I’m pleased to say I had more than five titles for this list. Books I’ve already read or that are on my TBR pile, where physical and/or mental disabilities are represented. Though I can only speak on one of these books in terms of accuracy of said respective representation, I personally found the ones I read of this list informative and I’m looking forward to reading the two I have not.
The top five books with disability representation, on and off my to be read pile, are:
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
Valencia, one of the narrators in Hello, Universe, is deaf and has a hearing aid. Throughout the book, there are several scenarios where she has to advocate for herself. One such example is telling people to look directly at her when they address her. There are also the other smaller annoyances of having a hearing aid, like trying to hear someone over a hum. Valencia provided insight to the daily struggles of living with a hearing aid.
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Will Porter was born blind and has accepted it, until he gets a chance to participate in an experimental surgery where he could gain his sight. His mom initially goes over his head to make him get the surgery and his dad is overprotective. On top of that, there are the other typical bumps that come along with being blind. Such examples are people being overly helpful and occasionally taking advantage of his blindness. But Will is levelheaded and has a good sense of humor when dealing with all of it.
Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Having a family member on the autism spectrum, I can personally attest to the representation in Things I Should Have Known. There are certain situations the characters get into that I know happen in real life. While I found the overall book somewhat dry, the main character’s sister’s behavior was true to life. Such as becoming overwhelmed quickly when things go off schedule and being unable to understand social cues. Plus, there is a reason it is called the autism spectrum, because it varies so much across the scale and the book shows that, too.
You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
One of the books I haven’t read yet, You’re Welcome, Universe follows Julia, a deaf girl forced to transfer to a mainstream high school after being expelled from her school for the deaf. Throughout the book, she uses her talent for graffiti art to cope with the situation and gets into a rivalry with another graffiti artist. I picked You’re Welcome, Universe up a few times since the summer, looking to read more diverse young adult contemporary novels. Only I kept putting it back on my shelves, intending to read later.
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle
I found The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by chance at Barnes and Noble. A boy with Asperger’s syndrome and a girl with ADHD who meet in detention and bond over their love of an obscure medieval text. It’s one of those books I ask myself why I have not read it yet. And I have not heard anyone else talk about it, either.
What’s a book you think has the best disability representation?