10 Must Read Books Featuring People with Disability
As January marks the beginning of the yearly Good Reads challenge, a goal to read a set number of books in a year, we have collected our favourite 10 books which feature a person with disability as one of the main characters.
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary – NoNieqa Ramos
Macy Cashmere is fifteen years old and according to her school, teachers, and family – emotionally disturbed. This novel follows Macy as she navigates her turbulent home life with a father in prison, a brother taken away by Child Protective Services and an inconsistent mother. The book explores Macy’s own experiences and inner voice and slowly uncovers that she has a psychological, potentially neurological, disorder that impacts her daily life and the relationships with her best friend and family.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee
Set in a historical 17th century Europe, this Young Adult novel follows Henry “Monty” Montague, an aristocrat who does not want to be tamed. As a last hurrah before his looming responsibilities as a lord, he embarks on a grand tour of Europe with his best friend, and crush, Percy, who lives with epilepsy.
Love from A to Z – S.K Ali
This novel follows Zayneb, the only Muslim in her school, who is suspended after confronting her teacher. After he starts investigating her activist friends, Zayneb decides to visit her aunt in Qatar for an early start to her spring break. Fuelled by the realisation and guilt that she put her friends in trouble, she embarks on a journey to become a kinder version of herself. Then she meets Adam, who was just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, something he has decided to keep a secret from his dad who is grieving the recent death of his mother.
How we Roll – Natasha Friend
Quinn is a typical teenage girl who loves her family, skateboarding, basketball, and her friends. But, after she is diagnosed with alopecia, a condition which causes hair loss, her friends abandon her.
She meets Jake, a former football star who just lost both his legs after an accident caused by his brother. While Jake might have lost his football career, and Quinn her friends they again find their confidence in each other and maybe even love.
Say What You Will – Cammie McGovern
Amy, who has Cerebral palsy, is just starting her final year of high school. As she has trouble speaking and walking, she hires a student aid as a carer, Matthew, who has severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. The two quickly learn that they have more in common than initially thought, and their friendship quickly develops into something much more.
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens – Marieke Nijkamp (ed)
This anthology features a wide range of characters with disability in 13 different short stories from authors such as Keplinger, Stork, and Duyvis named above, but also Heidi Heilig, Dhonielle Clayton, Kayla Whaley, and more.
Growing up Disabled in Australia – Carly Findlay (ed)
In this upcoming book, set for release in February 2021, over 40 different writers highlight their own unique and personal childhood experiences and how they felt growing up with a disability in Australia.
Two Mates – Melanie Prewett
Set in Broome and inspired by the author’s son, this novel follows the close friendship of two young boys, Raf and Jack, who search for hermit crabs, fish for salmon, explore the markets, eat satays and dress up as superheroes. Only at the end does the reader learn that Raf has Spina Bifida.
Can You See Me? – Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott
Based on the real diary entries from when author Libby Scott was 11 years old, this pioneering book has been celebrated for its realistic portrayal of autism. The reader follows Tally, an 11-year-old who is just like her friends, or rather, sometimes when she tries hard to be. Tally’s autism means some things bother her even though she wishes they did not. It means that some people misunderstand her and feel frustrated by her.
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly simple life but cannot seem to hold down a steady job. She takes a badly needed job as the carer of Will Traynor who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived an excitement-filled life – think extreme sports and world-wide travel – and now he is not sure he can carry on living the way he is. When Lou learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.