Autism Representation in Literature | Autism Awareness Week 2017

Hello pals! Today I’m over on Ali Caitrin’s blog talking about why autism representation in literature matters. Please go read and share!

As you know this is a very important topic to me, and is the reason why I host The Essential Autie Book List here.

If you want to catch my previous posts this week, they are here:

What is autism: A guest blog by Nell Brown

My Diagnosis Story

The domino effect & why diagnosis matters

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin | 1 Minute Reviews

The Thing About Jellyfish is an impressive middle grade book about coping with the death of a friend, growing up and growing apart, and an obsession with jellyfish.

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When Suzy’s best friend drowns, she decides that it is jellyfish to blame, and sets out on a mission to prove to everyone that it was the jellyfish. Approaching the world of jellyfish with a fervour, Suzy reaches out to scientists, pouring her grief into determination.

Touching, sad and absolutely filled with fascinating jellyfish facts, I really recommend this first novel from Ali Benjamin. All editions also include stunning jellyfish illustrations.

Also, I recommend getting the hardback and removing the dust jacket – the yellow cover with the sparkly jellyfish is stunning!

Suitable for ages 9+.

Interested? Get it hereGet it here.

What to read next:

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sharing this copy with me.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas | 1 Minute Reviews

Because You’ll Never Meet Me was recommended to me by lovely @writeronwheels_ and it did not disappoint!

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Ollie is allergic to electricity, which sets off his seizures, and so lives in a cabin in the woods. His home territory is ruled by the power lines he cannot cross.

Moritz, born with no eyes, sees the world through his own version of echolocation but remains alone. Depressed, his worldview is challenged by Ollie’s relentlessly optimistic letters.

Told through letters to each other when they are brought together as pen pals, the two boys push their boundaries and investigate what ties them together. This book is more science fiction than it initially appears but is ever so subtle about it, leading you in to an exciting adventure. I don’t want to share too much else it might gives things away!

This book is a really wonderful story of friendship alongside a disability narrative blurred with science fiction and magical realism.

I’m really excited to see that the second novel following Ollie and Moritz is out now.

Interested? Get it here.

What to read next:

The Call by Paedar O’Guillin | 1 Minute Reviews

The Call by Peadar O’Guilin is easily the scariest book I’ve ever read and boy was it good!!

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In Ireland, war against the mystical Sídhe has left its mark, as children are taken to their world for 3 mins and 4 seconds – their Call. In the “Grey Land” they run for a day, fleeing pursuit of the Sídhe and torture.

Nessa, like all other young people in Ireland, has trained all her life for her Call and she’s not going to let anything stop her – not her Polio damaged legs, not Connor and his army of bullies, and certainly not the Sídhe themselves.

Nessa is such a fantastic protagonist, and O’Guillin balances the fear of the Sídhe with the very real stigma that disabled people face. This is a fantastic coming of age story, with a brilliant disabled protagonist.

This book has quite rightly made the YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist!

Interested? Get it here.

What to read next:

  • As I Descended by Robin Talley
  • The Graces by Laure Eve
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

So so glad that David Fickling Books gave me a copy and they and Daren Stobbart hassled me into reading it because it was so brilliant!

As I Descended by Robin Talley | 1 Minute Reviews

Lesbian Macbeth.

Robin Talley has served us Lesbian Macbeth and boy did she knock it out of the park.

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Talley switches up the setting to a boarding school in Virginia, where Maria dreams of attaining the Kingsley Prize in order to attend a college of her choice. Only one thing stands in her way; her rival Delilah Dufrey.

Talley exchanges Macbeth’s desire for power with Maria’s desire for a chance at university scholarships, pitting the unfair American university system as her primary motivation and it works so well.

Replace the witches with a ouija board, and stick with ghosts and a murderous history, and you have Macbeth via Heathers and The Craft. I cannot honestly explain how intense, brilliant and exciting this is.

If you love Macbeth and YA, you have been waiting for this. If you’ve never read Macbeth, let this be your intro – Robin successfully needles into the desires of Macbeth (Maria) and Lady Macbeth (Lily) so well that it would be a great intro.

Interested? Get it here.

What to read next:

Thank you to Olivia at Harper Collins for sending this to me.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown | 1 Minute Reviews

That afternoon I was muggy eyed and sore-headed after a seizure and just needed something warming and lovely to get me through. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit was what I picked up. I stayed up reading until 1 in the morning, refusing to close it without finishing Jo’s story.

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Jo and her father are leaving Atlanta behind, moving in with her new stepmother Three to Rome, Georgia. Goodbye Dana, her wild best friend. Goodbye her old hangouts. Goodbye beautiful babes.

And then her parents ask her the unexpected – to de-queer herself, to return to the closet for one year. If she does, she’ll get her radio show and a road trip with Dana before college.

Just one year can’t be that hard?

But then she meets Mary Carlson, mussy haired and long legged, and Jo’s plans fly out the window.

Alongside the getting-back-in-the-closet storyline, Georgia Peaches also deals with the issue of faith and QUILTBAG identities. Jo wrestles with her faith and wishes to stand as a leader in her community for all the other queer kids. This would be a great novel for a young teen struggling to reconcile their sexuality and their religion.

Brown provides us with a delightful cast of characters, including medically obsessed BFF Gemma, fanboy to the preachers George and my absolute favourite, BTB, Mary Carlson’s twin who has an unnamed disability and an obsession with elephants. Brown doesn’t go into the nature of his disability, except for a tangled birth cord preventing oxygen, but BTB doesn’t feel like a caricature and is a character with depth.

I was really impressed with this novel. It’s currently only available in hardback in the UK, but it is worth it if you are in the mood for a cute f/f romance with added depth.

Interested? Get it here!

What to read next:

Thank you so much to Olivia at Harper Collins for sourcing this for me.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman | 1 Minute Reviews

This is probably my favourite YA contemporary novel. Every time I think of how much I love Radio Silence, I start to spurt a nonsense of onomatopoeia. Seriously, I just babble. Or worse, I do what I did at YA Shot last year and just straight out blurted at Alice that I loved her. I’m so cool guys, you have no idea.

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Alice Oseman’s second novel Radio Silence follows studious, artistic Frances, lover of obscure storytelling podcast Universe City, as she befriends Aled, the UC creator and twin of Carys, the girl who disappeared after Frances kissed her.

But where is Carys?

Who is February?

Why is Aled’s mum such a wanker??

This is a great little contemporary YA fiction about being true to yourself, and not the societally expected Oxbridge dream (boy did that resonate!!), and that art is legitimate and important.

Universe City is a very much based on Welcome to Nightvale (an exceptional storytelling podcast) and I couldn’t help but read all the excerpts in Cecil’s voice.

It was super refreshing to read about bisexual and asexual characters without having any of the prejudice associated with being either. An absolute delight.

Interested? Yes you are. Get it here. Also consider supporting Alice on Patreon so you can enjoy her amazing comic series, Heartstopper.

What to read next: