Diversifying our reading is an incredible way to listen to voices different from our own. Books offer opportunities to build incredible communities, increase our empathy, and fight harmful stereotypes. Here is a series of books celebrating Disability Pride Month.


Iron Widow

Author: Xiran Jay Zhao

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 5 stars

Representation: Cane and ambulatory wheelchair SC

Goodreads Summary: The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from mental strain. 

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​  To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Trigger Warnings: Tore, murder, torture, mentions of rape, threats of rape, misogyny, femicide, suicide ideation, abuse, alcohol addiction.

SkyHunter

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 5 stars

Representation: Deaf MC

Goodreads Summary: The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara. The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable. Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope. Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs. When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

Trigger Warnings: Racism, selective mutism, child abuse and violence by family, loss of a loved one, graphic violence, childhood trauma.

The Girls I’ve Been

Author: Tess Sharpe

Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ 

My Rating: 4 stars

Representation: Sapphic LI with endometriosis.

Goodreads Summary: Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter the bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage.

Trigger Warnings: Physical assault, violence, domestic abuse, psychological & emotional abuse, parental abuse (psychological, emotional and physical), past csa, gunshot and stabbing wounds, discussion of reproductive health

Sick Kids in Love

Author: Hannah Moskowitz

Genre: Romance Contemporary 

My Rating: 5 stars

Representation: MC with Rheumatoid Arthritis and LI with Gaucher Disease.

Goodreads Summary: Isabel has one rule: no dating.

It’s easier–

It’s safer–

It’s better–

–for the other person.

She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.

But then she meets another sick kid.

He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.

He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.

Isabel has one rule: no dating.

It’s complicated–

It’s dangerous–

It’s never felt better–

–to consider breaking that rule for him.

Trigger Warnings: Hospitals (and related medical procedures), ableism, cancer, medical emergency, parental abandonment.

Love from A to Z

Author: S.K. Ali

Genre: Romance Contemporary 

My Rating: 5 stars

Representation: Muslim Chinese-Finnish MC with multiple sclerosis.

Goodreads Summary: A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are. But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Trigger Warnings: Islamaphobia (challenged), death of loved ones (off-page), chronic illness, depictions of grief, mentions of war

One for All

Author: Lillie Lainoff

Genre: Historical Fiction / Young Adult

My Rating: 5 stars

Representation: White Russian-French cishet female MC with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

Goodreads Summary: Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. 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 a new kind of Musketeer: 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 swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

Trigger Warnings: Blood, gore (minor), death of a parent, murder, sexual assault (off page), attempted sexual assault

Girl Out of Water

Author: Laura Silverman

Genre: Romance / Young Adult

Jocelyn’s Rating & Review: 4 stars

Representation: one-armed LI

Goodreads Summary: Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?


What are you reading this month? Share your recommendations in the comments!