Five brilliant reads recommended for May

Reads to race through during the month of May, as chosen by Jennifer McShane. 

What Red Was by Rosie Price (Harvill Secker, approx €14.99), out May 9

Kate leaves her modest upbringing in rural Gloucestershire for university. There she meets charismatic Max Rippon, who’s from a privileged background.


Slowly, she’s drawn into the Rippon family’s world, becoming close to Max’s mother, Zara, a successful film director. Her world changes when she is sexually assaulted by someone close to home and finds herself trapped, trying to deal with the trauma. A powerful look at the ripple effects of assault.

The Den by Abi Maxwell (Tinder Press, approx €16.99), out May 16

This follows two differing timelines: 12-year-old Jane and her teenage sister Henrietta, whose father tells them the legend of the disappearance of the Ross family, who lived in a cottage in their woods in the 19th century. After a secret relationship with a local boy, Klaus, Henrietta disappears amid claims that Klaus caused a fire which burned down their family barn. Her disappearance interweaves with that of Elspeth, the mother in the Ross family legend.

Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty (HarperCollins, approx €12.99), out May 2

When Iris goes missing, her best friend Terry – a chronic worrier – is convinced something bad has happened. She’s right, but it isn’t what she expects. Things have changed, and now Iris is setting out on a once-in-a-lifetime journey – one she plans to make her last. Terry wants to stop her and does the only thing she can: goes with her. Together, Iris, Terry and Terry’s confused father Eugene start on a ferry across the Irish Sea and into an adventure that will change everything.


A Boy and his Dog at the End the World by CA Fletcher (Orbit, approx €13.99), out April 25

Griz lives with his family on an isolated island. There didn’t always used to be so few, but then the Gelding happened and the world – the human part of it – had turned barren and people stopped having kids. Dogs are the most precious – at least to Griz. Then a stranger steals their beloved dog, Jess. Griz sets off with the second family dog, Jip, determined to catch the thief.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (Serpent’s Tail, approx €14.99), out May 2

In their first term at a competitive performing arts high school, two students, Sarah and David, fall deeply in love. Their experience is heightened, thanks to Mr Kingsley, their magnetic and manipulative drama instructor. But, decades on, it turns out it wasn’t as idyllic as they’d been led to believe. As adults, they must come to terms with the reality that was darker than they might have ever imagined.


For more books to read this May, check out the May issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now.

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