11 New Books About Disability
July 26, 2022, marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and these 2022 debut novels are here to represent. As diverse as the umbrella of disability itself, these books cover a variety of age ranges, issues, and genres -- something for every TBR pile!
Dad's Girlfriend and Other Anxieties by Kellye Crocker
Out September 1, 2022 from Albert Whitman & Co.
When her father takes her to Colorado to meet his girlfriend for the first time, 12-year-old Ava must come to grips with both her newly diagnosed anxiety disorder and her rapidly changing family. But she learns from the mountains that it's okay to want two opposite things at once, and that the bravest people are the ones who are scared but do what's right anyway.
The Grave Thief by Dee Hahn
Out March 1, 2022 from Tundra Books, Penguin Random House
Features: Physical disability
Twelve-year-old Spade is a grave thief. With his father and brother, he digs up the recently deceased to steal jewels, the main form of trade in Wyndhail.
Digging graves works for Spade -- alone in the graveyard at night, no one notices his limp or calls him names. He's headed for a lifetime of theft when his father comes up with the audacious plan to rob a grave in the Wyndhail castle cemetery. Spade and his brother get caught in a royal trap, and Spade must find the master of the Woegon: a deadly creature that is stalking the castle by night.
Along the way, he meets Ember, the queen's niece, and together they race to solve the mystery of the legendary Deepstones and their connection to the Woegon, the queen, a missing king and the mysterious pebble Spade finds in the Wyndhail cemetery.
This is a fantastic story of friendship, bravery, grief and acceptance.
The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters
Out January 18, 2022 from Harper Collins
Logan Foster is an undersized, neurodivergent 12-year-old orphan with a photographic memory and zero filter. He has no expectations of ever being adopted and spends his spare time searching for the younger sibling he believes is still out there. But when he’s fostered by a kind, suburban couple who are clearly hiding something from him, Logan’s logical mind won’t stop until he uncovers the super-secret truth; superheroes are real… and his new foster folks are actual superhumans.
Air by Monica Roe
Out March 15, 2022 from FSG/Macmillan
Features: Physical disability
An action-packed, empowering middle grade novel about a girl who has to speak up when her wheelchair motocross dreams get turned upside down.
Twelve-year-old Emmie is working to raise money for a tricked-out wheelchair to get serious about WCMX, when a mishap on a poorly designed ramp at school throws her plans into a tailspin. Instead of replacing the ramp, her school provides her with a kind but unwelcome aide--and, seeing a golden media opportunity, launches a public fundraiser for her new wheels. Emmie loves her close-knit rural town, but she can't shake the feeling that her goals--and her choices--suddenly aren't hers anymore. With the help of her best friends, Emmie makes a plan to get her dreams off the ground--and show her community what she wants, what she has to give, and how ready she is to do it on her own terms.
Air is a smart, energetic middle grade debut about thinking big, working hard, and taking flight.
Speech and Debacles by Heather DiAngelis
Out May 31, 2022 from Finch Books
Features: Chronic pain/illness, endometriosis
Drama class is nothing like Taryn Platt’s favorite TV show—no one has broken out into song yet, and there isn’t nearly as much kissing. But the seventeen-year-old is surprised to find one thing going the way she’d hoped. It turns out she’s not half bad at acting. When her Drama teacher recruits her for the school’s powerhouse Speech and Debate team, she can’t believe her luck. Even better when she finds out the guy catching her eye, Riker, is one of the team’s strongest competitors—and hopefully he got the hint she likes boys as well as girls. But when painful, amped-up cramps invade her pelvis, performing on demand and getting close to Riker become increasingly less feasible.
Up until junior year, Riker Lucas had one life goal—break into the world of voice acting to perform videogame voiceovers. Then one look from the green-eyed new girl from Speech brings on a second goal—getting himself over the hurdle of actually talking to her. The task proves impossible when a nagging inner voice constantly reminds him how worthless he is, how he doesn’t stand a chance.
Taryn’s pain worsens, keeping her out of commission at the most inopportune moments, and Riker’s oppressive self-denigrating thoughts steal his interest from his favorite activities. As Riker and Taryn float closer together and then farther apart, they both must work to find solutions for coping—or they’ll miss out on each other as well as their performance goals.
The Moth Girl by Heather Kamins
Out March 8, 2022 from Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Features: Chronic illness
Anna is a regular teenaged girl. She runs track with her best friend, gets good grades, and sometimes drinks beer at parties. But one day at track practice, Anna falls unconscious . . . but instead of falling down, she falls up, defying gravity in the disturbing first symptom of a mysterious disease.
This begins a series of trips to the hospital that soon become Anna’s norm. She’s diagnosed with lepidopsy: a rare illness that causes symptoms reminiscent of moths: floating, attraction to light, a craving for sugar, and for an unlucky few, more dangerous physical manifestations.
Anna’s world is turned upside down, and as she learns to cope with her illness, she finds herself drifting further and further away from her former life. Her friends don’t seem to understand, running track is out of the question, and the other kids at the disease clinic she attends once a week are a cruel reminder that things will never be the same.
From debut author Heather Kamins comes a beautiful and evocative story about one girl’s journey of choosing who she wants to be—in a life she never planned for.
One for All by Lillie Lainoff
Out March 8, 2022 from Macmillan / FSG
One for All is an OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.
Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl.” But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion. Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for new Musketeers: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a sword fight.
With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels that she has a purpose, that she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming—and might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.
Lillie Lainoff's debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.
The Turning Pointe by Vanessa Torres
Out February 22, 2022 from Knopf Books For Young Readers
A bold and emotionally gripping novel about a teenage Latinx girl finding freedom through dance and breaking expectations in 1980s Minnesota.
When sixteen-year-old Rosa Dominguez pirouettes, she is poetry in pointe shoes. And as the daughter of a tyrant ballet Master, Rosa seems destined to become the star principal dancer of her studio. But Rosa would do anything for one hour in the dance studio upstairs where Prince, the Purple One himself, is in the house.
After her father announces their upcoming auditions for a concert with Prince, Rosa is more determined than ever to succeed. Then Nikki--the cross-dressing, funky boy who works in the dance shop--leaps into her life. Weighed down by family expectations, Rosa is at a crossroads, desperate to escape so she can show everyone what she can do when freed of her pointe shoes. Now is her chance to break away from a life in tulle, grooving to that unmistakable Minneapolis sound reverberating through every bone in her body.
Goth Girl, Queen of the Universe by Lindsay S. Zrull
Out July 19, 2022 from Flux
Features: Mental illness
Bounced between foster homes since the age of seven, Jessica knows better than to set down roots. Most of the kids at her new Michigan high school think she’s a witch anyway (because, you know, goth). The only one who gives her the time of day is geeky Oscar, who wants to recruit her fashion skills for his amateur cosplay group. But Jess is fine showing off her looks to her Insta fans—until a woman claiming to be her biological mother barges into her DMs.
Jess was claimed by the state when her bio mom’s mental illness made her unstable. While their relationship is far from traditional, blood ties are hard to break. There’s only one problem: Jess can’t reunite with her mom in New York City without a bunch of paperwork and she worries her social worker will never approve the trip. That’s when she remembers Oscar’s cosplay group, who are aiming for that big convention in New York…
So Jess joins Oscar’s team—with every intention of using them to get to her mom. But her plan gets complicated when she discovers that, actually, cosplay is pretty great, and so is having friends. And Oscar, who Jess thought was just a shy nerd, can be as gallant and charming as the heroes he pretends to be. As the big convention draws near, Jess will have to decide whether or not chasing a dream of “family” is worth risking the family she’s built for herself.
Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins
Out January 4, 2022 from Graydon House/HarperCollins
Features: Meniere's disease
They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé's house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.
That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on-site and off, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter...
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia
Out August 9, 2022 from Tachyon Publications
In this intricately layered debut fantasy, a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic discovers a strange disease causing political rifts in their new homeland. Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a gripping narrative with a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family.
Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other traditional Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic.
But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly performed blood magic. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.
Powerful and fascinating, The Bruising of Qilwa is the newest arrival in the era of fantasy classics such as the Broken Earth Trilogy, The Four Profound Weaves, and Who Fears Death.
List curated by: Heather Kamins
Posted to the blog by: Ren Hutchings
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