By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson
The beginning of May has shown the uncertainty of the book charts with big names like It Ends With Us and The Thursday Murder Club moving down to make room for new releases.
Replacing these titles in the Amazon charts is the new David Walliams book: The World’s Worst Pets. Walliams is a ‘million-copy best selling author’ which explains his high rank in the charts this month, at number five (Amazon). Bella Mackie is at number twelve with her novel How To Kill Your Family. Mackie has moved up the charts a whole eight places after being there for five weeks. Her novel has been described as “funny, sharp, dark and twisted” by fellow bestselling author Jojo Moyes (Amazon). Lastly, Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss has crept into the charts at number nineteen. Mason’s novel is now an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.
Alice Oseman has taken over the Waterstones’ bestselling books chart with Heartstopper, taking numbers three and six and Nick and Charlie — A Heartstopper novella at number ten. Oseman also rounds out the top thirty on the list with Solitaire and Loveless at numbers twenty-six and twenty-seven respectively. Waterstones’ Thriller of the Month for May 2022, The Khan by Saima Mir, sits at number eight. This is Mir’s debut novel (published by Oneworld Publications) and has been longlisted for the Jhalak Price for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour 2022. “Following a young British-Asian lawyer who’s broken away from her family’s criminal background after her father’s murder, The Khan is a gripping and multifaceted crime thriller that explores the meaning of community and justice with breathtaking dexterity.” (Waterstones).
At number seven in the WH Smith chart is Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena. This thriller about family secrets takes place after the brutal murder of an elderly couple, whose grandchildren are set to inherit huge sums of money. Continuing the theme of family, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new novel Malibu Rising is currently at number nine in the charts. This is unsurprising considering the success of her previous works, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six. Set in the 80s, the story follows the run up to and the events of a famous family’s summer party that ends in chaos. Booker-prize winning author Douglas Stuart is at number ten with his new novel, Young Mungo, an LGBTQ+ love story against the backdrop of a working-class community in Glasgow. Stuart raises issues concerning masculinity, violence and sexuality as he portrays characters that should be enemies forming a connection.
Onto social media, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak is receiving notice on TikTok. Shortlisted for both the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Costa Novel Award, Shafak looks at how family secrets affect generations when it comes to identity and love, and follows Kostas as she tries to unravel the past of her parents. David Diop’s At Night All Blood Is Black is also gaining attention. Diop follows a story of two Senegalese soldiers and the all-consuming desire for revenge when one of them is killed at war. Examining human motive for violence and soldier mentality, this heartbreaking novel is a tear-jerker.
This month has shown the power of social media and how one Netflix series can change the book charts. All four volumes of Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series are dominating the charts this month, along with her novella Nick and Charlie. Heartstopper won the hearts of many over lockdown and has gained its own series on Netflix. The show has brought Heartstopper (book) a whole new audience, with many praising it for its light and almost cheesy way of presenting LGBTQ+ teens as opposed to the trauma and upset that usually comes hand in hand with LGBTQ+ storylines. One of the stars of the show, Kit Connor, spoke on This Morning about how the show has allowed some watchers to come out to their families which truly shows the power of Oseman’s story and how Heartstopper deserves the attention it’s getting.
The young adult legend Stephanie Garber is our author of the month. Garber’s debut novel Caraval was released in 2017, with Legendary and Finale completing the trilogy. The series has received mixed reviews but that hasn’t stopped fans sharing their love for the series on social media nor Caraval from being picked up by 20th Century Fox for a movie adaptation called Heart Made of Black. With the release of Once Upon a Broken Heart, Garber’s popularity has skyrocketed. Exclusive editions of the massively popular book have been made by Fairyloot, Barnes & Noble, Goldsboro and Waterstones. With the impending release of the sequel The Ballad of Never After, paperback special editions of Once Upon a Broken Heart are being released by Barnes & Noble and Waterstones.