We're another month deep into the roller coaster ride that is 2020, which means it's time for Bustle to round up the best books Bustle editors read last month. The team read an eclectic mix of critically acclaimed new novels and some diverse deep cuts last month. Get ready to grow your summer TBR with this handful of truly spectacular reads.
Are any of us really over Normal People yet? Clearly not, as the Bustle editorial team focused in on two Sally Rooney readalikes in May. Bustle UK Executive Editor Sam Rogers had a blast with Anna Hope's Expectation, which GRAZIA dubbed a book for people who "wished Normal People had tackled female friendship." Likewise, Culture Editor Samantha Leach found Naoise Dolan's Exciting Times the perfect book to fill the "Sally Rooney-sized hole in [her] heart."
Other highlights from this month's crop of reads include a memoir on microdosing, a feminist sci-fi thriller, a no-holds-barred self-help book, and the all-new Hunger Games prequel. Keep reading to check out the best books Bustle editors read this May:
A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldman
"Ayelet Waldman's A Really Good Day is a refreshing explainer on what it's like to quietly sneak a microdose of acid every three days for a month. The diaristic entries interspersed with expert interviews left me with a very thorough understanding of how powerful this drug can be." — Melanie Mignucci, Health & Wellness Editor
Expectation by Anna Hope
"On the face of it, Anna Hope’s Expectation is not a book you should enjoy. Three friends struggle to come to terms with the cards they’ve been dealt — an unexpected family, repeatedly unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and a flailing acting career, respectively — while navigating the politics of friendships, envy, betrayal and life in general. And yet, there is something so very relatable. It is less about what happens to them individually, and more about piecing together how their personalities, choices and wider society has brought them all here. It is about the chasm that exists between the lives we envision for ourselves, and the lives we end up living. At a time when we’re all obsessed with Normal People again, it is oddly comforting to read about friendships. Even dysfunctional ones. As one of the main character's mother warns: 'You must keep hold of your friendships. The women. They’re the only thing that will save you in the end.'" — Sam Rogers, Executive Editor Bustle UK
Goldilocks by Laura Lam
"One of my favorite sci-fi books to come out in recent years, Laura Lam's Goldilocks is part heist novel, part space thriller. When a series of increasingly misogynistic policies result in her Earth-saving terraforming project's shelving, Dr. Valerie Black pulls together a team of five women to hijack a shuttle for the first all-female spaceflight. Known as the Atalanta Five, the women hope to buy themselves a few years on the uninhabited planet, Cavendish — years they know will end in their arrests, at best. Surprisingly hopeful even as it mirrors much of what we've seen in the recent War on Women, Goldilocks has staying power as a bright spot in the darkness." — K.W. Colyard, Books Features Writer
Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup by Zara Barrie
"I'm currently reading Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup by my friend Zara Barrie. It's a funny, candid, and, at times, stark look at mental illness, addiction, sex, and more. Part self-help, part memoir, Barrie takes you behind the scenes of how she went from partying into the morning and waking up with a full face of makeup and a hazy memory to getting her life back in order, finding her purpose, and falling in love with herself again. If you liked Cat Marnell's How to Stop Murdering Your Life, this is a fun read." — Iman Hariri-Kia, Sex & Relationships Editor
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
"I’ve had a hard time starting new books recently. In the same way people are returning to old sitcoms and movies for the comfort of familiar faces and storylines, I finally found footing in Suzanne Collins’s The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to the late-aughts Hunger Games series. Coriolanus Snow is no Katniss, but the book makes up for character loyalty with narrative staples from the trilogy: quick pacing, chapter cliffhangers, and a familiar Panem terrain. And now I'm rereading the series, which I've never done — it's the gift that keeps on giving." — Bri Kovan, Rule Breakers Editor
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
"Like many of us, I had a Sally Rooney-sized hole in my heart after watching Hulu's adaptation of Normal People. So when I saw an article heralding Naoise Dolan as the second coming of Rooney, I knew that I had to check it out. Exciting Times follows Ava, a young Irish woman abroad in Hong Kong. Much like Normal People's Marianne, Ava's love life is a bit of a mess. She's sleeping with a banker named Julian — who she lives with, rent-free, despite not being his girlfriend — but soon an intriguing new woman catches her eye. It's a classic love triangle premise, but the cutting banter and witty rapport shared between each love interest makes it a compelling read." — Samantha Leach, Culture Editor