More Books We Like

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Books We Like

Published 5/18/2023 by Madison Howell

For this post, we have a selection of reads that feature women with disabilities. There’s a wide range of genres here, from autobiography to horror, all featuring female main characters with a wide range of different disabilities. The list I’ve compiled is only the tip of the iceberg of great literature with disability representation, and I highly encourage you to dive deeper after looking at this list.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown, a computer nerd with fibromyalgia, suddenly rethinks her life after almost getting hit by a car. She makes a list of seven things to do to “get a life,” the first of which she completes after moving out of her family’s mansion into an apartment. There, she meets her new superintendent, the part-time artist, and part-time handyman Redford ‘Red’ Morgan. This is the first book in the Brown Sisters Trilogy, where each of the Brown sisters get their own romcom romance. This book does have spicy scenes though, so fair warning.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
In 2015, the Atargatis, a research vessel on a voyage into the Mariana Trench searching for mermaids, disappeared off the map. Seven years later, the Melusine is sent to search for answers; both to save the company who sent it as well as prove that the footage that was found in its wake was true. The novel features multiple characters with disabilities, such as an autistic news personality, a physically disabled representative of the company, and deaf identical twins who all set sail on the voyage. This is a great sci-fi/horror novel that is absolute nightmare fuel for any of us who are terrified of what’s in the ocean (me, I’m the one who’s scared).

True Biz by Sara Novic
At the River Valley School for the Deaf, students and teachers alike struggle to make it through the school year without politicians, doctors, and parents telling them what they can and can’t do. The novel follows three main characters: Austin, whose family are all proudly deaf and is shocked when his sister is born hearing, Charlie, a transfer student with a cochlear implant who’s never been taught ASL, and February, the school’s headmistress who is struggling to keep the school open and her marriage together. This is partly a coming-of-age story and partly a story of civil rights, while acting as a love letter to the deaf community.

Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
Set in the 1940’s, Willowjean ‘Will’ Parker, a circus runaway, has just saved the life of Lillian Pentecost, New York’s best private detective. Days later, Lillian propositions Will to be her new partner, as Lillian’s multiple sclerosis makes it impossible to keep up with her old caseload. Three years after they team up, they are summoned by to investigate the death of Abigail Collins, who many believe was murdered by the spirit of her dead husband. Though there are romantic elements, it isn’t a romance-centered novel by any means. The friendship between Will and Lillian is a lot of fun and this is sure to hit all the checkmarks for those who love a good cozy mystery, especially since this is the first in a series.

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig
Author, teacher, and advocate Rebekah Taussig was paralyzed when she was three years old and has used a wheelchair ever since. Growing up disabled in the 90s and early 2000s, she never saw people with disabilities depicted as normal people. This book is essentially a memoir comprised of essays on her personal experience as a person with a disability. For those who want to learn more about her, Rebekah has a website detailing her life as a “writer, teacher, advocate, and human lady person.”

If these didn’t pique your interest, here are a few more picks:

Borderline by Mishell Baker
After a suicide attempt, Millie loses her career in filmmaking, both of her legs, and is currently residing in a psychiatric hospital after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project, a group of disabled people who police the Fae’s traffic between their world and ours. This is the first novel in the Arcadia Project series.

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally by Emily Ladau
This is a great non-fiction read for able-bodied people to better understand and advocate for the disabled community. This resource was written by disability advocates in order to help make the world a more inclusive place for everyone.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
This novel is intended for younger readers, but is still fantastic. It’s a great middle-grade read about Aven, a young girl born without arms, and Connor, a boy at her school with Tourette's syndrome.