The best books with characters who appear to be on the autism spectrum

Who am I?

As an author who is very likely (undiagnosed) on the spectrum, and someone who has family members who have been diagnosed with autism, I’ve found myself gravitating towards characters that I can personally relate to. These stories represent characters that rise above their challenges and encourage me to do the same. They have given me hope that what may seem to some as limitations I have are in fact positives that allow me to help others.


I wrote...

Sky Child

By T.M. Brenner,

Book cover of Sky Child

What is my book about?

After the End War, a small group of survivors struggle to rebuild civilization inside the Crag, humanity’s last refuge. Sam, a seventeen-year-old hunter, was left outside the mouth of the cave as an infant and is believed by some to be the Sky Child, the one foretold to bring peace and prosperity to the Crag.

Sam must face Chaff, a tyrant who hides the secret of the harvest to maintain control of the Crag. Cruel, manipulative, and deadly, Chaff takes something from Sam he can never give back. Sam's need for revenge could bring about the death of everyone in the Crag, which goes against everything the Sky Child stands for.

The books I picked & why

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The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins,

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Why this book?

I love Katniss Everdeen as much for her strength as for her quirks; the things that make her feel like a real person. She finds relating to people challenging, which is something I struggled with growing up. Her anxiety can be felt when she plays with objects to calm herself, which I still occasionally do. Yet despite her difficulties in connecting with people, everything she does is for the sake of others. She is strong and capable in the face of adversity, which is something I work to achieve in my own life. Learning that her character may be on the spectrum, and my ability to identify with her, led me to start wondering if I may be on the spectrum as well.

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

A Study in Scarlet

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of A Study in Scarlet

Why this book?

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite characters because although he seems to detest most people, at his core he finds justice for others. From his brusque nature to self-medicating his anxiety, to his tendency to speak in a lecture-like tone, Sherlock manages to overcome his challenges to win the day. I’ve had my own struggles using alcohol to cope with the stresses of day-to-day life. Thankfully, I rarely drink now. I also tend to ramble on about minute details if the mood strikes, and I found Sherlock’s interlinking of evidence and similar attention to detail to be an exciting part of the story. What makes Sherlock even more interesting is that the diagnosis of autism wouldn’t be conceived for well over fifty years after A Study in Scarlet was published.

A Study in Scarlet

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Study in Scarlet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet is the literary debut of the world's most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, introduced by Iain Sinclair with notes by Ed Glinert in Penguin Classics.

Convalescing in London after a disastrous experience of war in Afghanistan, Dr John Watson finds himself sharing rooms with his enigmatic new acquaintance, Sherlock Holmes. But their quiet bachelor life at 221B Baker Street is soon interrupted by the grisly discovery of a dead man in a grimy 'ill-omened' house in south-east London, his face contorted by an expression of horror and hatred such as Watson has…


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson,

Book cover of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Why this book?

What I admire most about Lisbeth Salander are her strength and courage, and the challenges she overcame while being highly introverted. Despite her inability to connect with others, and her violent nature, she used her anger to right wrongs, and had a strong sense of morality. I actually see a lot of Lisbeth in myself, as I’m also a software engineer. Chain smoking to treat her anxiety is something I relate to, as I smoked cigars for eight years to help deal with my depression. What I like about her most is she overcomes her abuse and overcomes her abusers; something I’ve had to do in my own life. The story is emotionally difficult to read at times, but the sense of elation I felt when she found justice for herself was worth the turmoil.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***********************
The phenomenal international bestseller - 100 million copies of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series sold worldwide.

One of the Bookseller's 30 most influential books of the last 30 years.

"What a cracking novel! I haven't read such a stunning thriller debut for years. Brilliantly written and totally gripping" Minette Walters

With an Introduction by Val McDermid

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a…


Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline,

Book cover of Ready Player One

Why this book?

James Halliday is a futuristic Willy Wonka, creating a fantasy world to bring people together, despite his own social awkwardness. Unfocused on his personal appearance and social norms, yet laser-focused on his creation, The OASIS, he has a child-like exuberance that makes him endearing. Like Halliday, I can hyper-focus on projects I’m deeply interested in. His story of shyness and unrequited love resonates for me, as I’ve had a few unrequited loves in the past, ones that in some ways still affect me to this day. What I appreciate about him the most is the things he does are out of love, even when it’s not reciprocated. Ultimately, although Halliday uses his fantasy world to cope with the challenges of life, he passes on the knowledge to Wade, the protagonist, that the best things in life happen in the real world.

Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Ready Player One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that…


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

By J.K. Rowling, Mary Grandpré (illustrator),

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Why this book?

Hermione Granger is a character that took some time to grow on me, admittedly. Finding friends was challenging for Hermione, as she intimidated others with her deep knowledge of magic and tended to ‘correct’ others and lecture them when they either skirted rules or weren’t paying well enough attention in class. I feel this echoes my own childhood, where I was too focused on studying and seeming intelligent, instead of learning how to help others without making them feel uncomfortable. What I admire most about Hermione, and the books in general, is that despite her social challenges, she is defined by the friendships she created with Harry and Ron. And as for many people on the spectrum, she championed others who faced unfair challenges, such as the house elves.  

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

By J.K. Rowling, Mary Grandpré (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New, repackaged audio editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series, read by Stephen Fry containing 7 CDs with a total running time of 8 hours and 25 minutes. With irresistible new jackets by Jonny Duddle to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers.

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in survival, the upper class, and wizards?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about survival, the upper class, and wizards.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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