put together the pieces, exposing secrets about their family and town in the process.

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'Salt Houses' by Hala Alyan (May 2; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

In this gorgeous debut novel, readers follow a Palestinian family over several generations as they build and rebuild their lives in different parts of the Middle East and beyond.

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'No One Can Pronounce My Name' by Rakesh Satyal (May 2; Picador)

In this big-hearted novel, a friendship blooms between two Indian immigrants as they struggle to find their place in the world: Harit, a middle-aged man who has begun dressing as his recently-deceased sister to help his mother, and Ranjana, who's begun writing paranormal romance as her life makes some uncertain turns.

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'The Leavers' by Lisa Ko (May 2; Algonquin Books)

Winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, this heart-wrenching novel is a must-read. One morning, 11-year-old Deming Guo's mother — an undocumented Chinese immigrant — goes to work and never returns. Deming is adopted by a white couple, and grows up to become Daniel. But as he grows older, he begins to question what led to his abandonment.

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'Notes of a Crocodile' by Qiu Miaojin (May 2; NYRB Classics)

Authored by one of Taiwan's first openly queer writers, Notes of a Crocodile is freshly translated into English, and it's not your typical read. Told via eight notebooks, the book follows Lazi, a lesbian college student in 1990s Taipei, as she falls into a toxic relationship and begins to question life around her.

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'Ginny Moon' by Benjamin Ludwig (May 2; Park Row Books)

This book is told from the point-of-view of Ginny, an autistic teenager who has been in the foster system and has finally found her forever home. But things aren't perfect, and as Ginny grapples with the trauma of her past, she must also learn to cope with all the changes in her new life.

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'Men Without Women' by Haruki Murakami (May 9; Knopf)

A new Haruki Murakami book is always cause for celebration. In this short story collection, the iconic author explores the lives of men who find themselves without partners. These stories are filled with all of the luminous, magical elements that make Murakami's writing so fascinating.

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'Woman No. 17' by Edan Lepucki (May 9; Hogarth)

From the author of California, this noir is about a recently single mother, Lady, who hires a live-in baby-sitter named S, a uniquely captivating young woman with whom Lady forges a deep connection. But as S grows closer to Lady's older son, the secrets of both these women's lives begin wreak emotional havoc.

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'Sycamore' by Bryn Chancellor (May 9; Harper)

This masterfully-written suspense will draw you in immediately.The story begins when a newcomer to a small Arizona town discovers the body of a teenage girl, believed to be Jess Winters— who went missing eighteen years ago. But Jess had a complicated past, and as the townspeople attempt to discover the truth of her disappearance, they unearth some painful secrets.

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'New Boy' by Tracy Chevalier (May 16: Hogarth)

The latest installment of the Hogarth Shakespeare series is definitely worth getting excited about. New Boy is an Othello retelling set in a 1970s suburban Washington D.C. elementary school. When Osei, a diplomat's son, lands at his new school, he befriends the most popular girl, Dee. But one of Osei's schoolmates is on a vindictive mission to destroy the friendship.

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'The Awkward Age' by Francesca Segal (May 16; Riverhead)

If you're craving drama, this book is for you! When a widow remarries, she and her new husband struggle to unite their households as their teenage children rebel against the move. But things become especially messy when the new step-siblings, Gwen and Nathan, become drawn to one another.

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'Isadora' by Amelia Gray (May 23; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Amelia Gray is known for her electric writing, so we're super pumped for her latest novel. Inspired by the life of Isadora Duncan, known now as the mother of modern dance, this book transports readers to 1913, just after the freak accident that killed Duncan's two children.

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'Chemistry' by Weike Wang (May 23; Knopf)

Three years into her graduate studies, this book's unnamed narrator finds herself no longer interested in her course of study, chemistry. Then her boyfriend proposes, and she finds herself at a tipping point: what does she really want out of life?

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'A Good Country' by Laleh Khadivi (May 23; Bloomsbury)

Set in California, this book follows Rez, a Muslim teenager, who finds himself breaking away from his straight-A personality and his Iranian heritage and embracing a new, rebellious lifestyle. But when Rez befriends a group of radical teens, he finds himself drawn to a rising Muslim nation.

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'Touch' by Courtney Maum (May 30; G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend forecaster in the world. But when she sees an anti-electronics movement rising, she finds herself rebelling against her employer's mission and risking her professional reputation to defend real life human interaction.

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