12 Novels Featuring Protagonists on the Autism Spectrum

If you’re looking to stock your library with romance, mystery, or adventure, these novels all feature main characters that are either explicitly or implicitly on the autism spectrum.

This Autism Awareness month (and every month), it’s important to recognize the need for positive representation in fiction, as well as the amazing impact that neurodiversity has on literature. From alluring love interests to powerful protagonists, novels centering on neurodiverse characters are essential to ensuring proper representation in media. If you’re looking to stock your library with romance, mystery, or adventure, these novels all feature main characters that are either explicitly or implicitly on the autism spectrum.

 

FICTION

Holdstock, Pauline. Here I Am. Biblioasis. 2019. ISBN 9781771963091.
A wide range of readers from late adolescence on will find this compelling story of one neurodiverse youngster’s adventure full of psychological depth and rich characterization. (Jacqueline Snider, LJ 11/19)

Honeyman, Gail. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Pamela Dorman: Viking. 2017. ISBN 9780735220683.
Honeyman's exquisite, heartbreaking, funny, and irresistible novel brings to life a character so original and pitch-perfect that it is nearly impossible to believe this is a debut. Surprises abound as the author boldly turns literary expectations upside down and gives to her readers Eleanor Oliphant, who, yes, is completely, beautifully fine. (Beth Andersen, LJ 2/15/17)

Ludwig, Benjamin. The Original Ginny Moon. Park Row: Harlequin. 2017. ISBN 9780778330165.
Ludwig's triumphant achievement is borne from his own experience as the adoptive parent of a teen with autism; his gorgeous, wrenching portrayal of Ginny's ability to communicate what she needs is perfection. (Beth Andersen, LJ 3/15/17)

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Result. Text. (Don Tillman, Bk. 3). 2019. ISBN 9781925773811.
Simsion's intriguing look into the mind of a person with autism follows Don as he moves through a changing life. As always, his lighthearted humor and wonderful group of friends add a great touch, and the story will give readers a lot to think about when regarding autism in their communities. Highly recommended. (Brooke Bolton, LJ 5/19 )
 

ROMANCE

Graves, Tracey Garvis. The Girl He Used To Know. St. Martin’s. 2019. ISBN 9781250200358.
Smart, lovely, and neurodiverse Annika avoids the tumult of the crowd, preferring the kind of quiet discipline she finds in chess. That’s how she meets outgoing Jonathan, beating him at his first game when he joins the chess club. Soon they are planning their lives together, but they are separated by tragedy and meet again years later. She’s a librarian (of course), he’s a divorced Wall Street genius, and maybe their love has withstood what they’ve endured. (Prepub Alert, 10/29/18) 

Greenwood, Bryn. The Reckless Oath We Made. Putnam. 2019. ISBN 9780525541844.
Themes of chivalry, loyalty, family, and personal responsibility, along with a recognition that people don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of love, make this latest from Greenwood ( All the Ugly and Wonderful Things) a good fit for those looking for gritty contemporary realism in their romance novels.  (Sydney Ashby, LJ 8/19)

Hoang, Helen. The Bride Test. Berkley Jove. 2019. ISBN 9780451490827.
With care, humor, and sensitivity, Hoang (The Kiss Quotient) dives into the very core of her characters, bringing them to life in a romance that is original, engaging, and emotionally hard-hitting. Gorgeously done. (Kristin Ramsdell, LJ 4/19)

Levin, Donna. He Could Be the Next Bill Gates. Chickadee Prince. 2018. ISBN 9780999756935.
Recommended for readers looking for a realistic story of contemporary experience, with a happy ending. (Sarah Sheehan, LJ 11/18 ]

London, Stephanie. The Aussie Next Door. Entangled. (Patterson’s Bluff, Bk. 1). 2019. ISBN 9781640636699.
Fans of Helen Hoang will find this an enjoyable read. While the chemistry between the main characters is a little delayed, romance readers will lose themselves in Angie and Jace’s journey to their happily ever after. (Ashli Wells, LJ 11/19)

Steiger, A.J. When My Heart Joins the Thousand. HarperCollins: HarperTeen. 2018. ISBN 9780062656476.
Alvie is 17... Her meltdowns and behavioral quirks add dimension to what is a fully realized portrayal of a person living with Asperger's. As her romantic foil, Stanley's character is initially a little too perfect, but as the story progresses it is made clear that he struggles with his own issues. This is a love story that could also appeal to adult readers. Their love is hard-fought and deservedly earned. (Kefira Phillipe, SLJ 1/18)
 

EROTIC ROMANCE

West, Xan. Eight Kinky Nights. Xan West. 2019. ISBN 9781393329626.
This book is recommended to readers looking for a story with kink that is thoughtful about D/s relationship dynamics, features protagonists with autism, has a very diverse cast of characters who are part of one or often several marginalized groups, and does not require monogamy for a HEA. (Sydney Ashby, LJ 12/19)
 

MYSTERY

Donlea, Charlie. The Suicide House. (Rory Moore/Lane Phillips, Bk. 2). Kensington. Jul. 2020. ISBN 9781496727152.
In this sequel to Some Choose Darkness, Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist who is on the spectrum, must solve a murder at an esteemed preparatory high school…and determine why so many of its former students are returning to the scene of the crime to take their lives.

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