Femathon Disability/Neurodiversity Recommendations

I’ll be co-hosting Femathon in March; come join in! I really need to up my disability/neurodiversity reads game, so if you have any suggestions for more books on this topic please do let me know.

I have had Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc on my radar for a while now and recently found it on sale, so I’ll probably be reading this one in March. The book blurb tells you everything I currently know about it. I would say it could probably also count as Fem Fights Back?

In fairy tales, happy endings are the norm—as long as you’re beautiful and walk on two legs. After all, the ogre never gets the princess. And since fairy tales are the foundational myths of our culture, how can a girl with a disability ever think she’ll have a happy ending?

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—the beautiful princess, the glass slipper, the maiden with long hair lost in the tower—and tries to make sense of them through a twenty-first-century disablist lens. From examinations of disability in tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen through to modern interpretations ranging from Disney to Angela Carter, and the fight for disabled representation in today’s media, Leduc connects the fight for disability justice to the growth of modern, magical stories, and argues for increased awareness and acceptance of that which is other—helping us to see and celebrate the magic inherent in different bodies.

– Goodreads Book Blurb

I absolutely ADORE Katie O’Neill’s art style, and the story she has created in The Tea Dragon Society is equally adorable. I’m not sure whether to classify this as a “Children” children’s book or as a Middle Grade level novel. Either way, everyone needs this book in their life. This could count in Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, LGBTQIA+, and possibly BIPOC (if you count fey diversity that are very humanoid and of multiple skin tones).

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a 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. 

– Goodreads Book Blurb

The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a LANDMARK book that changed how mental illness patients were treated back in the day. You should totally check out this crash course literature video about it. If you’re looking for a short story about severe mental illness that’s considered a Gothic Horror Classic, you need to read this novella – it originally came out in the 1890’s and can be found for free online from many sources. This could also count in Classic and Fems Fight Back.

A woman and her husband rent a summer house, but what should be a restful getaway turns into a suffocating psychological battle. This chilling account of postpartum depression and a husband’s controlling behavior in the guise of treatment will leave you breathless.

– Goodreads Book Blurb

I started following Molly Burke before I was diagnosed with EDS. When I found out she was publishing her book, It’s Not What It Looks Like, I knew I had to get it. Unfortunately I think it’s only available via audiobook, but also that totally makes sense since Molly is blind. This could also count in Fem Positive, Non Fiction, and Fems Fight Back.

In an audiobook like none you’ve ever heard before, blind YouTube star Molly Burke speaks with authenticity and candor about being a purple-haired, pink-loving fashion and makeup lover in a seeing world. 

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, Burke has been legally blind since age five, and became completely sightless as a teenager. Here, she tackles the preconceived notions we have around blindness, her struggles with bullying and anxiety, inclusivity, how she built her successful influencer business (with over 1.8 million followers), and what it’s really like to travel the globe with her service dog, Gallop, now that everyone has an emotional support animal. (Hint: Really hard!) 

This is a beautifully voiced, honest, and rousing journey of a young woman who has made it her mission to make us see her and the disability community in a totally new way.

– Goodreads Book Blurb

Do you want SciFi with disabled representation? As long as you like YA intro to SciFi level books you’ll probably like Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Yes, it’s very StarTrek reminiscent, and yes, the authors are very aware of that (so much so that the second book in the series references TNG and Voyager). This series could also count in Fem Positive and Fems Fight Back.

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

– Goodreads Book Blurb

I haven’t read Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert yet, but I’ve heard many good things about it on BookTube. The only thing that’s kept me from reading it is that I haven’t exactly been in the mood for a RomCom, but when I am I will be reaching for this book. This could also count in Fem Positive and BIPOC Rep.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion.
The next items

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

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…

– Goodreads Book BLurb

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch putting LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff on this list, but hear me out. This YA Dystopian SciFi book has augmented characters, characters that have gone through traumatic life changes, some of them are very “different” from the majority of society (I can’t tell you why without giving away spoilers), and some of the characters in this series have to reinvent themselves after going through some changes. Also, on the daily I feel like my life is not my own since my body often controls how I get to live my life – often contrary to what I’d rather be doing. This could also count in Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, and Fems Fight Back.

It’s just another day on the Scrap: lose the last of your credits at the WarDome, dodge the gangs and religious fanatics, discover you can destroy electronics with your mind, stumble upon the deadliest robot ever built When Eve finds the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend and her robotic sidekick in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, battle cyborg assassins, and scour abandoned megacities to save the ones she lovesand learn the dark secrets of her past.

– Goodreads Book Blurb

Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? What else should I add to this list? ❤

Published by Victoria Mendes

I'm just a house-wife trying to cook good meals on a budget.

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