13 new YA releases that belong on your May reading list

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books /
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Pumpkin by Julie Murphy. Image courtesy HarperCollins
Pumpkin by Julie Murphy. Image courtesy HarperCollins /

May 2021 release: Pumpkin – Julie Murphy

Return to the beloved world of Julie Murphy’s #1 New York Times bestselling Dumplin’in this fabulously joyful, final companion novel about drag, prom, and embracing your inner Queen.

Pumpkin follows the story of Waylon “Pumpkin” Brewer, a fat, openly gay boy stuck living in a small West Texas town. And things only get messier when Waylon’s not really serious video entry for his favorite drag queen reality series is accidentally shared on social media rather than just posted to the school’s private queer club. Nominated for Prom King as a joke, Wayno

A story of friendship, self-acceptance, and opening oneself up to those who’ve been right there next to you all along, Pumpkin is fun, nuanced, and utterly heartwarming.

The official synopsis describes the story as follows.

"Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon, so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth. So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape accidentally getting shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king. Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson. Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . ."

Pumpkin is available on May 25. 

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What are you putting on your must-read list this May? Sound off in the comments.