When you visit Varian’s corner of the Pond, they look like they’re busy doing… needlework? When they see you approach, they wave and beckon you over with a big smile.
“Good day to you, friend,” greets Varian. “Give me one moment, I’m almost finished.”
You look over Varian’s shoulder and see a rainbow infinity symbol cross-stitched into the fabric they are holding, and right next to it is a rainbow heart! The cross-stitch isn’t too neat, but you can tell that Varian put a lot of love into this cross-stitching.
“And done!” says Varian as they snip off the thread. They hold it up to you, and give you a shy smile. “Gen suggested that I take a break from making costumes because, even though I love it, it can get pretty tiring! So Xiaolong suggested that I do some cross-stitching — I’m not very good yet, but it is very relaxing, and I quite enjoy it.
“The rainbow infinity is for Autistic Pride Month, and the rainbow heart is for diversity. I want to support our autistic friends, so I also want to recommend some books by autistic authors to you as well.”
That sounds great! It looks like Gen had a lot of fun cross-stitching this, and you have a feeling they are going to have fun recommending some books to you as well.
Hello friends! I hope you all are reading some wonderful books. ✨
In case you’re new to the Pond’s recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has shown you their latest costume, they will always recommend a book that inspired that costume.
The month of April is Autistic Pride Month, and in case you haven’t heard, Becca from Becca’s Book Realm is currently hosting a month-long reading bingo for Autistic Pride Month! I highly recommend checking out her wonderful and in-depth post here that details how you can support our fellow autistic friends this month and every other day of the year! As Becca states in her post, autism is something that is beautifully different though unfortunately it is misunderstood. Therefore, it is important that we listen and learn from our autistic friends, which means centering, listening and valuing autistic experiences, rather than those who speak on behalf of autistic people (and don’t always have autistic people’s best interests at heart).
Though it is part way through Autistic Pride Month, it is never too late to read a book about autistic characters! I love that we are starting to see more books with autistic representation – or books about autistic characters! – though we still have a long way to go. Nonetheless, we still can support the works and voices of autistic writers, and what better way than to add a book by an autistic author to your to-read lists this month?
Today, Varian and I will be helping you out by providing some recommendations of books about autistic characters by autistic authors!
ON THE EDGE OF GONE
If you’re in the mood for something that’s post-apocalyptic and is a thoughtful meditation about navigating the challenges following the end of the world from the perspective of an autistic character, allow me introduce to you On The Edge of Gone.
- Follows Denise, a biracial and autistic teen who, following the apocalypse, sets out to look for her sister.
- A significant portion of the book explores how Denise navigates and overcomes various challenges, particularly interpersonal challenges when she meets other survivors.
- This is a slow-paced and thoughtful book that examines the ableism of ‘survival’ rhetoric and narratives, as well as the worth of one’s life over another in the context of survival.
Trigger/content warnings: drug addiction
AN UNKINDNESS OF GHOSTS
I’m partway through reading this, but I can already tell that this book is going to be one heck of a memorable read. This is the steady-paced and discursive science fiction that I’ve been craving, and this book is not disappointing at all.
- Follows Aster, an autistic and intersex healer aboard the lower echelons of the HSS Matilda, who discovers a link between the dead sovereign and her mother’s suicide years ago.
- Contains so much powerful discourse about slavery, authoritarianism, racism, and structural violence.
- The plot and worldbuilding is unlike anything I have read before. An Unkindness of Ghosts is proving to be a marvel.
Trigger/content warnings: suicide, suicide ideation, rape, unwanted pregnancies, torture, slavery, forced confinement, abuse, anti-gay, anti-trans
THE KISS QUOTIENT
I had the pleasure of reading this book last year and I absolutely loved it; probably one of my favourite adult romance books I’ve ever read.
- Follows autistic ergonomist, Stella, who hires a male escort to teach her about sex – but, of course, they fall in love. Chaos, indeed, ensures.
- The romance was absolutely lovely and charming. I was smitten reading this. It also examines how Stella navigates the ups and downs of romance as an autistic woman.
- The characters in this story are so incredible, and I loved every single one of them! And, of course, there’s a satisfying happily ever after.
Trigger/content warnings: anxiety attack, abandonment, anti-fat comment, graphic sex scenes
A GIRL LIKE HER
I finished this recently and I was a massive blushing and smiling mess while reading this. This book is so soft, I loved it.
- Follows Ruth, a Black autistic webcomic artist, who is as prickly to strangers as she is shy, and Evan, a White ex-military blacksmith who will win you over with his shepherd pie and heart of gold.
- Neighbours and drawn to each other, the story is about their blossoming relationship through cooked meals and comic books. And phew, there were some steamy scenes.
- Honestly, I smiled so much reading this. I just. AH. It’s so wholesome and sweet. I loved this.
Trigger/content warning: mentions of intimate partner violence, graphic sex scenes
There are also books by autistic authors – books that we should absolutely support as well! I haven’t read these books, so these are definitely on my TBR and I still want to share them with you all! 💛
- Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – A young YA Korean-inspired space opera about a young fox spirit who runs away to find her brother.
- Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby – An adult science-fiction about one of the last autistic people in the universe, negotiating with an alien species, and is about communication and friendship.
- Chameleon Moon by Roanna Sylver – A ‘hopeful dystopia’ about the people of Parole, a city in flames, and the superheroes living inside the city, and is about hope.
- The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews – A YA contemporary about two brothers who survive by breaking into people’s houses — until one family discovers them and adopts them.
Although the above are my recommendations, if you are looking for more recommendations, Ceillie has put together a comprehensive list of books with autistic characters! I loved this list and I’ve added more books to my TBR because of it!
I hope you all enjoyed this post!! I’m going to try and make sure book recommendation posts become a more regular thing around the Pond (I know I’ve been slacking)! I hope you all can participate in Autistic Pride Month and do a little bit to support our autistic friends.
- What are some of your favourite books with autistic characters?
- Do you have any recommendations for books with autistic characters?
- How is your Autistic Pride Month challenge going?