Hello bookworms!! April 2nd is World Autism Day, and so today I’ll be sharing some books about autism by own voices authors.
Autism is a neurodiverse condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. Autism is a lifelong condition, although some people are not diagnosed when they are young. Every Autistic person is different to every other, and this is why autism is described as a ‘spectrum’.
If you are looking for more resources or supports on Autism, please see the following links for your country*:
- Australia: Autism Awareness Australia
- UK: National Autistic Society
- USA: Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) (plus more option below in a comment from Julie)
- Canada: Autism Canada
* These 4 countries are my top 4 engagement countries, which is why I have picked them.
own voices books about autism
As with most diversity groups, it’s important to read own voices authors to understand concepts and ensure you get a realistic view from someone who has these life experiences. In saying that, it is not up to us as readers to ‘out’ or call for authors who have not publicly stated their diversity. This is private and personal information and not everyone is ready to promote themselves in certain ways. Additionally (and as above), Autism is a spectrum and people have different experiences.
In saying all of that, the below authors HAVE publicly shared their diagnoses and write about characters with autism.
The Boy Who Steals Houses — C.G. Drews
Can two broken boys find their perfect home?
Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing ― each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.
But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.
NOTE: The sequel, The Kings of Nowhere, is now complete on C.G. Drews’ Patreon account.
The Kiss Quotient — Helen Hoang
NOTE: This entire trilogy features characters with differing levels of autism (including Asperger’s Syndrome), anxiety and depression.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases ― a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice ― with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan ― from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
Queens of Geek — Jen Wilde
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie ― no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
A Girl Like Her — Talia Hibbert
Ruth Kabbah is okay with being an outcast. Between her autism, her comic book nerdery, and the whiff of scandal her small town can’t forget, Ruth will always be Ravenswood’s black sheep. Since she prefers silence and solitude to gossip and pub crawls, that suits her just fine ― until Evan Miller comes to town.
Ex-military man Evan is gorgeous, confident… and he’s Ruth’s new neighbour. Unlike everyone else, he doesn’t seem to mind her crotchety ways or her cooking disasters. In fact, if Ruth didn’t know any better, she might think Evan likes her. But Ruth’s been burned before, and some lessons are hard to forget.
She can’t let her guard down ― no matter how many home-cooked meals Evan brings over. Because affection is temporary, trust is made to be broken, and the heat of desire is a dangerous thing to play with. So why does this man feel so safe?
Please Don’t Hug Me — Kay Kerr
Erin is looking forward to Schoolies, at least she thinks she is. But things are not going to plan. Life is getting messy, and for Erin, who is autistic, that’s a big problem.
She’s lost her job at Surf Zone after an incident that clearly was not her fault. Her driving test went badly even though she followed the instructions perfectly. Her boyfriend is not turning out to be the romantic type. And she’s missing her brother, Rudy, who left almost a year ago.
But now that she’s writing letters to him, some things are beginning to make just a tiny bit of sense.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown — Talia Hibbert
NOTE: This is the third book in the Brown Sisters trilogy, but the only one with a neurodivergent main character.
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong ― so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself ― even though she’s not entirely sure how…
Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry ― and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car ― supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.
Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen ― and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore ― and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.
Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal — Anna Whateley
At sixteen, neurodivergent Peta Lyre is the success story of social training. That is, until she finds herself on a school ski trip ― and falling in love with the new girl. Peta will need to decide which rules to keep, and which rules to break…
Peta Lyre is far from typical. The world she lives in isn’t designed for the way her mind works, but when she follows her therapist’s rules for ‘normal’ behaviour, she can almost fit in without attracting attention.
When a new girl, Sam, starts at school, Peta’s carefully structured routines start to crack. But on the school ski trip, with romance blooming and a newfound confidence, she starts to wonder if maybe she can have a normal life after all.
When things fall apart, Peta must decide whether all the old rules still matter. Does she want a life less ordinary, or should she keep her rating normal?
Always Only You — Chloe Liese
NOTE: This is the second book in the Bergman Brothers series, but the only one (to my knowledge) with a neurodivergent main character.
The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game ― besides, hockey, that is.
I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever ― she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.
I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.
Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life ― a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.
Geek Girl — Holly Smale
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
Big Girl Small Town — Michelle Gallen
Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.
But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.
The Someday Birds — Sally J. Pla
Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.
And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.
But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth.
So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay…
A Kind of Spark — Elle McNicoll
Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can’t stop thinking about them. Those people weren’t magic. They were like me. Different like me.
I’m autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And sometimes I feel things all at once. I think about the witches, with no one to speak for them. Not everyone in our small town understands. But if I keep trying, maybe someone will. I won’t let the witches be forgotten. Because there is more to their story. Just like there is more to mine.
The State of Grace — Rachael Lucas
“Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.”
Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.
Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.
Even If We Break — Marieke Nijkamp
FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.
Are you ready to play?