You already know about the YouTube hit that is CinemaSins, the channel that critiques movies and points out all on-screen offenses under the sun. Superhero movies are obviously not excluded, and CinemaSins co-creator Jeremy Scott decided to write his debut novel about the kinds of disabled superheroes “that superhero culture would marginalize,” according to an interview with Publishers Weekly.
With The Ables, Scott has inspired younger generations with a tale about kids with disabilities who become the superheroes they weren’t sure they could be. He’s proven the importance of telling these stories, especially when told appropriately, and even has a sequel, Strings, arriving shortly in September.
Here are five other YA novels about characters who struggle with their disabilities, find their strengths, and hopefully find a happy ending or peace with their circumstances.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan taught English and history for fifteen years before his Percy Jackson series stardom. Between his teaching background and telling inspiring bedtime stories to his son who has ADHD and dyslexia, Riordan was uniquely qualified to bring us a protagonist who struggled with his perceived (pun intended) weaknesses before finding his Olympian-level strengths.
Percy Jackson has struggled in school because of his dyslexia and ADHD, but after he enters the world of mythical Gods and monster he learns from his friend Annabeth, child of Athena, that:
You’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom…That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive.
Here, Percy learns that his disabilities are not a result of him being less, but simply the trade-offs of being a powerful demigod and part of the Ancient Olympian family tree. Then, as the books go on, Percy and his friends rely on his ADHD mind to save the world time and time again from various ancient threats, ultimately embracing his strengths as well as the new family that he is now a part of.
Having gained recognition by posting her work on Wattpad in 2011, Alison Gervais took time out of her busy schedule of rereading Harry Potter, watching Supernatural and Law and Order: SVU, and enjoying life with her husband and their two cats, Jane and Smoke, to bring us this August release.
Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year means Maya will be leaving Pratt School for the Deaf. Now she’s attending Engelmann High, a public school, where everyone except for her can hear and be heard.
When Engelmann’s student body president, Beau Watson, starts using ASL in order to talk to her, Maya is suspicious he has a hidden agenda. Then, when Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya would rather simply remain true to herself.
Publisher’s Weekly writes that “…Gervais adroitly pulls readers into her world—conveying ASL through all caps and spelled-out words—as well as her work navigating the deaf and hearing worlds and her awareness of who she is,” and we here at Bookstr hope that Gervais will bring us another book sooner rather than later—although we too are busy rereading the Harry Potter series.
After developing alopecia, Quinn lost her friends along with her hair. In addition to her autistic brother, she also has to deal with sexual harassment from fellow students.
Quinn catches a break when her family moves. A new start in a new town at a new school. At school she meets Jake, a former football player who lost his legs after an accident caused by his brother. The two feel a connection, but first, they have to learn to trust others once more…
Publisher’s Weekly writes that “[s]mall acts of kindness balance the cruelty Quinn has suffered, and the message that single characteristics don’t define who people are, invites contemplation” and we here at Bookstr say this that, since this book was released last year in 2018, then you should definitely have it on your bookshelf.
Author of the Sydney Taylor Honor–winning The Blood Lie, Shirley Reva Vernick brought us something for anyone with a heart to enjoy with this 2013 release.
Summer looks like it’s going to be a drag for Johnny. When his mother gets a job in upstate New York, far away from Vermont, Johnny is sent to live with his aunt and cousin for the summer. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for his cousin, Remember Dippy.
Yep, you read that right, his cousin’s name is Remember Dippy. And, for Johnny, that isn’t the worst of it. Remember Dippy likes his days to follow a certain order, and any disorder or excitement is a recipe for disaster. This is because Remember Dippy is autistic.
Things go awry when a pet ferret goes missing, a close friend suffers a fall, and a new love interest might change Remember’s life in ways he doesn’t even suspect.
Kirkus Reviews calls this “[a]n enjoyable and provocative exploration of the clash between ‘normal’ and ‘different’ and how similar the two really are,” and we couldn’t agree more!
Terry Trueman brought us the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award in 2001, and we’ve all been talking about it since.
Shawn McDaniel has cerebral palsy and his entire body is affected; he has absolutely no control over any of his bodily functions, but his memory is pitch-perfect. Sadly, his family thinks he’s a fool.
The novel follows Shawn as he tries to find what we all strive for – a connection – especially since his father Sydney McDaniel talks constantly about euthanasia.
Kirkus Reviews once wrote that “…Shawn will stay with readers, not for what he does, but for what he is and has made of himself,” but we have to say that is an understatement. Throughout the novel, Shawn himself introduces the reader to his life—his family, his school life, and his condition. It’s a meditative read that can be morose, even violent, and will shake you to your very core.
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“The themes of finding closure for unresolved personal negativities really resonated with me.” – Nate
“This is a book about being deeply flawed, and how even as you’re trying to be better, it’s honest to let those things stay a part of you.” – Kali
“It Reminds me that there’s magic in the world even if you can’t see it.” – Becky
“I enjoyed it.” – Richard
“This is one of Hemingway’s most compelling books due to the religious themes and the focus on minority groups, at a time when prejudice in America was prevalent.” – Kyle
“A good narrative that gives a view into the minds of the characters.” – Lexi
“It’s very entertaining and has a mystery you want to solve.” – Heather
“The mystery keeps you guessing, and the build-up for the plot twist has a great payoff.” – Derek
“I found it really empowering as a child, with these kids taking care of themselves and fighting for good.” – Amy
“I like Greek mythology, and the book’s funny, witty humor.” – Tim
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It is not an easy thing—becoming a successful author. Rarely does it happen over night and for many, it doesn’t happen at all. It takes a lot to become a truly successful word weavers, but it can happen. The following authors are examples of that. Selling over 30 MILLION copies each, here are five of writers you need to read.
Lawyer-turned-author Scott Turow has written eleven novels in addition to three nonfiction books, which in total have been translated into over forty languages and sold more than 30 million copies. He is best known for his legal thrillers Presumed Innocent, The Burden of Proof, Pleading Guilty, and Personal Injuries, which was named by Time magazine as the Best Fiction Novel of 1999. Turow has won multiple literary awards, most notably the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers’ Association.
In addition to this, Turow has no less than six Hollywood movie adaptations under his belt, including Presumed Innocent, starring Harrison Ford, and Reversible Evidence, starring William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman. Turow was elected the president of the Authors Guild in 2010, and was previously president from 1997 to 1998. He still practices law; most of the cases he works are pro-bono, including the 1995 case of Alejandro Hernandez, a man who spent eleven years on death row for a murder he did not commit.
New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries series has sold more than 30 million copies as well as becoming a hit TV show, True Blood. Harris has penned at least twenty-five novels including the Aurora Teagarden Series, the Lily Bard series and the Harper Connelly series.
After much ghost-story writing and teen angst poetry, Harris began her novel writing career with Real Murders, the first in the Aurora Teagarden series which was nominated for Best Novel 1990 at the Agatha Awards. 1996 saw the release of the first in the Lily Bard series, set in small town Arkansas where Harris lived at the time. In 2001, Harris released the first Sookie Stackhouse mystery, Dead Until Dark, which won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery. The series would become the Southern Vampire Mysteries, later adapted by HBO into hit TV show True Blood.
Author of such beloved modern classics as Stardust, Coraline, and American Gods, among many others, Neil Gaiman is something of an institution at this stage. Straddling the dual worlds of novel writing and graphic novel writing, Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels alone have sold over 30 million copies, while his novels have shifted an additional 10 million copies.
Among Gaiman’s countless accolades the the Newbery and Carnegie medalsHugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards. In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, which has inspired two film adaptations, has sold a cool 55 million copies and been translated into forty-two languages. He first got the idea for the Percy Jackson series, which follows a young boy who discovers he is the son of ancient Greek god Poseidon, when inventing bedtime stories for his sons, one of whom has ADHD and dyslexia, thus influencing Riordan’s decision to have the character Percy deal with these conditions, also.
Riordan co-created the children’s series The 39 Clues, and has penned many additional books including theThe Maze of Bones, which topped The New York Times Best Seller list.
Divergent author Veronica Roth is the youngest author on this list, having penned hit YA dystopian tale Divergent at just nineteen, and since selling over 40 million copies of Divergent and its sequels. She had a publishing deal before graduating Northwestern University, and each of the books, Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant were made into Hollywood films films.
In January 2017, Roth released a new YA novel, Carve the Mark, the sequel to which, The Fates Divide came out in April 2018.
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There are are innumerable ways to judge an author’s success—the first way tends to be counting book sales. Instagram follows don’t measure the technical quality of writing, rather they measure less tangible, but still extremely important things: connection and community. These ten authors are the most successful (verified) YA authors of Instagram, and they’re successful because of you. Chances are, you’re better off because of them.
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Everybody knows John Green, YouTube sensation and author of six bestsellers: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; The Fault in Our Stars; and Turtles all the Way Down. His novels have spawned two film adaptations with serious all-star casts (box-office hit The Fault in Our Stars and the more recent Paper Towns). Also popular for his YouTube videos on the Vlogbrothers channel, Green frequently uses his status to raise money for charity and teach online history courses. Famously, critics believe Green has redefined YA literature, naming him one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. It’s no surprise that the so-called ‘Teen Whisperer‘ is the most popular YA author on Instagram.
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Most famous for his Percy Jackson series (starting with The Lightning Thief), Rick Riordan is the bestselling author of over twenty books. Riordan conceptualized the series as he told bedtime stories to his son, and it was his son who inspired its eponymous protagonist’s ADHD and Dyslexia—traits that help to make Percy Jackson a relatable character for readers with learning disabilities. The series currently has two film adaptations. Translations of his work exist in forty-two languages, and they’ve sold well over 30 million copies in the U.S. alone. His Trials of Apollo series (start with The Hidden Oracle) is still ongoing.
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Cassandra Clare is the creator of the sprawling Shadowhunters universe where angelic warriors hunt demons to protect our world. On page, this entails a lot of leather-wearing misfits who uncover shocking secret after shocking secret as they do cool, edgy teenager things (like riding on the back of flying motorcycles or constantly making out). The universe contains three series: The Mortal Instruments (start with City of Bones); The Infernal Devices (start with Clockwork Angel), and The Dark Artifices (start with Lady Midnight). The universe will expand to include at least one other trilogy, and it already includes several spin-off novels featuring favorite characters. The Shadowhunters universe has been adapted multiple times, first as a film and second as wildly popular TV series. Perhaps most impressively, Clare has been a champion of LGBT+ representation in YA genre fiction, even in the genre’s earlier days. Since the universe’s creation in 2007, every single Shadowhunters book has featured queer protagonists across a wide spectrum of identities.
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Hank Green may be the only author on this list most famous for something besides his writing. In addition to his recent bestselling debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Green has had a devoted Internet following since 2007 as one half of the Vlogbrothers, his shared YouTube channel with brother John Green. Hank and John are the co-founders of VidCon, the world’s largest conference for online videos. Hank has also acted as a contributing producer for a number of popular podcasts and web shows like Sexplanations and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
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Author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas experienced a career takeoff in 2008 when earlier drafts of the series became some of the most popular works on FictionPress.com. A Cinderella story with a dark twist, Maas’ series has been an international bestseller with publication in fifteen countries. Amazingly, these weren’t even the original drafts—Maas began writing the series’ first book, Throne of Glass, at the tender age of sixteen. Maas has also written a prequel series (start with The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) and the A Court of Thorn and Roses series (start with, you guessed it, A Court of Thorn and Roses). Her first adult fantasy series is forthcoming.
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Earlier this summer, Netflix released the film adaptation of Jenny Han‘s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with a massively positive audience response, leading to a huge spike in Instagram follows. Its sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, won the Young Adult Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Han is also the author of a YA romance trilogy, starting with the novel The Summer I Turned Pretty. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Han wrote her first book, middle school coming-of-age Shug, while she was still a college student.
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James Dashner is the hugely prolific author of nearly twenty novels, including the dystopian hit The Maze Runner, which earned a film adaptation. Dashner was dropped by Penguin Random House in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations.
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The definition of a prodigy and star, Veronica Roth sold film rights to her first novel, Divergent, months before the book saw print—and she sold the publishing rights before graduating college. Roth wrote the first draft of the novel during senior year winter break, and it sold well over a million copies within the next two years. Roth is also famous for her novels Insurgent and Allegiant, the second and third books of her dystopian series in which society operates with personality-based factions that define each person’s profession and goals. (And believe it or not, removing all kind and generous people from the government so that they can work on farms is not a great leadership strategy.)
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Breakout romance novelist Colleen Hoover had no intentions of ever mainstream-publishing her first novel, Slammed. Astoundingly, it made the New York Times bestseller list as a self-published work. Hoover published Hopeless just a year later—and it became the first self-published novel to ever break #1 on the chart. A five-time winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards, Hoover has written eleven bestsellers in only seven years. While several of Hoover’s works have been published with Atria Books, Hoover has shattered the limits of what self-publishing can accomplish.
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Rainbow Rowell is the author of three wildly popular YA novels: Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Carry On. Famously, Fangirl began as a NaNoWriMo project—yes, that means the first draft was written in thirty days! Rowell famously faced controversy for the exploration of domestic violence in Eleanor & Park, with one Minnesota school district canceling her appearance and banning her book during Banned Books Week. Sounds like somebody missed the point! Despite this, the novel went on to earn a Michael L. Printz Award Honor, one of the highest recognitions in YA literature (other honored books include Angie Thomas‘ acclaimed The Hate U Give).
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