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6 Queer Books for Autism Acceptance Month!

A graphic showing six book covers over a muted background of rainbow stripes. The graphic is entitled "6 Queer Books with Autistic Characters." The six book covers are: The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes; May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor; Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White; The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor; The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu; and An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, so the group of folks at Duck Prints Press who suggest titles for these rec lists dug into personal favorite queer reads to find these six titles that include queer characters who are explicitly or implied to be autistic. Our picks are:

The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes

Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers—despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.

Luis’s attention soon turns to something more, and they have sex at a party—while Ari didn’t say no, she definitely didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumor mill begins churning—thanks, she’s sure, to Luis’s ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.

Then Ari finds a mysterious note in her locker that eventually leads her to a group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But in order to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night—and risk everything to see justice done.

May the Best Man Win by Z. R. Ellor

Jeremy Harkiss, cheer captain and student body president, won’t let coming out as a transgender boy ruin his senior year. Instead of bowing to the bigots and outdate school administration, Jeremy decides to make some noise–and how better than by challenging his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas for the title of Homecoming King? 

Lukas Rivers, football star and head of the Homecoming Committee, is just trying to find order in his life after his older brother’s funeral and the loss long-term girlfriend–who turned out to be a boy. But when Jeremy threatens to break his heart and steal his crown, Lukas kick starts a plot to sabotage Jeremy’s campaign. 

When both boys take their rivalry too far, the dance is on the verge of being canceled. To save Homecoming, they’ll have to face the hurt they’re both hiding–and the lingering butterflies they can’t deny.

Hell Follows With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor

Sam Sylvester’s not overly optimistic about their recent move to the small town of Astoria, Oregon after a traumatic experience in their last home in the rural Midwest.

Yet Sam’s life seems to be on the upswing after meeting several new friends and a potential love interest in Shep, the pretty neighbor. However, Sam can’t seem to let go of what might have been, and is drawn to investigate the death of a teenage boy in 1980s Astoria. Sam’s convinced he was murdered–especially since Sam’s investigation seems to resurrect some ghosts in the town.

Threatening notes and figures hidden in shadows begin to disrupt Sam’s life. Yet Sam continues to search for the truth. When Sam discovers that they may be closer to a killer than previously known, Sam has a difficult decision to make. Would they risk their new life for a half-lived one?

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

Wei Wuxian was once one of the most outstanding men of his generation, a talented and clever young cultivator who harnessed martial arts, knowledge, and spirituality into powerful abilities. But when the horrors of war led him to seek a new power through demonic cultivation, the world’s respect for his skills turned to fear, and his eventual death was celebrated throughout the land.

Years later, he awakens in the body of an aggrieved young man who sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian can exact revenge on his behalf. Though granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first, nor the mysteries that appear before him now. Yet this time, he’ll face it all with the righteous and esteemed Lan Wangji at his side, another powerful cultivator whose unwavering dedication and shared memories of their past will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world.

Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organised much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot – if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.

What are your favorite queer books with Autistic rep? We’d love to hear about them!

You can access this list as a bookshelf on Goodreads!

Did you know? Duck Prints Press has an affiliate shop on Bookshop.org – and you can access all our rec lists (including this one!) there to facilitate purchasing the books. If you buy with us as your affiliate book store, authors get royalties, Bookshop.org gets a cut, and we get a small percent of the purchase price too – everyone wins!

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