101 disability and illness books

hey everyone,

today’s post is one I’ve been planning for a long time. although diversity and inclusion within books and publishing has improved slightly over the years, it is still so hard to find books by disabled authors and with disabled characters and we all need to do our part in supporting and uplifting those authors and books we do have, and show publishers we want/need more. as someone with a disability myself, I wanted to use my small platform to bring you a list of 101 illness and disability books in honour of the #disabilityreadathon happening in April!

full disclaimer that I have not read every single book on this list so cannot comment on how good the representation is, but I’ve done my best to check out reviews for all of them to make sure I’m not including any harmful books. all of these books either feature a disabled main character or are written by disabled authors, wether that’s physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illnesses etc. WARNING: this post is also super long, but I hope you’ll bookmark it and come back to it so you don’t miss out on any of the titles! I tried to cut the synopsis’ down but didn’t want to lose any of the info that might make you want to pick it up!

I’ve also tried to include the specific disability rep next to each title from what I could find in reviews, but if you have read any of these books and I’ve got the representation wrong, please feel free to DM me on twitter @molsbymoonlight and I can make corrections straight away.

I create all of the content on my blog for free, but if you’d like to tip me £3 I’ll be forever grateful as I am unable to work: https://ko-fi.com/molsbymoonlight

I really hope you enjoy this post and find some new authors and titles to support, you can find the rest of my ‘101 books’ series here: https://molsbymoonlight.wordpress.com/category/101-series/

M xx

⭐️1. SANATORIUM by abi palmer, (rep: autoimmune connective tissue disorder, arthritis, crohn’s disease) A young woman spends a month taking the waters at a thermal water-based rehabilitation facility in Budapest. On her return to London, she attempts to continue her recovery using an 80 pound inflatable blue bathtub which becomes a metaphor for the intrusion of disability. Sanatorium interlaces memoir, poetry and meditations on the body to create a mesmerising debut.

⭐️2. CUSP, published by ache magazine: Ache asked writers to create work that explores the ways in which illness and pain cause estrangement from one’s own body. Through this collection of essays and speculative fiction, Cusp articulates the experiences of transformation, shape-shifting, and border-crossing that are inherent in illness. Drawing on myth, magic, the absurd and the surreal, these writings slip beyond the real in order to communicate what it’s like to live within a body that does not conform to normative standards.

⭐️3. STIM: AN AUTISTIC ANTHOLOGY edited by lizzie huxley jones, (rep: autism): Around 1 in 100 people in the UK are autistic, yet there remains a fundamental misunderstanding of what autism is. This insightful and eye-opening collection of essays, fiction and visual art showcases the immense talents of some of the UK’s most exciting writers and artists – who just happen to be on the spectrum. Here they reclaim the power to speak for themselves and redefine what it means to be autistic.

⭐️4. DIRTY RIVER by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: In 1996, Leah ran away from America with two backpacks and ended up in Canada, where she discovered queer anarchopunk love and revolution, yet remained haunted by the reasons she left home in the first place. This passionate and riveting memoir is a mixtape of dreams and nightmares, of immigration court lineups and queer South Asian dance nights; it reveals how a disabled queer woman of color and abuse survivor navigates the dirty river of the past and, as the subtitle suggests, “dreams her way home.”

⭐️5. THE GRAY HOUSE by mariam petrosyan (rep: wheelchair use, prosthetic limbs, physical disabilities): Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.

⭐️6. GARGOYLES by harriet mercer: Six weeks after her 40th birthday, Harriet is struck by a rare and life-threatening illness. What follows is a long, painful and arduous stay at Charing Cross Hospital. From the first day in Critical Care, whenever Harriet tries to sleep, the backs of her eyes come alive with soul-sucking gargoyles; she remains awake for the entire six weeks. Such wakefulness produces its own hallucinations: the gargoyles become metaphors for lurking demons, fear of death, her relationship with her late father, and her dream of having a family. A stunning blend of poetic memoir and essays, Gargoyles explores the effects of illness, grief, love, and loss, but is also about the power of memory, which both haunts and enriches.

⭐️7. A ROOM CALLED EARTH by madeleine ryan, (rep: both the MC and the author are autistic): As a full moon rises over Melbourne, a young autistic woman gets ready for a party. What appears to be the start of an ordinary night out, though, is, through the prism of her mind, extraordinary. As the events of the night unfold, she moves from person to person, weaving a web around the magical, the mundane, and the tragic. However, each encounter she has, whether with her ex-boyfriend or a woman who wants to compliment her outfit, reveals the vast discrepancies between what she is thinking, and feeling, and what she is able to say. And there’s so much she’d like to say.

⭐️8. BEAUTY IS A VERB edited by jennifer bartlett, sheila black and michael northern: A ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both.

⭐️9. ALL’S WELL by mona awad, (rep: chronic pain): Miranda’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.

⭐️10. SORROWLAND by rivers solomon, (rep: chronic pain): Vern, a hunted woman alone in the woods, gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong- not with them, but with her own body. It’s itching, it’s stronger, it’s…not normal. To understand her body’s metamorphosis, Vern must investigate the secluded religious compound from which she fled and the violent history of dehumanization, medical experimentation, and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire histories, systems, and nations.

⭐️11. SHOW US WHO YOU ARE by elle mcnicoll, (rep: both the MC and author are autistic, another character has ADHD): When Cora’s brother drags her along to his boss’s house, she doesn’t expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies. As she becomes part of Adrien’s life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate. At first, she’s intrigued by them – Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets… Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?

⭐️12. CRIPPLED: austerity and demonetisation of disabled people by frances ryan: In austerity Britain, disabled people have been recast as worthless scroungers. From social care to the benefits system, politicians and the media alike have made the case that Britain’s 12 million disabled people are nothing but a drain on the public purse. Fully updated to include the coronavirus crisis, Crippled tells the stories of those most affected by this devastating regime. It is at once both a damning indictment of a safety net so compromised it strangles many of those it catches and a passionate demand for an end to austerity, which hits hardest those most in need.

⭐️13. DEFYING DOOMSDAY edited by tsana dolichva and holly kench: Teens form an all-girl band in the face of an impending comet. A woman faces giant spiders to collect silk and protect her family. New friends take their radio show on the road in search of plague survivors. A man seeks love in a fading world. How would you survive the apocalypse? Defying Doomsday is an anthology of apocalypse fiction featuring disabled and chronically ill protagonists, proving it’s not always the “fittest” who survive – it’s the most tenacious, stubborn, enduring and innovative characters who have the best chance of adapting when everything is lost.

⭐️14. REBUILDING TOMORROW edited by tsana dolichva: Rebuilding Tomorrow, the follow up anthology to Defying doomsday, focuses on disabled and/or chronically-ill protagonists and tells tales of re-establishing society. The stories are about people who have moved past (or are in the process of moving past) subsistence-level existence into a new, sustainable world, even though it’s one that has been irrevocably changed by an apocalypse.

⭐️15. PHANTOM PAINS by therese estacion: Therese survived a rare infection that nearly killed her, but not without losing both her legs below the knees, several fingers, and reproductive organs. Phantompains is a visceral, imaginative collection exploring disability, grief and life by interweaving stark memories with dreamlike surrealism. Taking inspiration from Filipino horror and folk tales, Estacion incorporates some Visayan language into her work, telling stories of mermen, gnomes, and ogres that haunt childhood stories of the Philippines and, then, imaginings in her hospital room, where she spent months recovering after her operations.

⭐️16. WITH WINGS edited by marsha saxton and florence howe: An anthology of stories, poems, and essays by thirty women writers, all of whom have a disablility or physical difference.

⭐️17. GOLEM GIRL by riva lehrer, (rep: spina bifida): In 1958, Riva is one of the first children born with spina bifida to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to “fix” her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark; it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits–an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world.

⭐️18. THE CENTAURS WIFE by amanda leduc, (rep: the author has cerebral palsy, and I think one of the characters does too): Heather is sleeping after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived. But the mountain that looms over the city is still green- somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Even as those in the city around her- led by Tasha, a doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife- struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting.

⭐️19. MODERN NATURE by derek jarman, (rep: HIV): In 1986 Derek discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the barren coast of Dungeness. Facing an uncertain future, he nevertheless found solace in nature, growing all manner of plants. Modern Nature is both a diary of the garden and a meditation by Jarman on his own life: his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s, his renowned career as an artist, writer and film-maker.

⭐️20. THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING by elisabeth tova bailey: While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world. Intrigued by the snail’s anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, and courtship activities, she becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal. A remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence, while providing an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

⭐️21. DISTURBING THE BODY: A subversive new anthology of speculative memoir about misbehaving bodies. From illness to major medical operations, child-bearing to pain and chronic illness to disability, Disturbing the Body sets out to explore the many ways women feel powerless and at odds with their own bodies. In a dozen stories reflecting memoir, experience and body horror, this is an anthology full of heart that is not for the faint-hearted.

⭐️22. UNWELL WOMEN by elinor cleghorn: Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women’s bodies, and traces the journey from the ‘wandering womb’ of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis. Packed with character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy – and drawing on her own experience of un-diagnosed Lupus disease – this is a ground-breaking and timely expose of the medical world and woman’s place within it.

⭐️23. A KIND OF SPARK by elle mcnicoll, (rep: both the MC and the author are autistic): Tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard? A story about friendship, courage and self-belief.

⭐️24. LIMINAL by bee lewis (rep: the MC is an amputee): Esther is a pregnant amputee, estranged from her father who caused the accident in which she lost her leg. She and her husband, Dan, are journeying by car to their new home, an abandoned station in the Scottish Highlands. Spanning the course of a week, Lewis’s gothic fantasia follows Esther as her marriage, life and body begin to dramatically change. By day, she is isolated physically and mentally within her marriage and new environment. By night, she explores a forbidding forest, pursued by a shadowy figure. Symbolism, dreams and violence abound in this spellbinding unsnaring of a soul.

⭐️25. THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIA’S by esme weijun wang, (rep: schizophrenia, lyme disease, PTSD): Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

⭐️26. EXILE AND PRIDE by eli clare: First published in 1999, Exile & Pride established Clare as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability. Clare’s writing on his experiences as a genderqueer activist/writer with cerebral palsy permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation- offering an intersectional framework for understanding how our bodies experience the politics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the heart of Clare’s exploration of environmental destruction, white working-class identity, queer community, disabled sexuality, childhood sexual abuse, coalition politics, and his own gender transition is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible for everyone.

⭐️27. UNBROKEN: 13 stories of disabled teens edited by marieke nijkamp: This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken will offer today’s teen readers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.

⭐️28. CREATURE by hunter shea (rep: autoimmune disease): The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime, a place to heal. But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

⭐️29. CARE WORK by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: In this collection of essays, Leah explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all. Care Work is a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind.

⭐️30. A MIND SPREAD OUT ON THE GROUND by alicia elliott: In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about the treatment of Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Elliott offers insight into the ongoing legacy of colonialism. She engages with wide-ranging topics such as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrifcation, writing and representation, and in the process makes connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political- from overcoming a years-long battle with head lice to the way Native writers are treated within the Canadian literary industry; her unplanned teenage pregnancy to the history of dark matter and how it relates to racism in the court system; her childhood diet of Kraft Dinner to how systemic oppression is directly linked to health problems in Native communities.

⭐️31. WHERE I’D WATCH PLASTIC TREES NOT GROW by hannah hodgson: Hannah has taken her regular hospitalisations due to serious illness and made it into astonishing poetry. Her world of the hospital is sometimes like a zoo, sometimes like a gallery and sometimes a crowded town square. The wards contain tigers and crows, butterflies – doctors become poets, the dead turn into an art installation, while outside, the trees are plastic.

⭐️32. MOONCAKES by suzanne walker and wendy xu, (rep: one of the MC’s is D/deaf): Nova knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

⭐️33. THE UNBROKEN by c l clark, (rep: physical disability due to injury): Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

⭐️34. SAVING LUCIA by anna vaught: How would it be if four lunatics went on a tremendous adventure, reshaping their pasts and futures as they went, including killing Mussolini? What if one of those people were a fascinating, forgotten aristocratic assassin and the others a fellow life co-patient, James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, another the first psychoanalysis patient, known to history simply as ‘Anna O,’ and finally 19th Century Paris’s Queen of the Hysterics, Blanche Wittmann? How would it all be possible? Because, as the assassin Lady Violet Gibson would tell you, those who are confined have the very best imaginations.

⭐️35. DISABILITY VISIBILITY edited by alice wong: According to the last census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Alice Wong brings together a groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience.

⭐️36. TASTES LIKE WAR by grace m cho, (rep: schizophrenia): Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War is a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In her mother’s final years, Grace learned to cook dishes from her mother’s childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices at the table. And through careful listening over these shared meals, Grace discovered not only the things that broke the brilliant, complicated woman who raised her—but also the things that kept her alive.

⭐️37. CHATTERING by louise stern, (rep: the author and MC’s of these stories are deaf): A debut collection, Stern’s stories are peopled with brave young girls, out to party, travel the world, go a little bit wild. The one thing that marks them out from their peers is that they have grown up deaf. They communicate with the outside world via a complicated mixture of sign language, lip–reading, note–scribbling, guesswork, and instinct. Yet they are full of daring, ready for adventures that take them into unfamiliar places and strange, cockeyed relationships with people whose actions they observe, but never wholly understand.

⭐️38. A STILL LIFE by josie george: Since childhood, Josie has lived with the fluctuating and confusing challenge of disabling chronic illness. Her days are lived out in the same hundred or so metres around her home. But her world is surprising, intricate, dynamic. In January 2018, Josie sets out to tell the story of her still life, over the course of a year. As the seasons shift, and the tides of her body draw in and out, Josie begins to unfurl her history. A Still Life is a story of illness and pain that rarely sees the light. Against a world which values ‘feel good’ progress and productivity above all else, Josie sets out a quietly radical alternative: to value and treasure life for life itself, with all its defeats and victories, with all its great and small miracles.

⭐️39. GIRL IN THE WINDOW by penny joelson, (rep: M.E): Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes . . . There was a girl in the window opposite – did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all. There is no girl.

⭐️40. SEEING RED by lina meruane, (rep: the narrator is blind): This powerful, profound autobiographical novel describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke, leaving her blind and increasingly dependent on those closest to her. Fiction and autobiography intertwine in an intense, visceral, and caustic novel about the relation between the body, illness, science, and human relationships.

⭐️41. HEART BERRIES by terese marie mailhot, (rep: PTSD, bipolar II disorder): Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

⭐️42. THE GIRL AQUARIUM by jen campbell, (rep: disability and disfigurement): The Girl Aquarium explores the realm of rotten fairy tales, the possession of body and the definition of beauty. Weaving between whispered science and circus, these poems turn a cracked mirror on society and ask who gets to control the twisted tales hiding in the wings.

⭐️43. STAIRS AND WHISPERS: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman: A ground-breaking anthology examining UK disabled and D/deaf poetics. Packed with fierce poetry, essays, photos and links to accessible online videos and audio recordings, it showcases a diversity of opinions and survival strategies for an ableist world. With contributions that span Vispo to Surrealism, and range from hard-hitting political commentary to intimate lyrical pieces, these poets refuse to perform or inspire according to tired old narratives.

⭐️44. GET A LIFE CHLOE BROWN by talia hibbert, (rep: fibromyalgia, chronic illness): Chloe is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, including a drunken night out, riding a motorcycle and…doing something bad. But it’s not easy being bad. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job. ‘Red’ is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

⭐️45. SICK by porochista khakpour, (rep: lyme disease): An honest, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery that details the authors struggles with late-stage Lyme disease. Sick is Khakpour’s arduous, emotional journey- as a woman, a writer, and a lifelong sufferer of undiagnosed health problems- through the chronic illness that perpetually left her a victim of anxiety, living a life stymied by an unknown condition.

⭐️46. THE CLOCKS IN THIS HOUSE ALL TELL DIFFERENT TIMES by xan brooks, (rep: disfigurement): Summer 1923: the modern world. Orphaned Lucy climbs into the back of an old army truck and is whisked off to the woods north of London – a land haunted by the past, where lost souls and monsters conceal themselves in the trees. In a sunlit clearing she meets the ‘funny men’, a quartet of disfigured ex-soldiers named after Dorothy’s companions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here are the loved and the damaged, dark forests and darker histories, and the ever-present risk of discovery and violent retribution.

⭐️47. BORDERLINE by mishell baker, (rep: MC is an amputee): A year ago Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales. For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star, who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court.

⭐️48. BODYMAP by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: Bodymap sings a queer disabled femme of colour love song filled with hard femme poetics and disability justice. The first book of the author to examine disability from a queer femme of color lens, Bodymap contains work created and performed with Sins Invalid. Bodymap maps hard and vulnerable terrains of queer desire, survivorhood, transformative love, sick and disabled queer genius and all the homes we claim and deserve.

⭐️49. RESISTANCE AND HOPE edited by alice wong: 16 essays by 17 disabled writers, activists, and artists- this is crip wisdom for the people. Edited by Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, Resistance and Hope will transform the way you think about activism, leadership and social justice. Written in 2017, the authors explore resistance, hope, self care, disability rights and justice, and the politics of Trump in a series of provocative, challenging essays. They bring the power of intersectional cross-platform organizing and the strength found through mutual accountability to words that will help you define the resistance you want to fight for, not just the harm you want to react against.

⭐️50. INTO THE DROWNING DEEP by mira grant, (rep: MC is autistic, one of the characters is D/deaf): Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Now, a new crew has been assembled. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

⭐️51. ILL FEELINGS by alice hattrick, (rep: M.E): In 1995 Alice’s mother collapsed with pneumonia. Her lungs were infected, which caused flu-like symptoms. She never fully recovered and was eventually diagnosed with ME. Then Alice got ill. Their symptoms mirrored their mother’s and appeared to have no physical cause; they received the same diagnosis a few years later. Since this time, neither of them have been well, even if, at times, they believed they were well-enough. Structured around the narrative of the author and their mother’s own ill feelings, Hattrick’s collective biography of illness branches out into the records of ill health women have written about in diaries and letters. Ill Feelings blends memoir, medical history, biography and literary non-fiction to uncover untold case histories of medically unexplained and invisible illness.

⭐️52. THE SLEEPING BEAUTIES by suzanne o’sullivan: In Sweden, refugee children fall asleep for months and years at a time. In upstate New York, high school students develop contagious seizures. In the US Embassy in Cuba, employees complain of headaches and memory loss after hearing strange noises in the night. These disparate cases are some of the most remarkable diagnostic mysteries of the twenty-first century, as both doctors and scientists have struggled to explain them within the boundaries of medical science and – more crucially – to treat them. What unites them is that they are all examples of a particular type of psychosomatic illness: medical disorders that are influenced as much by the idiosyncratic aspects of individual cultures as they are by human biology. Inspired by a poignant encounter with the sleeping refugee children of Sweden, neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan travels the world to visit other communities who have also been subject to outbreaks of so-called ‘mystery’ illnesses.

⭐️53. THE SPECTRUM GIRLS SURVIVAL GUIDE by siena castellon, (rep: the author is autistic): This essential guide gives you all the advice and tools you’ll need to help you flourish and achieve what you want in life. From the answers to everyday questions such as ‘Am I using appropriate body language?’ and ‘Did I say the wrong thing?’, through to discussing the importance of understanding your emotions, looking after your physical and mental health and coping with anxiety and sensory overloads, award-winning neurodiversity campaigner Castellon uses her own experiences to provide you with the skills to overcome any challenge. With practical tips on friendships, dating, body image, consent and appearance, as well as how to survive school and bullying, The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide gives you the power to embrace who you are, reminding you that even during the toughest of teen moments, you are never alone.

⭐️54. BLACK SUN by rebecca roanhorse, (rep: one of the MC’s is blind): In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain….

⭐️55. PET by akwaeke emezi, (rep: the author has chronic pain, the MC is a Black trans girl with selective mutism): There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question- How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

⭐️56. THE GLOAMING by kirsty logan, (rep: scarring and disfigurement): Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the call of the sea. But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever. As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

⭐️57. BEYOND THE PALE by emily urquhart, (rep: albinism): After 3 months of medical testing, the authors daughter Sadie Jane is diagnosed with albinism, a rare genetic condition where pigment fails to form in the skin, hair and eyes. A journalist and folklore scholar accustomed to processing the world through other people’s stories, Emily is drawn to understanding her child’s difference by researching the cultural beliefs associated with albinism worldwide. What she finds on her journey vacillates between beauty and darkness. Part parenting memoir, part cultural critique and part travelogue, Beyond the Pale, as the title suggests, takes the reader into dark and unknown territory in the search for enlightenment.

⭐️58. NERVOUS SYSTEM by lina meruane: Ella is an astrophysicist struggling with her doctoral thesis. Consumed by writer’s block, Ella finds herself wishing that she would become ill, which would provide time for writing and perhaps an excuse for her lack of progress. Then she begins to experience mysterious symptoms that doctors find undiagnosable. As Ella’s anxiety grows, the past begins to exert a strong gravitational pull, and other members of her family come into focus: the widowed Father, the Stepmother, the Twins, and the Firstborn. Each of them has their own experience of illness and violence, and eventually the systems that both hold them together and atomize them are exposed.

⭐️59. MONSTERHUMAN by Kjersti A. Skomsvold, (rep: M.E): When Kjersti was 18 years old and about to start engineering studies at college, she found herself almost unable to move. “Laid out like a relic” in a nursing home, she listens to an old woman dying, watches her boyfriend drift away, and makes compendious lists of her worries (that she will have to go speed-dating in a wheelchair, that she will be afraid and in pain for the rest of her life). She also begins to compose a novel on Post-it notes that she sticks on the wall above her bed. ‘Monsterhuman’ is an autofictional tour de force―a funny, sad, astoundingly energetic novel about suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, the power of writing, and the twenty-first-century Norwegian literary life.

⭐️60. A DISABILITY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES by kim e nielsen: Covering the entirety of US history from pre-1492 to the present, A Disability History of the United States is the first book to place the experiences of people with disabilities at the center of the American narrative. By doing so, the book casts new light on familiar stories, such as slavery and immigration, while breaking ground about the ties between nativism and oralism in the late nineteenth century and the role of ableism in the development of democracy. Engrossing and profound, A Disability History of the United States fundamentally reinterprets how we view our nation’s past: from a stifling master narrative to a shared history that encompasses us all.

⭐️61. THE BRIDE TEST by helen hoang, (rep: autism): Khai has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions- like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

⭐️62. BEING HEUMANN by judy heumann, (rep: the author is paralysed from having polio at a young age): One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann’s memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.

⭐️63. SHOW ME A SIGN by ann clare lezotte, (rep: the author and MC’s are deaf): Mary has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there – including Mary – are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage. But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a “live specimen” in a cruel experiment.

⭐️64. PAIN WOMAN TAKES YOUR KEYS by sonya huber, (rep: chronic pain): Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, and Other Essays from a Nervous System is a collection of literary and experimental essays about living with chronic pain. Huber addresses the nature and experience of invisible disability, including the challenges of gender bias in our health care system, the search for effective treatment options, and the difficulty of articulating chronic pain. She makes pain a lens of inquiry and lyricism, finds its humor and complexity, describes its irascible character, and explores its temperature, taste, and even its beauty.

⭐️65. THE RIGHT WAY TO BE CRIPPLED AND NAKED, edited by sheila black, michael northern and annabelle hayse: Welcome to the worlds of the disabled. The physically disabled. The mentally disabled. The emotionally disabled. What does that word “disabled” mean anyway? Is there a right way to be crippled? Editors Sheila Black and Michael Northen (co-editors of the highly praised anthology Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability) join newcomer Annabelle Hayse to present short stories by Dagoberto Gilb, Anne Finger, Stephen Kuusisto, Thom Jones, Lisa Gill, Floyd Skloot, and others. These authors—all who experience the “disability” they write about—crack open the cage of our culture’s stereotypes. We look inside, and, through these people we thought broken, we uncover new ways of seeing and knowing.

⭐️66. THE FAT LADY SINGS by jacqueline roy, (rep: mental illness): Locked in a psychiatric unit because her public singing brought her to the attention of the police, Gloria meets another British woman of Jamaican descent with whom she can share her past, giving them both hope for the future.

⭐️67. CONSTELLATIONS by sinead gleeson: How do you tell the story of life that is no one thing? How do you tell the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood? And how do you tell that story when you are not just a woman but a woman in Ireland? In these powerful and daring essays, Gleeson does that very thing. In doing so she delves into a range of subjects: art, illness, ghosts, grief, and our very ways of seeing. In writing that is in tradition of some of our finest writers, Gleeson takes us on a journey that is both personal and yet universal in its resonance.

⭐️68. THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by catriona ward, (rep: dissociative identity disorder): This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true. And yet they are all lies… You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

⭐️69. DISFIGURED by amanda leduc, (rep: cerebral palsy): In fairy tales, happy endings are the norm – as long as you’re beautiful and walk on two legs. By examining the ways that fairy tales have shaped our expectations of disability, Disfigured will point the way toward a new world where disability is no longer a punishment or impediment but operates, instead, as a way of centering a protagonist and helping them to cement their own place in a story, and from there, the world. Through the book, Leduc ruminates on the connections we make between fairy tale archetypes and tries to make sense of them through a twenty-first-century disablist lens- helping us to see and celebrate the magic inherent in different bodies.

⭐️70. ORACLE CODE by marieke nijkamp, (rep: MC uses a wheelchair): After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed, Barbara enters the Arkham Center for Independence, where Gotham’s teens undergo physical and mental rehabilitation. Now using a wheelchair, Barbara must adapt to a new normal, but she cannot shake the feeling that something is dangerously amiss. Within these walls, strange sounds escape at night; patients go missing; and Barbara begins to put together pieces of what she believes to be a larger puzzle. But is this suspicion simply a result of her trauma? Fellow patients try to connect with Barbara, but she pushes them away, and she’d rather spend time with ghost stories than participate in her daily exercises. Even Barbara’s own judgment is in question. In The Oracle Code, universal truths cannot be escaped, and Barbara must battle the phantoms of her past before they swarm her future.

⭐️ 71. FAIREST by meredith talusan, (rep: albinism): A singular, beautifully written coming-of-age memoir of a Filipino boy with albinism whose story travels from an immigrant childhood to Harvard to a gender transition and illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender

⭐️72. GROWING UP DISABLED IN AUSTRALIA, edited by carly findlay: One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series. It includes interviews with prominent Australians such as Senator Jordon Steele-John and Paralympian Isis Holt, poetry and graphic art, as well as more than 40 original pieces by writers with a disability or chronic illness.

⭐️73. THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT by jen campbell, (rep: disability and disfigurement): Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows. A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island. A boy is worried his sister has two souls. A couple are rewriting the history of the world. And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

⭐️74. SONG FOR A WHALE by lynne kelly, (rep: the MC is deaf): From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, 12 year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

⭐️75. STRANGERS ASSUME MY GIRLFRIEND IS MY NURSE by shane burcaw, (rep: the author has a degenerative disease and uses a wheelchair): With his signature acerbic wit and hilarious voice, twenty-something author, blogger, and entrepreneur Shane Burcaw is back with an essay collection about living a full life in a body that many people perceive as a tragedy. From anecdotes about first introductions where people patted him on the head instead of shaking his hand, to stories of passersby mistaking his able-bodied girlfriend for a nurse, Shane tackles awkward situations and assumptions with humor and grace. On the surface, these essays are about day-to-day life as a wheelchair user with a degenerative disease, but they are actually about family, love, and coming of age.

⭐️76. PLACE I’VE TAKEN MY BODY by Molly McCully Brown, (rep: cerebral palsy): In 17 intimate essays, poet Molly McCully Brown explores living within and beyond the limits of a body- in her case, one shaped since birth by cerebral palsy, a permanent and often painful movement disorder. The essays comprise a vivid travelogue set throughout the United States and Europe, ranging from the rural American South of her childhood to the cobblestoned streets of Bologna, Italy. Moving between these locales and others, Brown constellates the subjects that define her inside and out: a disabled and conspicuous body, a religious conversion, a missing twin, a life in poetry.

⭐️77. BODYMINDS REIMAGINED by sami schalk: Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds— the intertwinement of the mental and the physical —in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre’s political potential lies in the authors’ creation of bodyminds that transcend reality’s limitations. Outlining (dis)ability’s centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualizations of identity and oppression through nonrealist contexts.

⭐️78. ON SUNDAYS SHE PICKED FLOWERS by yah yah scholfield, (rep: the author is autistic): Follows a woman named Judith who finally escapes her mother to countryside of Georgia. There she makes a home for herself in a cottage given to her by a relatively kind innkeeper. And it’s there she begins her Sunday routine. And it’s there she learns of the beings in the woods. And it’s also there she meets Nemoira, the woman who changes her life in ways Judith never even thought of. An exploration of transformation, of metamorphosis, closure, retribution, nature, and healing.

⭐️79. PLEASE READ THIS LEAFLET CAREFULLY by karen havelin, (rep: endometriosis): The story of a woman whose body has become her enemy, tracking backward, from 2016 until 1995, etching details of daily life into a gripping and darkly humorous bildungsroman, about the intricacies of love and life in a fragile body. We meet Laura first as she works and cares for her young daughter, while struggling with debilitating pain and endometriosis, an invisible chronic illness. As the reader moves in reverse to meet Laura’s younger and somewhat healthier selves (a hopeful bride in New York, a baby queer in Paris, a figure skater in Norway) we uncover her tireless work to gain control of her identity, her illness and the conflicting demands made by doctors, friends, lovers and family.

⭐️80. THE PRETTY ONE by keah brown: From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America.

⭐️81. AN UNKINDESS OF GHOSTS by rivers solomon, (rep: autism): Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire. Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda’s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she’s willing to fight for it.

⭐️82. MOTOR CRUSH, (rep: one character is an amputee and another uses an inhaler): By day, Domino Swift competes for fame & fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush.

⭐️83. ALWAYS ONLY YOU by chloe liese, (rep: both the author and MC are autistic): An opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis to herself.

⭐️84. SO LUCKY by nicola griffith, (rep: multiple sclerosis): The sharp, surprising new novel by Nicola Griffith— the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America’s treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.

⭐️85. FULL DISCLOSURE by camryn garrett, (rep: HIV): In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love- and lust- for the first time.

⭐️86. SITTING PRETTY by rebekah taussig: A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting_pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.

⭐️87. SICK KIDS IN LOVE by hannah moskowitz, (rep: rheumatoid arthritis, gaucher disease): Isabel has one rule: no dating. She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis. But then she meets another sick kid. He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor. He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her. Isabel has one rule: no dating. It’s complicated. It’s dangerous. It’s never felt better to consider breaking that rule for him.

⭐️88. THE OCTOPUS MAN by jasper gibson, (rep: mental illness, schizophrenia): Once an outstanding law student Tom is now lost in the machinery of the British mental health system, talking to a voice no one else can hear: the voice of Malamock, the Octopus God – sometimes loving, sometimes cruel, but always there to guide him through life. After a florid psychotic break, the pressure builds for Tom to take part in an experimental drugs trial that promises to silence the voice forever. But no one, least of all Tom, is prepared for what happens when the Octopus God is seriously threatened.

⭐️89. WOW, NO THANKYOU by samantha irby, (rep: author has crohn’s disease): A new rip-roaring essay collection from the smart, edgy, hilarious, unabashedly raunchy, and bestselling Samantha Irby about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America, health food and skincare obsessions, money trouble, the real story of glamorous Hollywood life and more.

⭐️90. VAGINA PROBLEMS by lara parker, (rep: endometriosis): When Lara first started experiencing what she calls her Vagina Problems, she was just 14 years old. The pain was constant, and worse around her period. But if she’d learned anything about periods before she even started her own, it was that you didn’t talk about that shit. This was only the beginning of Lara’s seven-year journey to find out what was going on in her body. It took multiple doctors, thousands of dollars, and a refusal to take no for an answer for her to finally have some sort of understanding of what was causing her so much pain. Now Lara is ready take an honest, funny, relatable, and raw look at how Vagina Problems have affected every single part of her life. From fighting to get a diagnosis, to maintaining relationships through illness and depression, to working a full-time job with chronic pain, to navigating the dating scene when she can’t have sex—this book will have it all. Lara acts as a guide, a confidant, a friend, an outlet, and a support system to anyone who has ever gone through Vagina Problems.

⭐️91. SOFT ANIMALS by esme weijun wang: A provocative and suspenseful novel, with elements of queerness and the supernatural, about a chronically ill woman who moves into a small-town lodge with her volatile husband.

⭐️92. SICK WITCH by crystal hurdle: SICK WITCH lures the narrator on a metaphoric/literal vision quest through the hallucinatory terrain of undiagnosed and undiagnosable medical afflictions in poems that playfully explore connections between physical and mental illness. Compelling fever dreams tackle disorders, from allergy to somnambulism, from retinal detachment to schizophrenia, from avian flu to ALS, beyond the insular country of the sickbed. Here are tales both grim and Grimm, complemented by lessons from other patients, and leavened through a series of Letters to an Insurance Adjuster, who may or may not be a good wizard. Disquieting images from myth and pop culture compel the reader to join in the dance down the yellow brick road. X may mark the spot, but is it malignant? Or does it lead to Health?

⭐️93. THE TIDAL ZONE by sarah moss: Adam is a stay-at-home dad who one day receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, 15 year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers.

⭐️94. WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU by tessa miller, (rep: crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease): A riveting and candid account of a young journalist’s awakening to a life of chronic illness, weaving together her personal story with reporting to shed light on how Americans live with long-term diagnoses today.

⭐️95. THE RAGING QUIET by sherryl jordan, (rep: one of the MC’s is deaf): A newcomer to the tiny village of Tocurra befriends a young man whose deafness has left him isolated from his fellow villagers. Marnie and Raver learn to communicate through a series of hand gestures, but when a death shakes the village, their special, silent bond causes the two to fall under suspicion of witchcraft.

⭐️96. THE TEA DRAGON SOCIETY by katie o neill, (rep: one of the characters uses a wheelchair): A beloved and charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives- and eventually her own.

⭐️97. CRIPTIONARY by maria palacios: This book is a one-of-a-kind weapon against ignorance. Written in a dictionary format, the author takes full ownership of derogatory and offensive terms about people with disabilities.

⭐️98. THE LAST ILLUSION by porochista khakpour: In an Iranian village, Zal’s demented mother, horrified by the pallor of his skin and hair, is convinced she has given birth to a “white demon.” She hides him in a birdcage for the next decade. Rescued by a behavioral analyst, Zal awakens in New York to the possibility of a future. A stunted and unfit adolescent, he strives to become human as he stumbles toward adulthood. As New York survives one potential disaster, Y2K, and begins hurtling toward another, 9/11, Zal finds himself in a cast of fellow outsiders. A friendship with a famous illusionist who claims—to the Bird Boy’s delight—that he can fly and an affair with a disturbed artist who believes she is clairvoyant send Zal’s life spiraling into chaos.

⭐️99. THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by stephanie oakes, (rep: the MC is an amputee): The Kevinian cult has taken everything from 17 year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too. Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something— but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of— if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

⭐️100. THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY by Jean-Dominique Bauby: In December 1995, Jean-Dominique, editor-in-chief of French ‘Elle’ and the father of two young children, suffered a massive stroke and found himself paralysed and speechless, but entirely conscious, trapped by what doctors call ‘locked-in syndrome’. Using his only functioning muscle – his left eyelid – he began dictating this remarkable story, painstakingly spelling it out letter by letter. His book offers a haunting, harrowing look inside the cruel prison of locked-in syndrome, but it is also a triumph of the human spirit.

⭐️101. A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by brigid kemmerer, (rep: cerebral palsy): Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world. Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

7 thoughts on “101 disability and illness books

  1. This is so amazing. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort that went into this. I am sure every single person who reads this will appreciate this so much. Thank you. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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