Hey, book lovers! Welcome back to another edition of Bookstr’s Three to Read series! In honor of Autistism Acceptance Month (also referred to as Autism Awareness Month), we have handpicked three works by neurodivergent writers. If you like poetry, thrillers, or coming-of-age stories, you’ll surely love these reads!
Ellen Outside The Lines
by A.J. Sass
In this middle-grade novel, Ellen, an autistic Jewish teen, has grown up fitting certain elements of her life into categories. Whether it be her relationship with her best friend Laurel, going to the temple with her family, or school, Ellen’s comfortable with her routine. However, when her class goes on a trip to Barcelona, the unexpected happens. Laurel begins to brush Ellen off and hang out with her new friends, while Ellen gets to know her new non-binary classmate, Isa. At a crucial time in her development, Ellen learns about letting go, acceptance, and how not everything is binary.
Known best for his debut novel, Ana on the Edge, A.J. Sass is back with another work that features both autistic and queer representation. In a note found at the end of the book, Sass makes it clear that every autistic person is different, and Ellen is just one example of that. Ellen Outside the Lines is also selected as the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard.
Coffee Shop Read
The Kissing of Kissing
by Hannah Emerson
In this poetry collection, Emerson explores nature, humanity, and animals, among other elements, and their relationship with time. Amongst the forty-four poems, many of them express what our perception of the future is and that it is actually quite closer than we think. Emerson’s stylistic choices construct a future that is inviting and encourages readers to look inward to make themselves anew.
Hannah Emerson, a nonspeaking autistic poet, shows off her remarkable and unique style in this debut poetry collection. Her work marks the beginning of Multiverse, a series of pieces written and curated by neurodivergent creatives. The entire series, as well as upcoming works related to it, can be found on Milkweed Edition’s website.
Even If We Break
by Marieke Nijkamp
In this YA thriller, five friends stay in a cabin for the weekend to role-play a murder mystery game that they’ve been playing for the past three years. As a last hurrah, the gang gets together one last time. The friends all have secrets to keep, however, one person is bent on exposing them. With the bonds that kept them together slowly fading away, they realize that they are no longer playing the game, but living it out.
Marieke Nijkamp novel features a wide variety of queer, autistic, and trans representations. The story is told from multiple perspectives, letting commonly marginalized voices be heard and understood better. Being a non-binary, queer, disabled author themselves, Nijkamp says in an interview with WNDB that “they deserve to see themselves in narratives that aren’t just about identity and trauma. (And it’s equally important for cishet non-disabled folk to see us in other narratives too.).
It is important to continue to listen to autistic people and to remember that not every autistic person is the same. We hope that you enjoy these picks and continue to lift up neurodivergent voices!
Click here to see last week’s Three to Read!