May 2022’s set of recommendations for book clubs features eight titles that include a dangerous and magical quest, a tense cat and mouse manhunt, a medical mystery, an uplifting story of lasting friendship, a rollercoaster slice of Hollywood, a highly convincing AI moral maze, the 2020s’ answer to Adrian Mole and a surefire runaway TikTok teen bestseller. May 2022’s picks include titles by Claire Mulligan, Casey McQuiston, Alex Barclay, Sophie Cameron, Eloise Smith, Yomi Adegoke, Elizabeth Uviebinené, Hafiza Radiya and Yarrow Townsend.
May 2022 book club recommendations
Rumaysa Ever After by Radiya Hafiza
This enchanting novel-length fairy tale draws on traditional elements to spin an unforgettable and richly woven story of magic, danger and adventure. While Rumaysa search for her long lost parents, a carriage appears to take her to see the Queen of Bishnara. But all is not as it seems and winged beasts and witches await. Split into 3 parts with beautiful illustrations and 17 short chapters overall, this is an ideal book for children in upper KS2 to read aloud and discuss in book clubs over 8 or 9 weeks.
The Hunt For David Berman by Claire Mulligan
Set in WW2, Robert is evacuated to a remote Scottish farm to live with his grandparents. But unbeknown to him, hidden in his suitcase is a secret codebook, and it’s so important Nazi agents will kill for it. The plot moves with purpose and conviction and the 29 thrilling short chapters make this book ideal for reading aloud to a KS2 class each day over half a term.
9-11 year olds | Author’s publisher
The Map of Leaves by Yarrow Townsend
When mysterious illnesses strike and people get sick, the plants are suspected and threatened with destruction. But Orla knows some of their secrets and determined to solve the mystery, she steals a boat, armed with her mother’s book of knowledge. With rich language, atmospheric descriptions, and a highly realised and evocative fantasy world where plants can talk and solutions lie within nature, this book is perfect to elicit discussion in years 5&6. Also, it may well inspire children to be more protective of wild spaces and spark an interest in medical science.
The Offline Diaries by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené
Ade isn’t happy about having to move, she isn’t happy about starting a new school and she’s not happy about her annoying brother. But then she meets another Year 8 girl – Shanice and a sparkling friendship is formed. Comprised of an addictive tranche of diary entries, social media messages, cartoon illustrations and innermost thoughts, this is a captivating glimpse into real friendship and one that’s bound to appeal to pupils in years 6-8.
Sister to a Star by Eloise Smith
Twin sisters Evie and Tallulah could not be more different. Tallulah is determined to become a movie star, whereas Evie’s life revolves around fencing. Their two worlds collide when Evie becomes a sword-wielding stunt double for her sister’s star role. But then she goes missing in strange circumstances. With rapier-like dialogue and fast-moving scenes, this middle-grade novel has a plot that lunges and twists with excitement and surprise. It’s perfect for older KS2 and KS3 pupils who want an easier read filled with glamour, dreams, rivalry and Hollywood.
Our Sister Again by Sophie Cameron
Isla misses her older sister Flora, who died three years previously, enormously. So when an artificial intelligence firm called ‘Second Chances’ offers to recreate Flora by using her past internet history, her family jumps at the chance. In fact, the whole island turns out to attend Flora’s return. However, suspicion and unease soon grip the community and Isla is forced to make difficult choices. This highly believable novel set in a close-knit Scottish community is a more challenging read for KS3 and KS4 book clubs. There’s a lot to discuss and debate here including the long-lasting effects of digital footprints, our right to privacy, and moral dilemmas regarding the role of AI, sentience, and how the human race deals with the loss of loved ones. Highly recommended for students in KS3 and KS4.
10-14-year-olds | Author’s publisher
My Heart & Other Breakables by Alex Barclay
16-year-old Ellery Brown’s life is told through 12 tumultuous months of diary entries. Revealing how she feels about the loss of her mom, and working out which of three people might be her dad, she shows readers that she is determined to break free from negativity and lead an incredible life. Unerringly surprising and contemporary, this powerful, funny and memorable novel will appeal to children in KS3 and KS4.
12+ year olds | Author’s Twitter
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
When Shara Wheeler vanishes into thin air, it turns out she kissed several people before disappearing. And any one of them might hold the answer to the perplexing series of cryptic clues to her whereabouts. This deep dive into American high school culture features a plot more animated than a TikTok filter and dialogue sharper than your average boxcutter. Teens in KS3 and KS4 will be captivated by this clever YA novel – it’s an addictive and guilty pleasure to read in one sitting.
Themed day / social media opportunities for May 2022
These hashtag days might provide current and relevant talking points for secondary aged pupils aged 13+ in KS3, KS4 and KS5, especially when linked to related literature.
- Mental health awareness week
- #World Baking Day 2022
- International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia #IDAHOT 2022
- National Vegetarian Week 2022
- #RelativesDay 2022
- #ThankATeacherDay – thank your teachers, especially the ones who recommend great books!
- Have a look at our writing competitions for May 2022.
Other recently released titles to have a look at:
- Our latest May 2022 books of the month.
- Our rundown of the best books coming out in spring 2022.
- Our May 2022 books of the day on Twitter.
- Our guide on how to run a school book club, which covers both primary school book clubs and secondary school book clubs.
Click the button below to buy all this month’s recommended book club titles, or class sets of any of these books, from Bookshop.org UK.