Today is World Autism Awareness Day and it makes for a great opportunity to share fiction recommendations that feature autistic characters. While there’s definitely a long way to go, there is a beautiful growth in neurodivergent visibility across media. Whether it’s the recent TV show, A Kind of Spark, or the recently announced adaptation of Geek Girl by Holly Smale. To add to this growing list of autistic representation, here are twenty-four new and upcoming books with autistic characters. Please note: a few books on here are by autistic authors but don’t have an autistic character.
Something More by Jackie Khalilieh
A contemporary teen romance novel featuring a Palestinian-Canadian girl trying to hide her autism diagnosis while navigating her first year of high school with a list of goals —ranging from a magical first kiss to landing a spot in the school play— and soon gets more than she bargained for when two very different boys steal her heart. Buy now!
Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman
Twin sisters on a run: one in search of a fabled treasure, the other searching for the truth of behind her origin as a changeling. The latter’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her it fit in and when a heist goes wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unravelling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike. Buy now!
Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See
Less than a year away from graduation, Joy is determined to become the first disabled valedictorian of her school. Wondering if she has missed out on a quintessential high school experience by not having fallen in love, she writes to an anonymous student for love advice and finds herself falling for someone unexpected in this queer romance story. Buy now!
The Maid by Nita Prose
A maid who struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others is targeted as a lead suspect —due to her unusual demeanour— for the death of someone wealthy and infamous in a disarrayed hotel room. With friends she never knew she had, she must untangle the web of deception she is caught in, in this locked-room mystery. Buy now!
Note: the author has never clearly stated if the protagonist is autistic but readers have inferred and often suggested this title.
Tell Me How It Ends by Quinton Li
A lesbian tarot reader with anxiety and autism can predict the future and uncover a person’s secrets. When given an ultimatum from her watchful mother to prove her worth for the family business, she can’t help but accept a charming young person’s high sum for her talents. In return: she must help rescue a falsely imprisoned witch from the royals. Buy now!
If Only You by Chloe Liese
In this sports romance, the youngest player on the National team is thoroughly sick of being underestimated and has decided she needs her brother’s best friend to give her reputation an edge—proposing a fake friendship with real benefits. His hockey career is in jeopardy so a public friendship to rehab his image is one he can’t refuse. Now all he needs to do is not fall for his best friend’s sister. Buy now!
Izzy at the End of the World by K.A. Reynolds
In this middle grade adventure, a teen autistic girl feels like it’s the end of the world when her mother passes away. One night, when a mysterious flash is seen across the mountain, everyone except her and her dog have disappeared in an instant. Now more alone than ever, she must battle monsters and decode cryptic messages to uncover a hidden truth. Buy now!
Against the Stars by Christopher Hartland
Questioning his sexuality, Elliot turns to a tech company that offers a chance to glimpse a vision of his future: an intimate moment with the ‘one gay kid’ in his year at school. Seb is dealing with his mother’s depression when he finds himself bumping into Elliot again and again. As the world becomes tense rumours of an apocalypse, this speculative queer romance pulls them closer. Buy now!
Note: the author is autistic but the book doesn’t include an autistic character.
Tilly in Technicolor by Mazey Eddings
Tilly is burnt out but the required travel around Europe promises a much-needed change of scenery as she plans for her future. Oliver’s autism makes it hard for him to form relationships but he has everything he needs: a best friend and a summer internship. When he 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—the neurodivergent teens form a connection in this YA debut. Buy now!
Like a Curse by Elle McNicoll
A sequel to Like a Charm—the middle-grade tale of a young girl with a learning disability, dyspraxia. She is a witch and is learning magic from her aunt but that isn’t going as smoothly as she’s hoped. As a terrifyingly powerful Siren takes control of the city, she must rescue her friends while learning the true meaning of her powers. Buy now!
Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt
In this novel-in-verse, a young autistic girl knows her rules for being normal: keeping her feelings locked tightly inside. But when she explodes one day and hits a fellow student, the familiar world starts to crumble. As she starts to figure out more about who she is, soon she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Buy now!
The Ojja-Wojja by Magdalene Visaggio
In a small town like any other, two best friends —one queer and the other on a spectrum— take their school project about their hometown’s supernatural history to the next level when it leads to a for-real ghost sighting: they accidentally summon a demonic presence. Now, they and their small group of friends must return things to normal in this new graphic novel series. Buy now!
Jude Saves the World by Ronnie Riley
In this queer middle-grade debut, a nonbinary kid struggles with some things like focusing at school. But they don’t struggle with their best friend. When a girl —ousted from the popular clique for a rumoured crush on another girl— becomes an important friend of them, the three form a deep friendship. And decide to create a safe space in their community. Buy now!
Correction: the author isn’t autistic and the book doesn’t include an autistic character; the title is still on the list for neurodivergent visibility but readers are advised to note this correction.
This Is the Way the World Ends by Jen Wilde
An autistic scholarship student attends the school’s annual fundraising Masquerade especially for the dean’s daughter and her secret ex-girlfriend, who will be there. But when she stumbles into a secret meeting between the dean and the school’s top donors—and witnesses a brutal murder—she and her friends must survive the night while mysterious global blackout puts the entire party on lockdown. Buy now!
The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes
In this YA revenge story, a queer and autistic girl is struggling to word what happened and decide if she has the right to be mad with the cute, popular person she had sex with at a party—where she didn’t say no but she definitely didn’t say yes. But when she finds other students determined to expose this predator, she decides to take him down. Buy now!
The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn by Sally J. Pla
A contemporary middle-grade novel that follows a young neurodivergent girl during a remarkable summer with her dad—full of surfing lessons and new friends—that might give her the courage to share the terrible secret about life with her mom and stepdad. Buy now!
A Prayer for Vengeance by Leanne Schwartz
In a city besieged by monsters and ruled by her perfect sister, a plus-size princess is trapped in stone by a powerful temple leader who overthrew her sister. Centuries later, an autistic temple ward accidentally wakes the vengeful princess who must break the city’s faith in the man who betrayed her—and avenge her sister. Buy now!
How to Sell Your Blood and Fall in Love by D.N. Bryn
The second book in a series of paranormal romances, this story features an Ivy League a-spec vampire who’s never been in love before and an inner-city man who’s sworn off relationships for the last decade as they struggle to combine their different worlds and find a fire in each other hotter than they thought possible. Buy now!
The Fall is All There Is by C.M. Caplan
When the king of a post-apocalyptic world —where cyborg horses are ridden and peopled infected with ghostfog turn dangerous— is dead, a reluctant son (one of the four heirs) comes back home for a high stakes family reunion where he must navigate a deadly web of intrigue to regain his independence without tearing apart the country. Buy now!
Second Chance Summer by Sarah Kapit
In this middle-grade novel, Maddie and Chloe have always been best friends—until last year, when Chloe’s popularity and budding fame as an actor left Maddie in the dust one too many times. But when they arrive at camp and find themselves to be cabinmates they will have to survive summer camp as ex-besties…or decide if it’s time to try again. Buy now!
Note: the author is autistic but the book doesn’t include an autistic character.
The Reanimator’s Heart by Kara Jorgensen
An investigator for the Paranormal Society, Felipe, and a reluctant necromancer, Oliver, come together to uncover a plot centuries in the making when a mysterious death occurs. Oliver has been in love with Felipe for years so when he finds Felipe murdered, he accidentally brings him back from the dead. Now they must find the killer. Buy now!
which of these books have you read? 💛
N O T E
This list is primarily curated on the basis of the book having an autistic character but there’s always a scope of error when it comes to putting together a list. To be very clear, this list is not meant to gatekeep authors or their work, so it doesn’t claim all the authors as autistic. But a few titles are included to highlight the autistic author despite the story not having an autistic character. If an author doesn’t wish to be included in this list, please contact me and I’ll definitely accommodate your request. If a reader has any corrections to suggest, I’d be happy to double check and make appropriate changes.
2 replies on “21 New & Upcoming Books With Autistic Characters — World Autism Awareness Day”
thank you so much Fanna for sharing this list! as an #ActuallyAutistic and neurodivergent girl myself, lists like these truly mean the world and more to me 🙂
by the way, I recently read an ARC of Tilly in Technicolor and the autistic & ADHD representation was so beautifully done! it was easily a 5-star read for me and I would 10/10 recommend this one in a heartbeat to anyone looking for authentic neurodivergent representation (as well as a new-favorite OTP to ship!)
Ooh thank you I added a whole bunch of books to my tbr! They all look so cute and I hope I can read some of them this year.