12 Fabulous Novels for Autism Acceptance Week - Read, See a new Perspective, Enjoy and Celebrate Differences!

The 2nd of April marks the 15th year of World Autism Awareness Day, where the United Nations encourage member states to take measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The UK’s National Autistic Society marks World Autism Acceptance Week from the 28th March through to the 3rd April 2022. The choice of wording in the two titles is key, awareness and acceptance, both vital, and yet acceptance hits home the hardest. The books I have included in this collection feature characters with, or potentially with Autism Spectrum Disorder (which includes Aspergers syndrome). These books are all works of fiction and you’ll find several different genres from family drama, to crime, humour, and relationship tales. Some of the authors know the autism spectrum intimately, whether they themselves are on the autism spectrum, or have family members or friends who are. In several novels no labels appear, allowing and encouraging the reader to accept the character entirely for who they are. All of these novels highlight awareness, and acceptance, all of them are fabulous reads.

You can find out more about Autism Spectrum Disorder by visiting www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism

Shtum

Shtum

Author: Jem Lester Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/01/2017

One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | February 2017 Debut of the Month. A rather special read indeed… there are times when you wonder how you've missed sight of, or hearing about a book, and for me this is one of them. This is a treat, a heartbreaking, funny, eye-opening, jam-packed full of love treat. Ben shares his story as he literally battles to place his autistic son Jonah, into what he considers is the right school. Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s dad and we see what life is like for these three men as their worlds revolve around each other. Jem Lester writes with experience, yet he adds bittersweet, aching emotion, biting wit, and a lightness of touch that manages to skim joyfully across the pages. Letters from social services, the school, medical information, and receipts all find their way into the book, often bringing me up short and creating a link to the authenticity of the situation. ‘Shtum’ is brave, bold, and wonderful, it made me cry, rage, and laugh, and I loved every single beautiful second of it.  Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

eBooks of the Month
Big Girl, Small Town

Big Girl, Small Town

Author: Michelle Gallen Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/02/2021

This is such a beautifully handled startling wow of a read, it has gone straight in to sit as a LoveReading Star Book. Spend a week with Majella as the routine of her life changes, she just wants to go to work, watch Dallas, and eat the same dinner each night. However… her mother is an alcoholic, her dad disappeared in the Troubles, and her gran has just died. The synopsis tells you that Majella is autistic, but this is her story, and she doesn’t know she is, so I met, I saw, I got to know Majella, as Majella. The extensive list of things she isn’t keen on are announced as the story progresses. The humour Michelle Gallen delivers is punchy, the swearing is particularly sweary, while the heartachy emotion wormed its way into my heart and squeezed. In fact Majella marched her way into my thoughts, she is one of the most wonderful characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and I’d go so far as to say that she is unforgettable. The repetition of her life, echoed through the book, adding emphasis to each new experience. The surrounding town and its folk slipped and exploded into play while the chip shop sits centre stage. Simple and raw yet richly complex, Big Girl, Small Town comes with huge applause and recommendations from me.

Star Books
This is How we are Human

This is How we are Human

Author: Louise Beech Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

A beautifully poignant, thought-provoking and special novel that really does travel to the heart of what it is to be human. 20 year old Sebastian knows exactly what he wants, his hormones are raging and he is desperate for sex however his autism limits his ability to meet girls. When Sebastian’s mother Veronica contacts escort Violetta, the lives of all three change forever. The novel focuses on the three main characters, each is vividly realised and I positively ached for and adored all three. Their individual stories weave through and under and around each other, the short chapters tying them together, creating one whole tale. Louise Beech often crosses genres in her novels, and has explored crime through to relationship stories. Her particular skill, on display in all of her novels, is allowing us to connect and sink in to what it means to be human, she takes us below the surface, below the obvious, and allows us to explore. My emotions sang throughout this novel, I balanced the exquisite tightrope that swings from the pages, stepped out, and fell in love with the words, the feelings they evoked. The title is absolutely perfect, and when I had finished, I just sat pondering its meaning. The Author’s Note at the end shows just how connected Louise is to this story, how she was inspired by her experience of autism as ‘an outsider’ and she also talks about #OwnVoices. This is How we are Human is bold and provocative, thoughtful and warmhearted, and I declare it is completely gorgeous!

Star Books
The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/07/2018

 A steaming hot and beautifully tender love story, with an added element to appreciate and connect to. Stella Lane is a successful business woman in San Francisco, she has Asperger syndrome and has never had a relationship. Determined to learn how to be a good girlfriend with all that entails, Stella hires Michael a male escort, and the more time they spend together the closer they become. In 2016 the author was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Asperger syndrome), and felt inspired to write ‘The Kiss Quotient’. Helen Hoang releases short sharp bursts of words and feelings, then allows them to settle, encouraging the storyline to build. Asperger syndrome is very much a part of this book, however it isn’t the sum of it, the connection between two people takes centre stage, with all that they have to discover about each other. ‘The Kiss Quotient’ is an intoxicating tale, it wraps itself around thoughts and releases stings of awareness, creating a feast of a read.

eBooks of the Month
The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2014

One of the Top 10 Lovereading Reader Review Panel Summer Read selections. A thoroughly charming book from this witty and intelligent Australian writer.  Don leads a very ordered life.  He does not consider himself odd, does not notice how much he shares with a group of children with Asperger’s syndrome, approaches everything in a completely logical way.  This logic extends into his search for a wife.  It is easy to mock Don and see this purely as a kooky rom-com, but it is more.  It is an exploration of society with all its preconceptions and unwritten rules.  To fit in or not?  How much to fit in?  Should one try to change just to fit in?  And change how much?  Rosie guides Don and the reader through these challenges in what must be one of the most endearing books I have ever read.  It will probably be one of my most memorable books of the year. ~ Sarah Broadhurst   One of our Books of the Year 2014.   Click here to view The Rosie Effect, the sequel to The Rosie Project which is out in paperback in February 2015.   January 2014 MEGA Debut of the Month.   We defy you not to absolutely love this quirky romantic gem of a book, that weirdly sits somewhere between One Day by David Nicholls, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time from Mark Haddon and Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding.   Professor Don Tillman leads a v. v. structured life; single, intelligent, tall, fit, heathy - unable to see why he can’t find a wife and unable to see he is really rather autistic... His hyper-rational solution is a 16 page questionnaire. But love does work in mysterious and irrational ways. Touching, insightful and v v funny, please read the Opening Extract - you will be hooked! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Rosie Project a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'What a brilliant book... Please read it, he [the protagonist] will change your life' – Jayne Burton. Scroll down to read more reviews. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

eBooks of the Month
Subject 375

Subject 375

Author: Nikki Owen Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2016

A powerful, penetrating and intensely different read that seizes your attention from the very first page. Nikki Owen cleverly writes in the first person narrative in two different time frames, Maria has Asperger syndrome and we are held on the edge of a connection and understanding, yet allowed intimate access to her anxiety, fear and torment. As Maria questions her memory, her thoughts, her grasp on the present and past, a creeping sense of foreboding and fear settles across the pages. For much of the novel you are kept in the dark alongside Maria, which provokes and agitates your interest, suggestions are made then ripped away, suspicions are roused and then extinguished. This fascinating premise works, it leaves you wanting more; just who can be trusted and what is the truth? 'Subject 375' was previously titled 'The Spider in the Corner of the Room' and is the first in the 'The Project Trilogy', the new cover is captivating and perfectly announces this original thriller.  ~

eBooks of the Month
A Boy Made of Blocks

A Boy Made of Blocks

Author: Keith Stuart Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/12/2016

One of our Books of the Year 2016. A brilliant debut from a fresh and unique voice, ‘A Boy Made of Blocks' is a book that will make you laugh, cry and think to yourself ‘thank goodness, it’s not just me!’  This wonderful book is one that every parent, every friend of a parent and every person who ever raised a judgemental eyebrow whilst witnessing a ‘difficult’ child should read. Alex is reeling from life. He's left the family home and has never felt further from his wife and son. He loves them both dearly but parenthood can put a strain on any relationship and having an autistic son adds even more pressure.  Sam, his beautiful yet unreachable son, is a problem that Alex is finding impossible to solve and whilst suffocating under the responsibility he feels towards his family Alex finally hits rock bottom. Until that is Sam discovers Minecraft and so begins an adventure of a father finally finding a way to understand his son and maybe himself too. I adored Keith Stuart’s writing style. It was fresh and honest but with no trace of bitterness. Some moments were so beautifully written they made my heart ache and moved me to tears.  He captures so much in so few words and I came to love his characters and felt truly sad when I reached the final sentence. A beautiful debut that not only changed the way I look at autism and children considered ‘different’, but also the struggles we all face within our lives today.' ~ Shelley Fallows A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'It’s hard for me to be objective about A Boy Made of Blocks: it’s the book I most want people to read, partly because when they do, they universally love it. It both has massive commercial potential and is a singularly modern, heartfelt and meaningful piece of writing. It is absolutely not an ‘issues’ book, but a wonderful, funny, emotional story full of memorable characters, wit, and warmth. It’s the kind of novel people fall in love with – I certainly did – and has one of the most uplifting finales I can ever remember reading.' ~ Ed Wood, Editorial Director – Sphere Fiction

eBooks of the Month
Dead Ground

Dead Ground

Author: M. W. Craven Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A ferociously entertaining, sharply amusing, hard-hitting wow of a read. DS Washington Poe and programmer Tilly Bradshaw are faced with an apparently clear cut case that becomes more convoluted the deeper they delve. Excuse me while I rave about this book and series, it’s worth hearing me out! M.W. Craven is winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for his first in this series, The Puppet Show, and the other two books have been long-listed for the Gold Dagger which in itself should tell you just how good this series really is. The combination of superbly readable characters, thrilling plots, and authentic voice ensure these novels are always on my must-read list.  M.W. Craven’s mind just blows me away, he is able to hook, twist, and throw my thoughts as well as make me cackle like a demented thing. Poe and Tilly are among my favourite characters in the crime fiction world, they are both treasures (of the reading variety) waiting to be found if you’ve not yet met them. A stunner of a stimulating ride, Dead Ground comes with a whopping thumbs up from me, and of course it’s one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month. 

Star Books
Rubbernecker

Rubbernecker

Author: Belinda Bauer Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2014

'The dead can't speak to us,' Professor Madoc had said. That was a lie. Because the body Patrick Fort is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. Life is already strange enough for the obsessive Patrick without having to solve a possible murder. Especially when no one believes a crime has even taken place. Now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery - while he dissects his own evidence. But as Patrick learns one truth from a dead man, he discovers there have been many other lies rather closer to home...

eBooks of the Month
One Good Thing

One Good Thing

Author: Alexandra Potter Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2022

Discover a hugely squishy, compassionate, and affectionate hug in book form. After her divorce, Liv leaves London behind for the Yorkshire Dales and discovers new beginnings aren’t that easy to find. While main character Liv narrates her own story, we also enter the lives of other characters from across the generations, and in dog form. Their stories surround Liv and as friendships begin to blossom, I fell in love with all of them (particularly Harry who rather steals the show!). Life in all its impossible, heart-breaking, fabulous glory sweeps across the pages, and took me with it. I love how Alexandra Potter balances different themes, characters, and the plot. You’ll greet dementia, grief, aging, teenage angst, fear, courage, friendship, autism, and love. I laughed, cried, raised my eyebrows, kept my fingers crossed, and basically felt as though I was a part of this little gang. For the feel-good factor alone I would have chosen this novel as a Liz Pick of the Month, but there’s more than that to discover within the pages. With oodles of warmth and charm One Good Thing is a lovely, thoughtful, and rewarding read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Author: Mark Haddon Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2012

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year 2003.It is a dead dog that sets off the chain reaction that leads Christopher Boone to find out the truth about his mother’s disappearance. But this is no usual detective story. Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome: he can recall numbers, will feel safe for a day when he sees three or four or five red cars in a row and he finds emotions near-impossible to unravel. But a dead dog presents the need to understand some complex emotions especially as it also propels Christopher into looking more carefully into his own family and their relationships. Mark Haddon's telling of Christopher's unpredictable response to them is original, kind, disturbing and profoundly moving.

eBooks of the Month
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/01/2018

Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 | Category Winner for the Costa Book Awards 2017, First Novel Award |   It is the standard reply when people ask,  “How are you?” ....you say “I’m fine.” Well, Eleanor is most definitely not fine and has not been since she was 10 years old. Shifted from one foster home to another, she does eventually go to university where she ends up in an abusive relationship. On graduation she gets a job in the accounts department of a graphic designer and there she is when we meet her, aged 31 and desperately lonely. Eleanor is on the spectrum with her life overshadowed by some dreadful childhood tragedy which has left her face badly scarred. She keeps her head down at work and spends the weekends with two bottles of vodka. She speaks to her mother on the telephone on a Wednesday and dreads the call. We are uncertain as to whether her mother is in prison or an asylum. Life ticks by until her works’ computer needs attention and enter one geeky IT man. How he and others break down her barriers is beautifully done. Very slowly we learn more about Eleanor and her past. Very slowly a future develops but once the geek (Raymond) arrives the novel is by no means slow. It becomes a page-turning, compulsive read of great charm.

Audiobooks of the Month

Comments (0)


Leave A Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.