Disabilities in YA 2016 discussion

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
Have a book you like with a disabled protagonist? Name it below, include the authors name, and a bit about what disability the character has, and then I'll add it to the list of suggested reads for YA in disability 2016.

message 2: by Monika (new)

Monika B (booksnrambles) It's Kind of a Funny Story
(mental illness, depression)

The Antagonists: Book One
This one isn't that well known but I read an amazing post about it on tumblr and have wanted to read it since then. It's about a girl in a wheelchair who dreams of being a superhero.

It's about conjoined twins :O

All the Light We Cannot See
(blind protag) This has been on my TBR foreverrrr but the size kinda intimidates me.

I went through a bunch of recommendations lists on tumblr but most of the books on those lists are about the caretakers and not the disabled people themselves :( These are the ones that have a lot of great reviews and were already on my to-read on goodreads.

message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
Thanks!!! That's really helpful! I'm hoping to have the list up tomorrow (it's actually pretty long so far, I'm just looking for more variety!)

Thanks again!

message 4: by Mbee (new)

Mbee I believe Not If I See You First has a blind protagonist. I already have it on my TBR list and I'll read it for the discussion as well as Tone Deaf (which I'm currently reading!)

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
That's great! My list is quite deaf heavy, which is something I wasn't expecting when I started it- has anyone else noticed this trend in YA? (But the more books with disabled characters, the merrier!)

Tone deaf has had such great reviews, I hope you like it!

message 6: by Kaiti (new)

Kaiti | 1 comments Harmonic Feedback has a death protagonist and is on my to be read list. I also have recently read the perks of being a wallflower, and the protagonist there has mental illness. All the light we cannot see has already been mentioned but is also one I plan to read soon. And, although it is not young adult fiction, the song of ice and fire series has a character Who sustains a spinal cord injury from a fall very early in the first book. Sorry if that doesn't quite fit, but I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan too.

message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie (city-of-fiction) | 23 comments Mod
I'm fine with any book that shows disabled characters!

I was recently thinking how though I've never seen anyone post or mention that a character in the Throne of Glass books is disabled, she has a deformed leg after breaking it badly and walks with a permanent limp. I guess people don't tend to think of fantasy books when they think of disabled fiction, but I loved that a girl with a limp could be so badass, and found ways to work around her disability so she could still do everything she could, because I had a very bad limp for years of my life and it always felt like everyone was staring at me.

I think one of the problems with fantasy, however, is that it can lead to unrealistic expectations of disabled characters. Like its a fantasy book, the author can do whatever- they could magically cure them or have them complete unrealistic stunts- and I think that's what makes fantasy with disability hard to get on with from a 'is it a positive representation of disabled people' view.

Anyway, maybe that's a discussion for the big discussion on the 21st!

message 8: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Shettle | 3 comments As a deaf reader, I loved "Hurt Go Happy" by Ginny Rorby. "Five Flavors of Dumb", already on your list, is fine. I also loved Silent Starsong by T.J. Wooldridge (features a young deaf girl who befriends a little alien)

I don't think that "unrealistic expectations of disabled characters" has to be an inevitable or inherent aspect of writing in fantasy, it all comes down to how the author handles the disability. You can find "unrealistic expectations" for how disability actually works in "realistic" fiction too--for example, the way that the disabled character was cured in The Secret Garden, or the way that SOOOOOO many deaf characters in fiction can basically lipread through walls and around corners and in the dark and other situations that are just not realistic or that otherwise make it look like lipreading is easy when it's actually enormously difficult and is NEVER complete and precise. I do think that a fantasy or sci fi setting can increase the temptation for authors to erase the disability by the end of the book just because there are more "in-universe-believable" options for doing it (by "in-universe believable" I mean "believable" by the rules of how things work in the fantasy or sci fi setting)

Other books featuring disabled characters: The Antagonists series by Burgandi Rakoska (independently published, black woman who uses a wheelchair); A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman (an eastern Indian young woman who loses her leg and returns to her passion of dancing); The Real Boy, by Anne Ursu (fantasy, the boy is coded to be read as autistic though the label isn't used, recommended by an autistic reader at the DisabilityinKidLit.com blog); Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor (a girl from Nigeria who has albinism); To Stand in the Light, by Kayla Bashe (a main character is diagnosed part way through with two different neurodivergent disabilities--I'm not sure if I should say which since that would be essentially a spoiler, but I share one of the disabilities and loved it. The other main character also I think arguably has depression and PTSD.); Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachann (autistic girl, recommended by an autistic reader at DisabilityinKidLit); Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (girl who is later diagnosed with dyslexia); Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly (character is autistic and has ADHD, reviewed from the autistic perspective at DisabilityinKidLit); El Deafo, by Cece Bell (a graphic novel based on the real life experiences of the author growing up as a deaf girl).

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