New Reads With Autism Representation You Absolutely Shouldn’t Miss

This week’s Three to Read spotlights autism representation in YA from autistic authors to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month.

Fiction New Release Recommendations Three To Read Young Adult
Spring banner with book covers for "Something More" by Jackie Khalilieh, "Daniel, Deconstructed" by James Ramos, and "A Prayer For Vengeance" by Leanne Schwartz.

In honor of April being Autism Acceptance Month, we are shining a light on three books written by autistic authors that are about autistic characters. In 1970, the United States’s oldest autism grass-roots organization, the Autism Society of America, launched the first national effort to promote autism awareness and encourage the inclusion of neurodivergent people. Originally known as Autism Awareness Month, many organizations, including the Autism Society of America and the Center for Disease Control, have started calling the month-long campaign Autism Acceptance Month.

This week, we’re highlighting three books with autistic main or supporting characters written by autistic authors. We at Bookstr encourage reading diversely, and one of the best ways to find diverse representation in your reads is by seeking out books by diverse authors. So here are just a few books with authentic autism representation you can add to your reading list.

HOT PICK

Something More by Jackie Khalilieh

Book cover for "Something More" by Jackie Khalilieh.
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SUMMARY

Weeks before she’s set to start high school, 15-year-old Jessie is diagnosed as autistic. Jessie already has a reputation as a loner, and her quirky personality and obsession with the 1990s don’t help her social status. Determined to start fresh, Jessie makes a list of goals to help her reinvent herself. From having her first kiss to getting a spot in the school play, the list is Jessie’s chance to have a great high school experience at Holy Trinity High. But Jessie’s plans get derailed when she finds herself caught between two boys, and choosing between them might mean leaving her list behind.

WHY

Jessie shares several traits with her writer Jackie Khalilieh, including being Palestinian and autistic. In a post on the book’s Goodreads page, Khalilieh expresses how much Jessie means to her and how much Khalilieh wishes she’d had a character similar to Jessie when she was a teenager. Jessie’s story is a heartfelt, authentic journey through adolescence as a neurodivergent girl of color, accompanied by several beloved YA tropes.

COFFEE SHOP

Daniel, Deconstructed by James Ramos

Book cover for "Daniel, Deconstructed" by James Ramos
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SUMMARY

Daniel Sanchez is three things: a photographer, a film buff, and content to stay behind the camera. Daniel knows he’s not the type to be on screen. The screen is for people like his best friend Mona Sinclair, a beautiful, cheery soccer superstar. When Daniel meets Gabe Mendes, the mysterious, cool, nonbinary new kid in school, he knows Gabe and Mona are a meet-cute waiting to happen. For this rom-com–to-be, Daniel knows he’s meant to be the director, pushing the two together. But matchmaking is proving harder than he thought, as Daniel finds himself in a starring role in this blooming romance.

WHY

Daniel is a queer, autistic, biracial teenager, and Ramos has no qualms about addressing the nuances of Daniel’s intersecting identities. In particular, Daniel doesn’t hide his struggles navigating the world as an autistic teenager. From stimming in his room to restraining himself from going on about his favorite topics, Daniel knows how to mask his neurodivergent traits to fit in. Through Daniel, Ramos confronts the many ways the world asks autistic individuals to hide themselves, giving readers insight into a perspective they might not have otherwise.

DARK HORSE

A Prayer For Vengeance by Leanne Schwartz

Book cover for "A Prayer for Vengeance" by Leanne Schwartz.
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SUMMARY

Milo is a temple ward who wants to join the ranks of the templars and scholars who raised him. Until that day comes, Milo tends to the statues of the city’s protectors. Centuries ago, a miracle wiped out Tresttato’s monsters and turned the city’s soldiers into stone, which are presently worshiped as statues. One day, Milo’s prayers bring one of these statues to life, unleashing a girl intent on getting revenge. Gia claims the same immortal holy leader Milo serves is responsible for the miracle that is actually a curse, and she will stop at nothing to bring him down. Gia’s hunt for revenge will force Milo to question the religion that raised him and the life he leads.

WHY

There are several instances where diverse representation flourishes in fantasy settings because the characters can escape the prejudice they face in reality-based settings, as is the case with A Prayer For Vengeance. In this YA fantasy, the main character is a plus-sized young woman, and her love interest is an autistic man. These are two identities that are underrepresented in literature, and when they are present, there is often some moral or thematic reason for including them. In her debut, Schwartz proves that the most powerful and effective representation is casual. Milo is autistic, but he isn’t reduced to his autism or excluded because of it. His neurodivergence is just one of the many things that makes him who he is.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Three to Read! We hope you are excited about this week’s picks, and don’t forget to tune back in next week for more recommendations!


Thanks for tuning in to this week’s article; check out last week’s Three To Read books on de-stressing here.

Find these books and more on our Bookstr Three to Read bookshelf on Bookshop.org.

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