Disabilities in YA 2016 discussion

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Name your top books with disabled characters here!

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message 1: by Katie (last edited Jul 20, 2016 08:22AM) (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
I would love to hear some books that you've read that you feel have good disability representation, feel free to name your favourites below!


message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah As I mentioned before on tumblr Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is great and it involved the disability in a very positive way to make it a fantasy novel!

(Also it involves a bi disabled female main character and poc I thought, though I don't know this for sure, male main character)


message 3: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Shettle | 3 comments In Otherbound, the male main character is a straight Latino male with a prosthetic leg. I enjoy Otherbound also.

Other books I've liked: "Hurt Go Happy" by Ginny Rorby, with a deaf main character who is trying to learn sign language against her mother's wishes. As a deaf reader I endorse this book! Five Flavors of Dumb (which also has a deaf character) is also fine. For younger readers (maybe 8 to 12), the whole Deaf Crossings trilogy by Marlee Matlin is great.

I find a lot of my books with disability representation via http://DisabilityinKidLit.com which has reviews by readers sharing the same disability as the character they read (I've written two reviews for them as a deaf reader). They also have a Tumblr at http://disabilityinkidlit.tumblr.com

There is also a Facebook group for people talking about disabled representation in all kinds of media--books, movies, TV, comics, whatever, it's called DisaBookAbility: https://www.facebook.com/groups/21395...
This is a "closed group" which means you need to ask for a moderator to add you, they add basically anyone who asks so mostly this just means you need to wait for them to add you before you can start participating or reading what others are saying in the group.


message 4: by Sucre (new)

Sucre (fishbabe) Far From You by Tess Sharpe is one of my all-time favorite books and the main character has a disability caused by a car accident. She also deals with drug addiction. She has a limp and chronic pain, and I felt like it was handled so well and realistically. I honestly felt such a connection to the main character as it talked about her anxiety with being in cars after the accident, something I have dealt with after my own near-fatal car accident. Her struggles with being young and not being able to physically do as much as her peers was also handled very well and realistically!

The main plot is about the main chara trying to find who murdered her best friend/almost-girlfriend (she's bi! another point for this amazing book) and dealing with being blamed for the girl's death despite being clean and sober at the time. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone!


message 5: by Priya (new)

Priya Sridhar | 1 comments Otherbound is a given for a favorite book. It's beautifully written, does NOT have a cure narrative, and accurately covers the problems of trying to treat seizures from the parents' POV.

I also like Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants, where the hero has a limp from a tree-cutting accident and manages to stop the Giants from invading Asgard.


message 6: by Katie (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
@Priya I've heard so many great things about Otherbound, I'll definitely be picking it up.

@Sascha Far From You sounds really interesting. I haven't read many books about people suffering from chronic pain (which I do) so I'd love to give it a go. I've found, so far, with authors writing about disabled people they find it hard to find that balance between independence and disability. They want their character to be a strong, 'I don't need any help' kind of person, but so often that isn't the case with real disability, though we all want independence we also need the help occasionally. When authors get the balance right (along with the frustration) that's really special and touching.

@Andrea I really wanted to read Five Flavors of Dumb for this but Amazon just went out of stock, and I can't find it elsewhere. I will be picking it up soon anyway. I hadn't heard of Hurt Go Lucky, but I'll definitely go check it out.

I've only recently discovered Disabilityinkidlit on tumblr, but I really admire their work. I've been working my way through the recommendations, and I've found a few already I've added to my TBR wishlist.

I'll go and join the facebook group, thanks for the recommendation.

Because everyone has such great recommendations, does anyone know of a book about a person with mobility issues from a condition they were born with? That's quite a specific ask, and I don't really mind if I don't find one, but it just occurred to me I've never seen a book about someone with juvenile arthritis like I do, so maybe that's something to look out for.


message 7: by Nic (new)

Nic | 3 comments Bone Gap by Laura Ruby was a good one, featuring a disability I hadn't seen portrayed in a book before. I can't actually say what it is without spoilers - sorry! The character takes a long time to get an (informal) diagnosis, and it's kind of a big deal when they figure it out.

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith is a cool book where the protagonist has epilepsy caused by a childhood injury.

I really like the portrayal of the deaf supporting character, Hearthstone, in Rick Riordan's The Sword of Summer. How often do you see a deaf elf? It's not perfect - Hearthstone is a mage, and is occasionally able to use magic to speak directly into people's heads, which seems like it kind of negates the portrayal of his disability, and he also reads lips with an astounding precision (though it is mentioned that he has trouble reading lips when the person has a beard, etc., so that's cool). But I love the book and this character anyway.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert is a gorgeous book where the protagonist is recovering from an eating disorder while also dealing with the fact that her best friend, who was kidnapped years ago, has just returned.

The Returning by Christine Hinwood is a beautiful literary YA fantasy, and one of the protagonists has just returned from a war where he lost his arm. He has probably the most focused-on and interesting arc in the book.

The protagonist of the awesome fantasy Eon: Dragoneye Reborn has a disability resulting from a childhood injury, and the book has at least one other interesting character with a disability, too.

And since the original question doesn't actually say YA, I'm going to sneak in just one non-YA book that features one of my favorite disabled protagonists ever: The King's General by Daphne du Maurier. It's historical fiction set during the English civil war, and the protagonist is paraplegic after a horseback-riding accident. The book is realistic about the things she can and can't do - she gets help moving around, etc. - but she also hides fugitives and saves lives, defends family and friends, spars with a bitter rival, and conducts a sweeping love affair with the Royalists' most notorious general. Such a great book!


message 8: by Alexis (new)

Alexis Stankewitz | 1 comments i would say my favorite book is definitely "petey" by Ben Mikealson (i don't think I spelled his name right at all) it's about a guy with CP growing up in a asylum in the 1920. I guess it's more categorized as a Children's book but it's still my favorite. This year I read "Love Blind" by C. Desir,which is about a protagonist that is in a band and is slowly going blind. (the author perfectly described the trauma of Eye doctor appointments.) The love Interest has social anxiety, I believe as well. I also liked "Say What You Will" by Cammie Mcgovern. main protag as cp and is trying to get independence in order to go to collage.(Love Interest has OCD.)


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