Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! It’s Disability Pride Month, so what better time than now to add more books to your TBR, right? Especially books by #own-voices authors featuring disability representation because they are so overlooked among the others.
So today, here’s a blog post with some books by disabled authors to check out this month and year-long!
Note: Not all the books mentioned are by disabled authors, but I have done my level best to highlight all the authors who are disabled. If the books aren’t written by a disabled author, chances are the book revolves around a disabled main character/disability plays a huge role in the book. I have also tried to add in as many BIPOC reads by authors of colour, so there’s that too.
as long as the lemon trees grow by zoulfa katouh
Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She had a normal teenager’s life.
Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors daily. Secretly, though, she is desperate to find a way out of her beloved country before her sister-in-law, Layla, gives birth. So desperate, that she has manifested a physical embodiment of her fear in the form of her imagined companion, Khawf, who haunts her every move in an effort to keep her safe.
But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, Salama is torn between her loyalty to her country and her conviction to survive. Salama must contend with bullets and bombs, military assaults, and her shifting sense of morality before she might finally breathe free. And when she crosses paths with the boy she was supposed to meet one fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all.
Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are—not a war, but a revolution—and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.
rep: PTSD, arab characters
hell followed with us by andrew joseph white
Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
year of the tiger: an activist’s life by alice wong
From the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, and the editor of the acclaimed anthology Disability Visibility, a genre-bending memoir in essays offers a glimpse into an activist’s journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability rights.
In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its beauty and ferocity and symbolizes power, bravery, and protection. That same fighting spirit resides in Alice Wong.
Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique voice and talent to share a raw and multifaceted impressionistic collage of her life as an Asian American disability rights activist, community builder, and media maker. From her love of good food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to speaking out against the often complex and overlooked ways inequities and injustices play out in an ableist society, Alice tells her story and creates a space to hear from other disability activists through enriching conversations. From a world-class activist and storyteller, Alice’s Year of the Tiger offers humor and wisdom, and encourages us to do better.
rep: chronic illness, asian-american
moonwalking by zetta elliot and lyn miller-lachmann
For fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson, this middle-grade novel-in-verse follows two boys in 1980s Brooklyn as they become friends for a season.
Punk rock-loving JJ Pankowski can’t seem to fit in at his new school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as one of the only white kids. Pie Velez, a math and history geek by day and graffiti artist by night is eager to follow in his idol, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, footsteps. The boys stumble into an unlikely friendship, swapping notes on their love of music and art, which sees them through a difficult semester at school and at home. But a run-in with the cops threatens to unravel it all.
Moonwalking is a stunning exploration of class, cross-racial friendships, and two boys’ search for belonging in a city as tumultuous and beautiful as their hearts.
rep: autism, african-american
breath and count back from ten by natalia sylvester
Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her disability. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body. Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition. But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor. She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.
rep: chronic illness: hip dysplasia
a time to dance by padma venkatraman
Padma Venkatraman’s inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain her passion and find a new peace is told lyrically through verse that captures the beauty and mystery of India and the ancient bharatanatyam dance form. This is a stunning novel about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and above all, the courage and resilience of the human spirit.
Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.
rep: below-knee amputation, indian
death by society by sierra elmore
MEAN GIRLS meets IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY when two teenage girls’ worlds collide when one attempts suicide to avoid toxic popularity.
Carter Harper may have created an award-winning app and have a 3.93 GPA, but her successes are overshadowed by brutal bullying, depression, and loneliness. Tired of being treated as the popular girls’ plaything, Carter thinks her only choice is to die by suicide.
Abby Wallace is one of the most popular girls in school, subordinate only to Kelsey, her best friend with benefits. The ambitious poet destroys reputations without care to prove how cool, cruel, and strong she is, all while pushing down her past trauma and secret guilt.
Carter and Abby’s tumultuous relationship comes to a boiling point when Abby stops Carter from attempting suicide. But what happens when they have to protect one another from Kelsey’s harmful antics? If Carter and Abby can stand each other for more than three minutes, they can stop Kelsey from hurting more girls—and maybe become friends in the process.
In the tradition of Courtney Summers and Laurie Halse Anderson, DEATH BY SOCIETY questions how far we’ll go to gain power over our lives—and what happens when we use our voices for both good and to harm others.
rep: mental illness, black characters
one for all by lillie lainoff
An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.
Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.
Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.
With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.
This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.
rep: chronic illness: POTS
etta invincible by reese eschmann
A girl with hearing loss and a boy adjusting to life in a new country connect through their love of comics and get entangled in their own fantastical adventure.
Twelve-year-old Etta Johnson has Loud Days where she can hear just fine and Quiet Days where sounds come from far away and she gets to retreat into her thoughts. Etta spends most of her time alone, working on her comic book about Invisible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide and does all the things Etta thinks she can’t.But when Louisa May Alcott, a friendly Goldendoodle from across the street, disappears, Etta and the dog’s boy, Eleazar, must find their inner heroes to save her. The catch? LMA has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. On-board, they discover each train car is its own magical world with individual riddles and challenges that must be solved before they can reach the engine room and rescue LMA.
Only, the stakes are even higher than they thought. The train’s magic is malfunctioning and spreading a purple smoke called The Fear through the streets of Chicago. Etta and Eleazar are the only ones who can save the city, save Louisa May Alcott—and save each other.
rep: hearing disability, black mc
the book eaters by sunyi dean
Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.
Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories.
But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.
rep: author is autistic
the whispering dark by kelly andrew
The Raven Boys meets Ninth House in the most exciting debut of 2022 — a dark, atmospheric fantasy about a Deaf college student with a peculiar connection to the afterlife.
Delaney Meyers-Petrov is tired of being seen as fragile just because she’s Deaf. So when she’s accepted into a prestigious program at Godbole University that trains students to slip between parallel worlds, she’s excited for the chance to prove herself. But her semester gets off to a rocky start as she faces professors who won’t accommodate her disability, and a pretentious upperclassman fascinated by Delaney’s unusual talents.
Colton Price died when he was nine years old. Quite impossibly, he woke several weeks later at the feet of a green-eyed little girl. Now, twelve years later, Delaney Meyers-Petrov has stumbled back into his orbit, but Colton’s been ordered to keep far away from the new girl… and the voices she hears calling to her from the shadows.
Delaney wants to keep her distance from Colton — she seems to be the only person on campus who finds him more arrogant than charming — yet after a Godbole student turns up dead, she and Colton are forced to form a tenuous alliance, plummeting down a rabbit-hole of deeply buried university secrets. But Delaney and Colton discover the cost of opening the doors between worlds when they find themselves up against something old and nameless, an enemy they need to destroy before it tears them — and their forbidden partnership — apart.
rep: hearing disability
the sound of stars by alechia dow
Don’t miss this spectacular debut novel… Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity? This road trip is truly out of this world! A beautiful and thrilling read for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth.
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for the love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
rep: hypothyroidism, biracial mc
kiki kallira breaks a kingdom by sangu mandanna
A rich fantasy-adventure that sees a girl’s drawings of Indian mythology spring to vivid life—including the evil god who seeks to enter the real world and destroy it.
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years.
One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds—the real and the imagined—from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?
rep: OCD, british-indian
you, me and our heartstrings by melissa see
Daisy and Noah have the same plan: use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition. But when they’re chosen to play a duet for the concert, they worry that their differences will sink their chances.
Noah, a cello prodigy from a long line of musicians, wants to stick to tradition. Daisy, a fiercely independent disabled violinist, is used to fighting for what she wants and likes to take risks. But the two surprise each other when they play. They fall perfectly in tune.
After their performance goes viral, the rest of the country falls for them just as surely as they’re falling for each other. But viral fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No one seems to care about their talent or their music at all. People have rewritten their love story into one where Daisy is an inspiration for overcoming her cerebral palsy and Noah is a saint for seeing past it.
Daisy is tired of her disability being the only thing people see about her, and all of the attention sends Noah’s anxiety disorder into high speed. They can see their dream coming closer than it’s ever been before. But is the cost suddenly too high?
rep: cerebral palsy, anxiety
the moth girl by heather kamins
Anna is a regular teenaged girl. She runs track with her best friend, gets good grades, and sometimes drinks beer at parties.
But one day at track practice, Anna falls unconscious . . . but instead of falling down, she falls up, defying gravity in the disturbing first symptom of a mysterious disease.
This begins a series of trips to the hospital that soon become Anna’s norm. She’s diagnosed with lepidopsy: a rare illness that causes symptoms reminiscent of moths: floating, attraction to light, a craving for sugar, and for an unlucky few, more dangerous physical manifestations.
Anna’s world is turned upside down, and as she learns to cope with her illness, she finds herself drifting further and further away from her former life. Her friends don’t seem to understand, running track is out of the question, and the other kids at the disease clinic she attends once a week are a cruel reminder that things will never be the same.
From debut author Heather Kamins comes a beautiful and evocative story about one girl’s journey of choosing who she wants to be–in a life she never planned for.
rep: chronic illness: lepidopsy
the theft of sunlight by intisar khanani
I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.
Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.
Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.
rep: clubfoot, muslim author
monsters born and made by tanvi berwah
She grew up battling the monsters that live in the black seas, but it couldn’t prepare her to face the cunning cruelty of the ruling elite.
Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.
In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they’re lucky―survive.
When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders―including her ex-boyfriend―who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When a rebellion rises and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose―her life or her sister’s―before the whole island burns.
Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Fable, this South Asian-inspired fantasy is a gripping debut about the power of the elite, the price of glory, and one girl’s chance to change it all.
rep: bipolar disorder, south asian
every variable of us by charles a. bush
After Philly teenager Alexis Duncan is injured in a gang shooting, her dreams of a college scholarship and pro basketball career vanish in an instant. To avoid becoming another Black teen trapped in her poverty-stricken neighborhood, she shifts her focus to the school’s STEM team, a group of self-professed nerds seeking their own college scholarships.
Academics have never been her thing, but Alexis is freshly motivated by Aamani Chakrabarti, the new Indian student who becomes her friend (and crush?). Alexis begins to see herself as so much more than an athlete. But just as her future starts to reform, Alexis’s own doubts and old loyalties pull her back into harm’s way.
rep: neurodivergent, black and indian mcs
beauty and the besharam by lillie vale
Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka.
Seventeen-year-old, high-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she’s a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam.
So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya’s very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low and spend the summer doing what she loves best–working part time playing princess roles for childrens’ birthday parties. But her plan is shot when she’s cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, and learns that Ian will be her Prince Eric for the summer. [Cue the combative banter.]
Exhausted by Kavya and Ian’s years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges throughout the summer. Kavya is only too eager to finally be declared the winner. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn.
rep: mental illnes, diverse cast of characters
And that’s the end of the list!
Hope you enjoyed reading this post, and comment down which books you’ve read or are planning to read. Also, feel free to recommend other disability book that I’ve missed in the list, and I’ll be sure to check them out.
14 thoughts on “15+ Books to Read by Disabled Authors this July and Beyond”
[…] Queenie @ The Erudite Labyrinth compiled a 15+ list of books to read by disabled authors to celebrate Disability Pride month […]
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[…] pretty good number of posts last month and I’m proud of it! My favourite one’s gotta be Disability Books to Read This July and Beyond which highlights a lot of amazing books featuring disabled […]
Thank you so much for those!!
Severals are on my list already, but I added the moth girl (gorgeous cover!!!) aswell as death by society.
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glad you enjoyed, i had a lot of fun writing this post too, all the books here are equally amazing!!
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this is such a great collection!! and one for all was such an amazing retelling of three musketeers 😭 loved it.
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ADORE the list, loveee the blog
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ahhh i LOVE this list, and seriously need to check some of these out!!! I have to get to finishing one for all soon, it seems FANTASTIC!! ❤
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AHHHHH I LOVE THIS LIST SO MUCH AND AM READY TO BASICALLY GIVE YOU THE ENTIRE WORLD AS THANK YOUU FOR IT IF I ACTUALLY HAD THE WORLD OK?? it’s PERFECTION AND I AM OBSESSED?? also am in desperate need of all the books asap EXCUSE ME WHILE I JUST GO ADD THEM ALL TO MY TBR AND THEN PROCEED TO DEVOUR THEM ALL 😭😭 also i had no idea hell followed with us has autism rep, BUT AM NOW EVEN MORE DESPERATE TO READ IT THANK YOUUUU!!
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omg, thanks a lot anoushka! im so glad you enjoyed reading this post, im very excited to check out some of the books on this list as well!! ❤️
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Excellent list! I am going to add many of these to my TBR.
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Thank you! Hope you enjoy reading them!! ❤
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