May Book Club Picks: Mysteries, Motherhood, and More

May Book Club Picks: Mysteries, Motherhood, and More

book club recommendations

Spring is here, and chances are, your book club needs something new to read. Whether you’re in the mood for a gripping work of historical fiction or an engrossing take on motherhood, there’s a story here for every kind of book club.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Are you torn between picking a thriller and a work of historical fiction for your next book club meeting? With The Confessions of Frannie Langton, you don’t have to decide between the two. This novel introduces readers to Frannie, a servant who is accused of murdering the couple she works for. Nineteenth-century race relations, memory, and unexpected connections combine to make this a thought-provoking read. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved: “This is both a highly suspenseful murder mystery and a vivid historical novel, but best of all is the depiction of Frannie, a complex and unforgettable protagonist.” Need we say more?

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Does your book club have a mild obsession with England’s royal family? If so, we’ve got the perfect book for you. In Casey McQuiston’s debut, America’s first son and the heir to the English throne find themselves putting aside their differences to fake a friendship for the media. Along the way, Alex and Henry realize they’re falling for each other. We predict your book club members will be swooning over the blossoming romance, and any meeting about this book is certain to have discussions about public figures’ rights to privacy, politics at home and abroad, and the challenges of being your genuine self in a world ready to tear you down.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

If your book club likes talking about subjects like motherhood, immigration, and capitalism, there’s no better book to pick up this month than The Farm by Joanne Ramos. In it, readers will meet a young mother and Filipina immigrant named Jane who goes to live on a farm called Golden Oaks where she is paid a large sum of money to carry and deliver a healthy baby for a wealthy client. Your club will love digging into the moral complexities of this arrangement, and we bet you’ll walk to talk for hours. For the inside scoop on this buzzy novel, check out Bookish’s interview with Ramos.

The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

A biracial Aboriginal teen and her father uncover a history of racism, violence, and injustice in this young adult novel set in Australia. Beth Teller lost her life in a car accident, but her spirit remains tethered to her old life for reasons she can’t understand. She accompanies her detective father to investigate an arson case at a home for children and is shocked to discover that someone other than her father is able to communicate with her. Beth begins to dig into Isobel Catching’s life, curious to learn about why Isobel of all people can see her.

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Sometimes the friendships you make in college last a lifetime, but sometimes they don’t. Violet and Stella become besties early in their college careers, but as the years pass, a competitive edge undermines their closeness. Stella has always been the more privileged of the two, and Violet must work hard for every success she achieves. When the two women find themselves working at the same cable news channel, things get ugly. If your book club enjoys reading about and discussing frenemies, look no further than Necessary People.

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

Camera Cove was once renowned for its stunning landscape, but these days most people associate it with the Catalog Killer, who left four victims in his wake before disappearing. Without new leads, the trail went cold but 18-year-old Mac still can’t move on. He’s still grieving Connor, his friend and crush who was killed. When Mac finds a letter from Connor, written on the last night he was alive, he thinks it could lead him to more clues. We’ll zip our lips about the rest of this mystery, but know that Kirkus called the reveal “breathtakingly chilling” in a starred review. If your club enjoys putting on their detective hats, this is the book for you.

Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene

Jayson Greene’s memoir tells the story of the devastating loss of his two-year-old daughter, Greta, to an accident involving a falling brick in New York City. This book encompasses a lot of pain and grief, but also manages to point to a way forward for the author and his family as they face a different future from the one they’d imagined for themselves. If your book club is interested in the topic of grief, or if you’re looking to try out some nonfiction, Once More We Saw Stars is a great book to pick up this month.

Westside by W.M. Akers

Take your book club to an alternate 1920s Manhattan this month with Westside, which combines historical fiction with a paranormal mystery. Private investigator Gilda Carr lives on the Eastside, which is separated by a wall from the Westside, where thousands have vanished without a trace. Carr agrees to help a woman find her lost glove and instead finds herself following a thread that might lead her to the truth about what happened to her missing father. Corruption and conspiracies abound, and book clubs will find themselves eager to follow Carr wherever she may lead.

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