The Best Fiction Books by Disabled Authors Coming in 2023

As it’s World Book day, we wanted to shine a light on some of the incredible disabled authors who are writing fantastic stories with disabled characters. It’s so important that disabled people see themselves in stories of all kinds without their disabilities being the main plot point, so here are some we can’t wait to read. Click on the titles to pre-order and buy.

Swifter than Starlight by Cerrie Burnell – 13th July

Set ten years after last year’s smash fairytale retelling Wilder than Midnight, this see’s a return to the faraway woods that have been changed by time. It’s the fascinating story of found family, smart girls getting in and out of trouble and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Like a curse Elle Mcnicollout now

The follow-up to Like a Charm sees neurodivergent and magical Rayma trying to rescue her beloved city of Edinburgh from the grip of sirens. The thrilling and heartwarming tale of acceptance follows Rayma rushing to learn the true meaning of her powers before she loses everything. This is the fourth book from the incredible Elle, whose novel A Kind of Spark will be getting it’s screen debut in the coming months.

The Cassandra Complex (UK title) / Cassandra in Reverse (US title) by Holly Smale – 9th May

The author of the outstanding Geek Girl has written her first adult fiction! This book sees Cassie stuck in an endless loop of a terrible day which includes being dumped and losing her job, but will things keep going wrong for her when she has infinite chances to get them right? Keep an eye on The Unwritten out for an interview with Holly around May time. We also can’t wait for the Netflix adaptation of Geek Girl!

The Stickleback Catchers by Lisette Auton – out now

The second book from the self-described “wonky author”, is an absolutely beautiful story about loss, family, and friendship. The story centres around Mimi and her Nan who has dementia. At the heart, the book is about accepting your circumstances and not letting your past stop you.

It’s a personal favourite of mine (Rachel) because Lisette always sets her books in the northeast so uses dialect I was ridiculed for. The way the kids use language that describes them instead of diagnosis is something adults could learn from, as is the love of gallows humour and poking fun at ourselves.

Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones – 1st June

The incredible authors first middle grade book follows an autistic girl discovering she’s part of a magical destiny to save the world. The book combines welsh mythology, with friendship, science to tell a magical tale.

Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler – April 18th

With a main character with Bipolar disorder, Adelaide is a modern love story from author Genevieve Wheeler. Channelling Dolly Alderton and shades of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, Adelaide has unflinching honesty, and zany warmth; this raw, vulnerable novel captures what it’s like to be young and in love—with your friends, with your city, and with a person who cannot, will not, love you back. 

Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman – out now

With an autistic main character and fae changelings in a YA fantasy setting, Unseelie has a killer concept. It’s the story of twin sisters, one a changeling and the other her human sister, as “they embark upon the heist of a lifetime for a mystery legacy”.

With a magical sister not able to fit in with the humans around her, this fantasy is placed to explore the fae and human world, as well as ableism in both, through an autistic lens. Housman makes sure to weave the real-world diagnosis into her fantasy world and mythology. 

Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See  – 6th June

A new highly anticipated LGBTQ+ romance story by the author of You, Me, and Our Heartstrings. A YA contemporary retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac sees Joy, a panromantic asexual girl with cerebral palsy seeking love advice from an anonymous student at her academy.

Melissa is known for her activism around LGBTQIA+ and disability rights, and this book looks romantic, fun, and full of the tropes that are making the romance genre a huge smash in publishing as of late. 

The Secret Summer Promise by Keah Brown – 9th May

Following the success of her memoir The Pretty One Keah’s YA debut is a summer read full of “nerdy queer love”. This is set to be one to take on your beach holidays for sure, and the representation promises to be great, especially as Brown is known for her activism in the disability space, creating the hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

The First Move by Jenny Ireland – 13th April

This debut novel combines chess, love, and navigating disability into one neat package, with a beautiful cover. Juliet believes girls like her with arthritis don’t get their own love stories. She exists at the edges of her friends’ social lives, skipping parties to play online chess under a pseudonym with strangers around the world. It’s this world, and the love she finds within it, that will spark a romance Juliet never expected.

Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star by Laura Noakes – 25th May

Cosima Unfortunate lives in a Home for Unfortunate Girls – a school where any disabled children, or children deemed different, are sent, whether their families want it or not. There she makes new friends, and they begin to pull off small heists – of cakes, biscuits and other sweet goodies.

But it’s when Cosima discovers that she and her friends are going to be adopted by Lord Francis Fitzroy, the explorer behind the Empire Exhibition, they decide to steal Fitzroy’s prized tiara instead, all whilst discovering the truth behind her parents. This children’s debut sounds right up our street!

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By Rachel Charlton-Dailey

Founder and Editor in Chief

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