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A List of 20 #OwnVoice Disability Books!

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Happy Disability Pride Month!!! Each color of the rainbow represents a different type of disability. This month is extremely important to me and I wanted to take a moment to touch on a subject that is equally important to me. This post is inspired by the lovely @taras.littlelibrary, @thestarrybibliophile, @turnthepages.nl. Their recommendation posts for Disability Pride month were absolutely incredible and it has inspired me to make my own as well. Definitely check theirs out to get some awesome recs! For this post, I wanted to focus on #OwnVoices and what it means to me. OwnVoices is someone who writes about something that they experience in their own life (aka in their own voice). The character and the author share an identity such as disability, race, ethnicity, or sexuality. To me, it’s putting some of the most vulnerable parts of yourself on display for the world to see. And claiming those parts as your own. Giving voice to what could feel like the “ugliest” and most painful experiences you own to be splayed out on the page. And in doing so, hopefully giving the reader the ability to be seen by someone who also feels the same or at least faces the same things. Some of us read for escape and some of us also read to feel seen. And to me there’s something very special about a bond between an OwnVoices author and a reader seeking the latter. And that’s why I’ve decided to make this post.


I have compiled a list of some of the OwnVoice novels I have read this year and some of the ones I hope to read. I did have difficulty making this list. They’re not as easy to find as I hoped they would be, so I would LOVE to get your recommendations!!! But the representation in these novels is so authentic and AMAZING!!! I’ve never connected more to a novel than in Finding Gene Kelly and Part of Your World. I hope you find a novel where you feel so seen because the rep in all of them is absolutely amazing!!! Thank you to these amazing authors for bringing these stories alive for us!





Vote for your favorites on The Goodreads list here.



Title: Finding Gene Kelly

Author: Torie Jean

Representation: Endometriosis

OwnVoices: Yes

Location: Paris, France

TW/CWs: Endo pain, chronic pain, and emotionally abusive parental relationship.

Romance: Open door. Great Endo rep.

Link: amazon

Summary:

When five-year-old Evie O’Shea married her next-door neighbor in the wedding of the century, she had no idea she was swearing an oath to love the man who would grow into the bane of her existence until the end of time. Or that in ten years time, she’d start a long and winding journey to an eventual endometriosis diagnosis.


Now, aged twenty-six, Evie O’Shea lives in Paris, balancing precariously close to her Charlotte Lucas birthday. A burden to her parents, with no prospects and no money, Evie’s humdrum life needs a shake-up.


Enter Liam Kelly, the man Evie married at the age of five and promptly divorced at seven when he had the audacity to throw a muddy football at her while she was reading Eloise in Paris. Clad in a Henley and equipped with toned forearms and eye crinkles that rival Gene Kelly himself, Evie is determined to keep her ultimate temptation at a distance while she flails wildly navigating life, love, and endometriosis on the banks of the Seine.


But when a family announcement shakes up Evie's world weeks before her brother’s wedding, Evie seeks Liam’s help to get through the wedding with some semblance of sanity intact.


Her request? Fake date.


Making a deal with the Devil always comes with a cost, though, and when Liam’s conditions which include elaborate backstories and practice dates, reignite passions her disease smothered long ago, Evie has to learn to fight for her dreams and break free from her life measured in ibuprofen pills and heating pad settings. Or else risk being alive but never truly living.


Title: Part of Your World

Author: Abby Jimenez

Representation: Yes, mental health

OwnVoices: Yes, anxiety

TW/CWs: Emotional & Domestic Abuse

Romance: Mild Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary:


A refreshingly modern fairy tale and instant New York Times bestseller that Love Hypothesis author Ali Hazelwood hails as "an uplifting, feel-good, romantic read."


After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.


While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.


Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?





Title: Yours Truly

Author: Abby Jimenez

Representation: Yes, CKD, social anxiety, and organ transplant

OwnVoices: Yes, anxiety & chronic kidney disease

TW/CWs: grief and illness

Romance: Mild Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary: Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.


And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.




Title: Next to You

Author: Dulcie Dameron

Representation: Yes, wheelchair user, domestic abuse, and anxiety

OwnVoices: Yes, Anxiety

Romance: Sweet, Kissing Only

CW: Domestic Abuse, anxiety & pain with disability

Summary:


Two scarred hearts must decide if love is worth the trust it takes...


After enduring a life-altering accident and a heartbreaking divorce, Casey Clark moves back home to River Hollow, unsure which direction his life will take. When his meddling sister ropes him into managing her shop, he’s forced to work with the most skittish woman he’s ever met—Shyla. She’s interesting and beautiful but clearly can't stand him, which makes working with her near impossible.


Single mom Shyla Burton moved far away from her past to the little town of River Hollow for peace and quiet. But when she finds out that her new boss is a man, she knows peace is the very last thing she’ll get. Even though Casey is confined physically, he’s still strong and moody which she knows will inevitably spell disaster for her. But when Casey befriends Shyla’s son, Jack, she starts to see him in a different light.


When pain from the past starts to rear its ugly head, Shyla must determine if love really can cover a multitude of sins.



Title: Speechless

Author: Lindsey Lanza

Representation: Yes, Endometriosis & Social Anxiety

OwnVoices: Yes, Endo

Romance: Mild Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary:


When life’s off-key, go to Malibu

Bestselling author Lucy Gold may write fairy tales for a living, but her own happily ever after is looking bleak. Seeking a fresh start after a sudden divorce on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she decides to make a new life for herself and her service dog in Los Angeles. But when her living arrangements fall through just before takeoff, a handsome stranger offers to let her stay with him and his motley crew of musicians in Malibu. Her gallant hero? None other than Henry Turner, the award-winning composer whose music has held Lucy together while her life’s been crumbling apart. Henry might be at the peak of his creative career, but his crippling anxiety throws his personal life completely out of tune. Yet all of that changes the longer Lucy stays with him and his housemates, swiftly becoming one of their own and offering Henry a glimpse of happiness he never thought possible. As their relationship deepens, Lucy’s attraction to Henry cannot be denied, but as she works through the aftermath of her divorce, she’s resigned to give up on love. Henry plays all the right notes and says all the right words. Will Lucy be able to hear them over her fear of the past repeating itself? Speechless is a swoony saga about finding your people, overcoming your deepest insecurities, and choosing happiness no matter what life throws at you.




Title: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Representation: Yes, Autism

OwnVoices: Yes, Autism

Romance: Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.


Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.


It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...


Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...




Title: Give Me a Sign

Author: Anna Sortino

Representation: Yes, deaf representation

OwnVoices: Yes, deaf representation

Romance: Sweet Romance

Link: amazon

Summary:


Jenny Han meets CODA in this big-hearted YA debut about first love and Deaf pride at a summer camp.


Lilah is stuck in the middle. At least, that’s what having a hearing loss seems like sometimes—when you don’t feel “deaf enough” to identify as Deaf or hearing enough to meet the world’s expectations. But this summer, Lilah is ready for a change.


When Lilah becomes a counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, her plan is to brush up on her ASL. Once there, she also finds a community. There are cute British lifeguards who break hearts but not rules, a YouTuber who’s just a bit desperate for clout, the campers Lilah’s responsible for (and overwhelmed by)—and then there’s Isaac, the dreamy Deaf counselor who volunteers to help Lilah with her signing.


Romance was never on the agenda, and Lilah’s not positive Isaac likes her that way. But all signs seem to point to love. Unless she’s reading them wrong? One thing’s for sure: Lilah wanted change, and things here . . . they're certainly different than what she’s used to.



Title: The Curveball

Author: Megan Cousins

Representation: Yes, PCOS & chronic pain

OwnVoices: Yes, PCOS & chronic pain

Romance: Sweet romance


Summary:


Penelope: I love baseball. And I get paid to talk about it. Sure, I'm behind the scenes of the best baseball talk show on television, but that's where I'm comfortable. Where I'm safe. And then Jake Hutchinson showed up and I started dreaming again. Dreaming of so much more than being behind the scenes. He reminded me of why I got into this business in the first place. I was determined to put my head down and do my work, and not get involved...but Jake is the curveball I never saw coming.

Jake: I was determined to come in and make a good first impression. Though, soliciting a free meal from my producer probably wasn't the way to do that. And then she started talking about the game I love, the game I played, and I was hooked. I could listen to her talk about baseball for the rest of my life. I can't get involved with my producer, can I? With her talent she won't be a producer for much longer, and what's life without a little risk, right?



Title: The Changeup

Author: Megan Cousins

Representation: Yes, arthritis & chronic pain

OwnVoices: Yes, arthritis & chronic pain

Romance: Sweet romance

Link: amazon

Summary:


Jenna:

The prospect of spending the summer with your best friend shouldn't be this daunting. But when your best friend is handsome, charming, and you're more than a little attracted to him, a road trip and summer spent sharing an apartment with each other isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least we have our research to keep us occupied, right?


Marcus:

I can't spend another minute with Jenna without telling her how I feel. How I've felt for so long. As a geologist, I know better than anyone that too much turmoil simmering under the surface will eventually find a way to be released...I just hope that Jenna and I survive this summer together. And even more than that, I hope our friendship survives.




Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Author: Talia Hibbert

Representation: Yes, Fibromyalgia

OwnVoices: Yes, Fibro

Romance: Open door


Link: amazon

Summary:


Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

  • Enjoy a drunken night out.

  • Ride a motorcycle.

  • Go camping.

  • Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.

  • Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.

  • And... do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…



Title: Where You See Yourself

Author: Clair Forrests

Representation: Yes, wheelchair user

OwnVoices: Yes, wheelchair user

Romance:

Link: amazon

Summary:


"Where You See Yourself is an absolutely necessary and affirming addition to YA shelves." -BuzzFeed Books


Where You See Yourself combines an unforgettable coming-of-age tale, a swoon-worthy romance, and much-needed disability representation in this story about a girl who's determined to follow her dreams.


By the time Effie Galanos starts her senior year, it feels like she’s already been thinking about college applications for an eternity—after all, finding a college that will be the perfect fit and be accessible enough for Effie to navigate in her wheelchair presents a ton of considerations that her friends don’t have to worry about.

What Effie hasn’t told anyone is that she already knows exactly what school she has her heart set on: a college in NYC with a major in Mass Media & Society that will set her up perfectly for her dream job in digital media. She’s never been to New York, but paging through the brochure, she can picture the person she’ll be there, far from the Minneapolis neighborhood where she's lived her entire life. When she finds out that Wilder (her longtime crush) is applying there too, it seems like one more sign from the universe that it’s the right place for her.

But it turns out that the universe is full of surprises. As Effie navigates her way through a year of admissions visits, senior class traditions, internal and external ableism, and a lot of firsts--and lasts--she starts to learn that sometimes growing up means being open to a world of possibilities you never even dreamed of. And maybe being more than just friends with Wilder is one of those dreams...




Title: The Stars in My Heart

Author: Sydney Blondell

Representation: Yes, POTS & Bipolar

OwnVoices: Yes, POTS & Bipolar

Romance:

Link: amazon

Summary:


In an attempt to cope with her most recent, and hopefully final, diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Sloan Banks’s cardiologist suggests she join a therapy group the hospital sponsors for chronically ill teenagers. In this group, Sloan meets Harlow Baxter, a teen battling Bipolar Depression and alcoholism, and Clem Walker, a teen recently diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. Though Sloan and Harlow get off to a rocky start when Harlow accuses Sloan of faking her illness, the three teens defy the odds and become each other’s sounding boards as they all struggle to overcome their illnesses. When she’s not stuck at the hospital or hanging with her newfound friends, Sloan’s boredom at home often results in one of three activities; binge-watching Gilmore Girls, jamming out to any song by Demi Lovato, or trying to master a new gluten-free recipe she’s found on Pinterest that would even make Gordon Ramsay salivate. Though Sloan’s POTS is a large defining factor of her life, it is not what defines her. She is still the goofy, compassionate, determined Sloan that she was before becoming known as a “sick kid”, and her tenderness re-emerges in her relationships with Clem and Harlow. In just six months’ time, Sloan’s world is no longer simply consumed by medication, doctor’s visits and hospital stays, but now embraces all of that plus friendship, sisterhood, and adventure!




Title: Morbidly Yours

Author: Ivy Fairbanks

Representation: Yes, Anxiety & Stutter/Speech Impediment

OwnVoices: Yes, Anxiety

Location: Galway, Ireland

Romance: Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary:


Falling for the wrong person?

Bury your feelings.


Callum Flannelly would rather dive into an open grave than take a stranger to dinner and a movie. But he can only inherit the family undertaking business and carry on their legacy under one condition: He must marry before his 35th birthday. So it’s out of the mortuary and into the dating scene.


Lark Thompson would rather get crushed by a falling anvil than live next to a funeral home during her stay in Galway, Ireland. The vivacious American cartoon creator and animator came here to embrace life, not be reminded of losing her husband.


When Lark learns of Callum’s dilemma and aversion to marrying out of necessity rather than love, she agrees to help the introverted mortician. Although sworn off love herself, she is optimistic that Callum can find The One and secure his inheritance.


But as the dating project progresses and their friendship grows, so does a mutual attraction. The more time she spends with serious, sarcastic Callum, the more she dreads finding him a match. And the more disastrous dates he endures, the more trepidation he feels for Lark’s imminent return to the states.


If they think it’s possible to ignore their connection, they’re dead wrong.



Title: All the Right Reasons

Author: Bethany Mangle

Representation: Yes, Ehlers Danlos

OwnVoices: Yes

Romance:

Link: amazon

Summary:


The Bachelor meets Gilmore Girls in this laugh-out-loud young adult romance about a girl who joins her mother on a reality dating show for single parents—only to fall for a contestant’s son.


Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families.


The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor.


As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.




Title: One for All

Author: Lillie Lainoff

Representation: Yes, POTS

OwnVoices: Yes, POTS

Link: amazon

Summary:


“There are no limits to the will—and the strength—of this unique female hero.” —Tamora Pierce, writer of the Song of the Lioness and the Protector of the Small quartets

One for All is a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.


Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl.” But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion. Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for new Musketeers: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a sword fight.


With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels that she has a purpose, that she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming—and might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.



Title: Girl in the Window

Author: Penny Joelson

Representation: Yes, ME

OwnVoices: Yes, ME

Link: amazon

Summary:


For fans of Karen M. McManus and Kara Thomas comes this riveting new young adult crime thriller packed with mystery and suspense, from the acclaimed author of I Have No Secrets


Nothing ever happens on Kasia's street. And Kasia would know, because her chronic illness keeps her stuck at home, watching the outside world from her bedroom window. So when she witnesses what looks like a kidnapping, she's not sure whether she can believe her own eyes...


There had been a girl in the window across the street who must have seen something too. But when Kasia ventures out to find her, she is told the most shocking thing of all: There is no girl.




Title: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Author: Chloe Liese

Representation: Yes, Autism

OwnVoices: Yes, Autism

Romance: Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary:


Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

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 everyone's 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?




Title: Love Flushed

Author: Evie Mitchell

Representation: Yes, Crohn's

OwnVoices: Yes, Crohn's

Romance: Open Door

Link: amazon

Summary: