8 Inspirational Books About Autism by Authors With Autism

In honor of World Autism Awareness Month, come explore some fantastic novels featuring the struggles as well as triumphs of autistic authors.

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Every April, scores of well-meaning booksellers, librarians, and other professionals compile lists of books about autism. They create “Autism Awareness” book displays and social media posts, and encourage everyone to read their recommendations to learn more about autism. Unfortunately, many of those lists don’t actually include any autistic authors. Autistic kids and adults need to see themselves in stories. Autistic authors, with their lived experience of autism, have written amazing books–including some that feature well-rounded and fascinating autistic characters. Follow along to discover some amazing writing by autistic authors.

1. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

from left to right book cover of Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison and John Elder Robison author portrait

This is one of the most popular autism autobiographies and for good reason. John Elder Robison is a great writer who brings you into his world with a story that is both unique and relatable. Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist.

A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names, calling his own wife “Unit Two”. He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents—the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running with Scissors.

Ultimately, this is the story of Robison’s journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner—repairing his beloved high-end automobiles. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.

2. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

From left to right: book cover of The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and Helen Hoang author portrait

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 an escort named 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…

Helen Hoang was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2016, in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her life and journey with autism inspired the hilarious romance The Kiss Quotient, as she felt there needed to be a romance novel she and others like her could finally relate to.

3. Odd Girl Out: An Autistic Woman in a Neurotypical World by Laura James

From left to right: book cover of Odd Girl Out by Laura James and Laura James author portrait

Laura James found out that she was autistic as an adult after she had forged a career for herself, married twice, and raised four children. This book tracks the year of Laura’s life after she receives a definitive diagnosis from her doctor, as she learns that ‘different’ doesn’t need to mean ‘less’ and how there is a place for all of us, and it’s never too late to find it.

Laura draws on her professional and personal experiences and reflects on her life in the light of her diagnosis, which for her explains some of her differences; why, as a child, she felt happier spinning in circles than standing still and why she has always found it difficult to work in places with a lot of ambient noise.

Although this is a personal story, the book has a wider focus too, exploring reasons for the lower rate of diagnosed autism in women and a wide range of topics including eating disorders and autism, marriage, and motherhood.

4. I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder: A Memoir by Sarah Kurchak

From left to right: book cover of I Overcame My Autism by Sarah Kurchak and Sarah Kurchak author portrait

Sarah Kurchak hasn’t let her autism get in the way of pursuing her dream to become a writer, or to find love, but she has let it get in the way of being in the same room with someone chewing food loudly, and cleaning her bathroom sink. In I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, Kurchak examines the Byzantine steps she took to become “an autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life, and how she is now trying to recover.

Tackling everything from autism parenting culture to love, sex, alcohol, obsessions, and professional pillow fighting, Kurchak’s enlightening memoir challenges stereotypes and preconceptions about autism and considers what might really make the lives of autistic people healthier, happier, and more fulfilling.

5. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary

From left to right: book cover of Funny, You Don't Look Autistic by Michael McCreary and Michael McCreary author portrait

Like many others on the autism spectrum, 20-something stand-up comic Michael McCreary has been told by more than a few well-meaning folks that he doesn’t “look” autistic. But, as he’s quick to point out in this memoir, autism “looks” different for just about everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Diagnosed with ASD at age five, McCreary got hit with the performance bug not much later. During a difficult time in junior high, he started journaling, eventually turning his pain e into something empowering–and funny. He scored his first stand-up gig at age 14 and hasn’t looked back. An #OwnVoices memoir breaks down what it’s like to live with autism for readers on and off the spectrum.

If you want to have a good laugh and learn something at the same time, read this autobiography.

6. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

From left to right: book cover of The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida and Naoki Higashida author portrait

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behavior of autistic children. Using a question-and-answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world–other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself.

Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humor, and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience, and understanding. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective. The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki’s words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.

7. Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum by Jennifer O’Toole

From left to right: book cover of Autism in Heels by Jennifer O'Toole and Jennifer O'Toole author portrait

Autism in Heels is an intimate memoir revealing the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O’Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between a carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse self-discovery not only as an Aspie but–more importantly–as a thoroughly modern woman.

Beyond being a memoir, this book is a love letter to all women. It’s a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer’s shoes, especially those iconic red stilettos. From her own struggles and self-discovery, she has built an empire of empowerment, inspiring women the world over to realize they aren’t mistakes. They are misunderstood miracles.

8. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

From left to right: book cover of Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde and Jen Wilde author portrait

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.

Jen Wilde is autistic and anxious herself, which gives the narrative authenticity that is so lacking in similar books. There’s plenty of truth here that can only come from first-hand experience, which may provide necessary uplift for autistic and anxious girls who don’t always get that, and all wrapped in a fluffy YA romance.


Whether it’s in YA romance novels or hilarious and fun-filled memoirs, the representation of autistic characters is best done by authors who share those experiences. We all have important stories to tell, and the stories of autistic authors have gone unheard for far too long. We hope this list helps to amplify the voices of these authors and others like them. They all have stories worth celebrating.

For more books that celebrate autism, click here!