New Neurodiverse Books by Neurodivergent Authors
Searching for some great new books with neurodiversity representation to read this year? Well, look no further! I’ve got 5 fantastic recommendations that’ll be sure to entertain and educate.
Before I get into all the juicy details though, it’s important to note that each of these books are written by actual neurodiverse authors. It’s crucial that we write about neurodiversity and mental health in a positive way that accurately portrays the disorder or illness. That’s why it’s so important that when writing from the perspective of a character who lives with a mental illness or disorder, it should be done by a neurodivergent author with that illness or disorder. Writing about a certain disorder or illness without actually having the specific disorder or illness is just as harmful as not writing about it all. You wouldn’t write about the struggles of living in poverty if you hadn’t actually lived in poverty (at least not accurately). By writing about these sensitive topics without having personal experience with them, we risk spreading misinformation that fuels stigmas and stereotypes around these already severely misunderstood disorders and illnesses. As Nic Stone said perfectly in an interview with Shondaland, “When you’re talking about something like mental health, you can do all the research in the world, but that’s not going to give you the insight necessary to tell an authentic story. It’s not like writing about things [that] you can get a decent grip on by doing a Google search, because psychiatric disorders manifest in different ways.”
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk and, without further ado, here are some neurodiverse books written by neurodivergent authors to add to your TBR (you can thank me later).
1. Two Wrongs Make A Right (The Wilmot Sisters #1) by Chloe Liese
Pictures and information obtained from Chloe Liese | Follow @chloe_liese on Instagram
This spicy adult rom-com puts a spin on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and is perfect for fans of the enemies-to-lovers and fake-dating trope!
Neurodiverse Representation: Autism
Synopsis: Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?
About the Author: Chloe Liese is a late-diagnosed autistic woman who writes love stories about neurodivergent characters like herself in order to destigmatize neurodiversity and show that everyone is worthy of a love story. She is the author of The Bergman Brothers series, and The Wilmot Sisters is her latest series. Learn more about Chloe here.
2. Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
Pictures and information obtained from Talia Hibbert | Follow @taliahibbert on Instagram
A cute Young Adult rom-com about two ex-friends finding their way back to one another and possibly igniting more than just their former platonic love (*wink wink*). I would definitely recommend this book for people who love academic rivalry and slow-burn romance!
Neurodiverse Representation: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Synopsis: Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He's a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.
Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption--yet, she's still not cool enough for the popular kids' table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that's how Celine sees it.)
These days, there's nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she's surprised to find Brad right beside her.
Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?
About the Author: Talia Herbert is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author diagnosed with autism, OCD, and fibromyalgia who writes diverse romance to spread honest and positive representation. She is the author of the Brown Sisters trilogy and Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute is her Young Adult debut book. Learn more about Talia here.
3. Chaos Theory by Nic Stone
Pictures and information obtained from Nic Stone | Follow @nicstone on Instagram
This informative and educational Young Adult contemporary novel discuss many sensitive issues, including mental health issues, alcoholism, parental abuse, teen pregnancy, abortion, suicidal tendencies, and self-harm, so please be kind to yourself and read at your own risk. Told in dual POV, if you’re looking for a painfully honest novel about the reality of living with a mental illness, this is the book for you!
Neurodiverse Representation: Bipolar Disorder
Synopsis: Scars exist to remind us of what we've survived.
Since Shelbi enrolled at Windward Academy as a senior and won't be there very long, she hasn't bothered making friends. What her classmates don't know about her can't be used to hurt her--you know, like it did at her last school.
Andy Criddle is not okay. At all.
He's had far too much to drink.
Again. Which is bad.
And things are about to get worse.
When Shelbi sees Andy at his lowest, she can relate. So she doesn't resist reaching out. And there's no doubt their connection has them both seeing stars . . . but the closer they get, the more the past threatens to pull their universes apart.
About the Author: Nic Stone is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Young Adult novel Dear Martin who strives to bring diverse voices and stories to her work. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder type two along with other multiple psychiatric disorders and advocates for the importance of telling neurodivergent stories by neurodivergent authors. Learn more about Nic here.
4. The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes
Pictures and information obtained from Sonora Reyes | Follow @sonora.reyes on Instagram
If you liked Moxie, you’re sure to fall in love with this Young Adult contemporary novel full of queer, Latinx, and autistic representation. This book discusses sexual assault so, again, please take of yourself and read at your own risk.
Neurodiverse Representation: Autism
Synopsis: Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.
Luis’s attention soon turns to something more and they have sex at a party—while Ari didn’t say no, she definitely didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumor mill begins churning—thanks, she’s sure, to Luis’s ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.
Then Ari finds a mysterious note in her locker which eventually leads her to an unlikely group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But in order to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night—and risk everything to see justice done.
About the Author: Sonora Reyes is a queer and autistic bestselling author of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School. They write fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in many genres, with current projects in kidlit and adult categories. Learn more about Sonora here.
This book will be released on May 23, 2023.
5. Tilly in Technicolor by Mazey Eddings
Pictures and information obtained from Mazey Eddings | Follow @mazeyeddings on Instagram
Have wanderlust and looking for a fun adventure to embark on? Then this sweet Young Adult romance is the book for you! Follow two neurodivergent teens as they fall in love over the course of one unforgettable summer while traveling Europe.
Neurodiverse Representation: ADHD and Autism
Synopsis: Tilly Twomley is desperate for change. White-knuckling her way through high school with flawed executive functioning has left her burnt out and ready to start fresh. Working as an intern for her perfect older sister’s start up isn’t exactly how Tilly wants to spend her summer, but the required travel around Europe promises a much-needed change of scenery as she plans for her future. The problem is, Tilly has no idea what she wants.
Oliver Clark knows exactly what he wants. His autism has often made it hard for him to form relationships with others, but his love of color theory and design allows him to feel deeply connected to the world around him. Plus, he has everything he needs: a best friend that gets him, placement into a prestigious design program, and a summer internship to build his resume. Everything is going as planned. That is, of course, until he suffers through the most disastrous international flight of his life, all turmoil stemming from lively and exasperating Tilly. Oliver is forced to spend the summer with a girl that couldn’t be more his opposite—feeling things for her he can’t quite name—and starts to wonder if maybe he doesn’t have everything figured out after all.
As the duo’s neurodiverse connection grows, they learn that some of the best parts of life can’t be planned, and are forced to figure out what that means as their disastrously wonderful summer comes to an end.
About the Author: Mazey Eddings is a neurodiverse dentist and author of the A Brush With Love trilogy who has anxiety, ADHD, and autism. She’s made it her personal mission to destigmatize mental health issues and write love stories for every brain. Learn more about Mazey here.
This book will be released on August 15, 2023.
In the wise words of Bugs Bunny, “That’s all folks!” Find any you like? Comment down below which book(s) you’re most excited to read!
Grant, Kayla. “Nic Stone Aims to Destigmatize Mental Illness Disorders in Her Latest Novel, 'Chaos Theory'.” Shondaland, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.shondaland.com/inspire/books/a43102630/nic-stone-destigmatize-mental-illness-disorders-chaos-theory/.