Most anticipated releases of May 2021 | may I present to you: lots of BIPOC and LGBTQIAP rep in YA books | Diversify your reading in 2021!

After endlessly scrolling through Goodreads, Twitter and all other bookish platforms, I’m happy to be back with another most anticipated releases post! There are lots of promising-sounding books releasing this May, and even better: lots of diverse books are releasing! Perfect time to dive into some stories with LGBTQIAP or BIPOC characters (and this month I even found a book with a neurodivergent ( or more specifically, autistic) character!

One of the most important goals of my blog is to make diverse books more accessible and thus easier to find. That’s why I compiled this list full of YA books that are full of representation. I’ve been doing these posts for a few months and while previous editions did have these, I have decided that from now on I will not include any books that don’t have representation. Authors that decide to have an all white, straight, able, cisgender cast of characters are not the ones I want to support here. I hope you all understand and agree with this decision.

Now, without further ado, MAY (pun intended y’all!) I present to you…

Anticipated releases of May 2021

51006934. sy475

The Ones we’re meant to find by Joan He
Release date: May 4th 2021
Genre: YA sci-fi
Representation: Asian main characters

No, this book is not just on the list for that cover (though it is a masterpiece on its own, wow), it also sounds absolutely incredible! I haven’t read the authors previous book Descendant of the crane, but I’m on a tour for this one and couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait to read it with my friend Manon at the end of this month! I really love the Black Mirror-ish concept and, well, I’ve heard great things about Joan He’s prose! So yeah, be sure to look out for my tour stop on May 3rd!

Counting down with you by Tashie Bhuiyan
Release date: May 4th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Bangladeshi main character, Muslim main character, anxiety rep

When I first heard of this book, I was sold. I mean, I wanted to get back into reading contemporary and something about this concept stuck with me. The love-interest being described as a bad boy definitely threw me off at first, but I’ve heard he’s actually a softie, lol! Anyway, I’m on a tour for this one too and I’m really excited to start it soon! One of my best friends, Nana, read an earlier version of the ARC and was not happy with the Muslim rep at all, but the author actually changed it in this version of the arc, so…I’m very hopeful but also a bit scared!

51006934. sy475

Meet cute diary by Emery Lee
Release date: May 4th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Trans main character, gay romance, BIPOC main character

While the cover and title didn’t immediately caught my eye, some reviews did. And I’m glad they did, because this actually sounds like such an important story that doesn’t deserve to go unnoticed. I really like the overall concept and the representation only adds to the potential this story has! I’ve heard people it’s incredible and hopeful and brought them lots of joy, so you could say I can’t wait to pick this up as soon as possible!

51006934. sy475

Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
Release date: May 4th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Gay main character

Another book that didn’t catch my eye immediately, but boy am I happy that I decided to look into it a bit more! This debut novel is about a Mexican family that risks being deported, despite the children literally being born in the United States. I’m pretty sure this will be a timely story that’s also important and eye-opening. I also feel like it will generally be a story about family which I haven’t read about often enough, so…YES PLEASE? Same as with Meet cute diary, I really hope people won’t just skip this one!

51006934. sy475

Cool for the summer by Dahlia Adler
Release date: May 11th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Bisexual main character

Okay, okay…this story has a lot of potential. The concept is not the most original thing ever, but you know what? It doesn’t need to be because the message it seems to want to bring is enough! But unfortunately I’ve seen low ratings, and my friends Katie and Cosette even mentioned some “problematic” aspects of this book. So despite my excitement, I’m also very, very scared…I can’t deny that I still want to kind of try to read it though, oops? We’ll definitely see, lol!

51006934. sy475

The other side of perfect by Mariko Turk
Release date: May 11th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Biracial main character

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t originally add this to my TBR because it sounded sapphic. I DIDN’T REALISE JUDE WAS A BOY, OKAY? But even after I found out he was, lol, I still couldn’t resist wanting to read this! I mean, this concept really has something about it! There’s something about ballet books too, even though I don’t like ballet that much. It’s just the dark world behind it that makes for a more than interesting story, and I’m pretty sure this one will deliver that! I just need to read it!

51006934. sy475

Some girls do by Jennifer Dugan
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Lesbian main character, bisexual main character, sapphic romance

Y’all, I’m pretty sure miracles still exist because I’ve just concluded that my most anticipated release of this month isn’t a fantasy book but this YA contemporary! Well, it’s half a miracle because of course this book is sapphic! Even before I read a preview of it, I knew I needed this in my life. Not only is this cover a sapphic’s dream (or at least this sapphic her dream), but the concept sounds AMAZING! I can’t wait to dive into this…I literally don’t have anything else to say about this. Head empty, just craving this I guess!

51006934. sy475

In the ravenous dark by A. M. Strickland
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA fantasy
Representation: Pansexual main character, lesbian main character, non-binary + asexual character

I’m pretty sure I will be getting this in a book box and I’m already so excited! Like, how can I NOT be? This book has everything: an intriguing plot with dark vibes, lots of representation and, well, RAVING reviews. People are saying it has lots of build-up and oh my, when I tell you I would die to get this right now…but if my book box guess is right, I will be getting this before it releases! Can you hear me SCREAM?

51006934. sy475

May the best man win by Z. R. Ellor
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Trans main character, autistic main character, gay romance

This sounds and looks absolutely amazing so I am ready! I actually just found out that it also has autism rep and that only makes me more excited! I’m autistic and I just really hope to see some parts of myself in this since I’ve barely read any books with autistic main characters. Either way, this concept sounded really fun, important and adorable, but I’ve heard that it’s actually quite a heavy book. That doesn’t throw me off though, I’m very curious to see what this book will bring!

51006934. sy475

It goes like this by Miel Moreland
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Sapphic romance, black main character, all queer main characters

I refuse to believe I’m the only one who gets MAJOR Daisy Jones and the Six vibes from this. I mean, this has so much potential and I was practically sold when the synopsis started with “Four queer teens”. Like, HELLO? That’s what I’m here for! I love the idea of ex-best-friends reuniting and all that stuff. Plus this has a second-chance romance that’s sapphic. I’m so ready for this book but also…I am not ready because this book could very well be the end of me, lol!

51006934. sy475

Made in Korea by Sarah Suk
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Korean main characters

Gonna be really honest here: the concept doesn’t exactly attract me. You might be wondering “then why put it on this list?” Well, I’m still planning on reading it. I’ve seen some friends absolutely adoring this and then…that cover? I’m too weak for this…and of course the representation plays a big part in my decision to pick it up, too! And lastly I’ve heard it has really realistic and vivid characters so…I’m investing in that! Either way, the concept didn’t convince me but I still want to give it a chance because I think it might really, really surprise me!

51006934. sy475

Off the record by Camryn Garrett
Release date: May 18th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Black main character, bisexual main character, plus-sized main character, sexual assault survivors

Okay but WHY haven’t I heard anyone talk about this yet? Like, I literally just found out this existed and now I need it. It sounds feminist, what do you even want me to say? I’ve said this in this post before but I’m really, really, really hoping people won’t sleep on this because I feel like it could be something so big and powerful! “A story too explosive to keep quiet”? Please, hit me with it!

51006934. sy475

Not my problem by Ciara Smyth
Release date: May 25th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Sapphic relationship

Do I really have a choice whether to read or not to read this when sapphic queen Theresa has been screaming because of this book for a while? I mean, I’m sure I would’ve read it either way but like…she’s one of those people I genuinely trust when she recommends books, lol! Not my problem has a really interesting concept that has lots of potential to unfold into an amazing coming-of-age story. I still haven’t read The Falling in love montage, but both of these are now on my TBR!

51006934. sy475

Hani and Ishu’s guide to fake dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
Release date: May 27th 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
Representation: Sapphic relationship, Bengali main characters, bisexual main character

Adiba Jaigirdar is here to deliver our sapphic books, y’all! I literally can’t wait to get my hands on this beautiful book because of so many reasons. First, the UK cover is my LIFE. Second, we love to see that representation! Third, fake dating is a trope that has been interesting me a lot lately. Make it sapphic and sound good, cute and important and boom, Birdie is buying another book! Can you tell how excited I am for this?


And that was that again, I guess! I’m still hoping to get some of these books for review because what a dream that would be! I really, genuinely hope this list made you discover some of your new favourite reads or just helped a bit in general! Either way, thank you so much for reading all my rambling, but…

31 thoughts on “Most anticipated releases of May 2021 | may I present to you: lots of BIPOC and LGBTQIAP rep in YA books | Diversify your reading in 2021!

  1. Yess I love that all of these are diverse!! I’m so excited for so many of these! Off the Record is one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I’ve had it preordered for months cause I can’t wait!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. birdie!! i 100% support your decision to only recommend diverse books, because that is SO important, and ily for it!! i read the later ARC for counting down with you, and loved it, so i hope you love it too ahhh!! i have ARCs for a few of these, so lmk if you want to buddy read one!! 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I legit already have most of these books on my TBR! This list is ah-mazing, seriously.
    I had no idea that the author of Counting Down With You had changed sth in regards to the criticism about the Muslim rep so I’m definitely less hesitant to start this book now.
    You are SOO right about Some Girls Do sounding amazing – I’m super freaking excited about that book!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Susana, I’m so glad to hear that! I tried my best lol haha!
      I probably wouldn’t have known that either if it weren’t for my friend, so I was really relieved when she told me so since I’d already secured an arc! I’m really hoping it’ll be better!
      AND I KNOW RIGHT? I literally cannot wait!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. omgg i also initially added the other side of perfect because i thought it was sapphic too (but at least there’s a side mlm romance which turned out to be so cute)!!! there definitely was some parts in cool for the summer when i felt it was problematic, but i hope you enjoy it more than i did if you end up reading it! yes!! made in korea should definitely be on your radar (it’s absolutely adorable)! it goes like this sounds SO GOOD I’M SCREAMING i’m adding it rn 😌 lmk if you want to read one of these with me (i have arcs for some of them) 😏 i hope you get to read most of these soon! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. okay lol, then i’m not the only one i guess haha! i mean, Jude…i really expected a girl, oops? i kind of hope i will enjoy it but if you think it has problematic aspects? i don’t kow if that will work out for me to be honest! and yes i discovered made in korea because of you and now i’m definitely reading it! AND OMG it goes like this sounds to DIE for ahhh! oehh, we can discuss that, definitely! thank you love!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to gauri @ a book and chai Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s