Diversity Spotlight Thursday #3 – Characters with Disabilities


Welcome to my third Diversity Spotlight Thursday! 💚 This wonderful weekly blog meme was created and is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! For more information about the meme, please read the announcement post here.

My participation in this meme is to help me with one of my reading goals: to read books with a variety of perspectives, especially ones different from my own. Every two weeks I will share with you:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

This week’s theme for Diversity Spotlight Thursday is: characters with disabilities!


A Book I Have Read

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

“Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.”


I read this book earlier this year, and I loved it. This book is oft criticized for its unlikable protagonist, but I found myself adoring Parker. She really, really grew on me, especially when I started to understand who she was as a character. She has a will of steel, she can sometimes be defensive and unapologetic in her actions, but her growth in the story was memorable, complex, and a pleasure to read.

Parker is also blind; though that is an important element of the story and it is explored, it isn’t its primary focus. It also explores friendship (bonus: it has one of the most heartwarming female friendships I’ve read!), complicated relationships that don’t always play out the way we think they do, and family. An absolute must-read. ❤

Add this book on Goodreads | My review on Goodreads


A Book On My TBR

Far From You by Tessa Sharpe

“Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?”


I’ve heard high, high praises for this book, and I can’t wait to read it myself!

I don’t know much about this book – apart from the summary and what I can glean from non-spoiler reviews – but my understanding is that this book features a character with a disability, there is lesbian representation, and the character in this book has chronic pain. (Please correct me if I am wrong!)

Add this book on Goodreads


A Book That Hasn’t Been Released Yet

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

“When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.”


I heard the name floating around the Twitter-verse and it seems like it’s on so many people’s list of 2017 anticipated releases! Reading the summary, it sounds like a unique and vibrant story. It’s been likened to More Happy Than Not and Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda (two books I adore), so I’m definitely excited for this!

In line with this spotlight’s theme, the protagonist is deaf, and the book also explores deaf culture. This is something I’m very interested in, since I intend to learn sign language in the future, so I feel like this book will be a wonderful read!

Add this book on Goodreads


And that’s another Diversity Spotlight Thursday! I will be posting my next spotlight on the 15th of December!

  • Are you interested in reading any of these books? 😊 Which one and why?
  • Do you know any other books that have characters with disabilities or explores disabilities? (Me Before You doesn’t count due to its criticisms!)
  • Did you participate in Diversity Spotlight Thursday this week? If so, please share your link with me! I’d love to see your three choices!

24 thoughts on “Diversity Spotlight Thursday #3 – Characters with Disabilities

  1. Have you read Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves? It’s a dark paranormal/horror YA novel from a few years back, with a protagonist of colour who is bipolar and is sent to live with her mother who has her own history of struggles with mental illness.

    Disability in Kidlit gave it a positive review, if you’re curious http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2016/03/16/review-bleeding-violet-by-dia-reeves/ I personally really enjoyed it (and its even weirder sequel Slice of Cherry, about the daughters of a serial killer who find another world in the basement where her father did his horrible things).

  2. All three of these sound wonderful and now I’m wondering why I had never heard of them before! “Not If I See You First” sounds like something I would enjoy. I’ve never read a book about a blind protagonist, it’s going on my tbr shelf.

    A recent book I’ve read that expores a disability is “Kids of Appetite” by David Arnold. The main character has Moebius Syndrome and cannot blink. It’s a good read so you should check it out if you haven’t read it already! And no, unfortunately I haven’t posted a Diversity Spotlight Thursday post this week, I just lost track of time :D . Awesome post!

    • Hi Shouni!
      Not If I See You First was surprisingly good! It has some very complex characters who aren’t clear cut, and I liked that a lot. I hope you enjoy it!

      Oh my, I’ve never heard of Moebius Syndrome before! But thank you very much for bringing this to my attention; I’ll add it to my tbr!

      Hehe that’s cool! I hope you can join us sometime! ^_^

  3. Oh I am so glad to hear you loved the main character in Not if I see you first. I read a couple of reviews for this one a while ago, and wasn’t sure about it because, just like you mentioned it here, I saw that the main character was a bit annoying… I’m glad you didn’t feel that way! :D

    • Hi Marie!

      I can definitely see why. I think to enjoy this book, you really have to look past the characters’ imperfections, because there’s a LOT of them! But beyond the characters, there’s a lot of nice things in this book! :D

  4. I’m super interested in You’re Welcome, Universe since I heard about the book. This may sound super weird but I’m a huge fan of graffiti specially if it has message or brings a strong response from those who see and I want to see that explored in the story as well

  5. You’re Welcome, Universe has caught my eye! It’s great that you are interested in learning sign language – I’m guessing you’d be interested in learning the NZ sign language? I read a beautiful book with a deaf protagonist called Talk Under Water by Kathryn Lomer where a boy learns Auslan (Australian sign language) so that he can he can talk to the protagonist outside of emails. (I need to rec this in my next spotlight post XD). My cousin’s family uses Auslan and my cousin has a hearing aid so we talk but Auslan is definitely something I need to learn at some point.

  6. I’ve not heard any of these – will definitely be checking them out! I recently read El Deafo, an own voices graphic novel about a young deaf girl. I really enjoyed it – it opened my eyes to a lot of things I’d never thought of before.

  7. Ooh I love this diversity spotlight! It’s always nice to hear of new books that focus on characters which disabilities, especially when they’re done really well. I’m curious to read AG Howard’s Architect of Song because that one’s main character deaf and I really want to see how she incorporates this into the story (especially as it’s a Phantom of the Opera retelling!)

    • Thank you so much, Kirstie!

      I completely agree. I feel like I haven’t read many books with disabilities, so I wanted to highlight this to encourage others to read it as well as myself! 😊

      I hadn’t heard of Architect of Song, but thank you for bringing it to my attention! I’d like to read more books that have characters that are deaf, so that’s going straight to my TBR! :D

  8. Ooh I’m definitely adding that last one to the TBR! I highly recommend Brian Selznick’s WONDERSTRUCK (if you haven’t read his books before, they use a very creative mix of illustration and text) for a book about Deaf culture. It has a fantastic storyline, and a great review from a deaf reader at Disability in Kidlit as well :D

  9. I haven’t read many books featuring disabled characters. I’m quite interested in You’re Welcome, Universe.

  10. I think I’m interested in reading ALL of these books! I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Far From You and it’s been on my tbr for awhile now but I never got around to buying it. I’m thinking of requesting it at the library. I’ll probably be reading Not If I See You First because I think that arrived in the library a few weeks ago. But I *really* want to read You’re Welcome, Universe. It sounds amazing! As for other books.. I’ve heard that the MC in History Is All You Left Me has an invisible disability (OCD). I think Six of Crows also has great disability rep.

    • Hi Rachana!

      Ooh, thanks for the info about History is All You Left Me! I hadn’t read *too* deeply into it because the book is by Silvera and I’ll throw my money at him anyday.

      Agreed! Six of Crows is awesome rep, and it’s ownvoices too! Bonus points on my book. :)

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