Here is where I've cross-posted books whose main or secondary characters are differently-abled/disabled/handicapped (whatever term you prefer), whether due to birth, accident, chemical imbalances or scientific experiments/interventions that cause them to have physical or mental challenges and in some cases, extra abilities. For example, the X-Men and Spiderman are technically differently-abled, due to birth and accident.
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The Gilded Wolves (Ages 12-18+ / Grades 7+)
"From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change--one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires...
"No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
"It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
"To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
"Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive."
Mixed cast of characters:
Séverin - half-Algerian
Laila - Indian
Zofia - Jewish, Polish, autistic
Enrique - Filipino/Spanish, queer
Tristan - ?
Hypnos - Black, queer
An excerpt from my review after reading Glowgems for Profit:
Refreshingly, Davis' universe is diverse, with good guys and bad guys of every ethnicity and race, and often you have to guess by the last name or a bit of a description to figure it out. Zack himself is Black, an unusual feature in science fiction in general -- a Black main character -- and he doesn't even get killed off. I can't call him African-American, he's from Mars. With his crew/partner, Deuce; an intelligent artificial intelligence (AI), Sylvia, running the ship; a wheelchair-bound sidekick/hacker, Rabbit; and an Asian love interest, Cleopatra Lee (hmmm, makes me think of Cleopatra Jones), and an assortment of bad guys, they leap from one situation to the next, never quite stopping between. RDJ
Glowgems for Profit (Ages 13+)
"Zack Mbele, captain of the independent freighter Profit, needs cash fast. There’s a loan payment due on the ship, not to mention a bogus Customs duty imposed by a crooked official. They’ll seize his ship if he doesn't pay up and he has few prospects. So, when an old friend calls with a lead on a job, Zack isn’t too picky about obeying the letter of the law. All he has to do is smuggle someone out of Highpoint, a huge space station orbiting between the Earth and the Moon.
"But it's not all that easy, as a beautiful assassin and the Red Dragons gang complicate things.
"Suddenly Zack is involved in a maze of double-cross and murder as he races the Dragons and a shadowy paramilitary army for the greatest prize of all." Rated "PG-13" by the publisher, AKW Books. Some action-packed violence and non-graphic sex.
Thieves Profit (Ages 13+)
"Zack Mbele has a problem. The Profit is in hock for repair costs and Kwai Chang Wu, a mobster, has bought the bank that holds the note. Either he does a job for Wu, or he’ll lose his ship.
"Just to make matters worse, someone is after his friend, Rabbit, and the Dragons, another mob, are involved somehow. And if that wasn’t enough, Duce’s friends are being hurt as well; and Cleo, his ex-wife and half owner of the Profit, is up to something and he can’t figure out what it is.
"And who is the sinister, tall man and what’s his role in all of this?
"The body count keeps mounting as Zack tries to solve the puzzles while staying alive."
Profit and Loss (Ages 13+)
"The Profit was living up to her name for the first time since Zack Mbele had stolen her from the Martian Navy in the chaos at the end of the Reunification War. He was earning a good living for my crewmates, and himself, and it was all honest money. It was what Cleo had always wanted – a home built on a stable business. Zack once thought it was what he wanted, too. So why did it chafe on him so?
"On Highpoint after a successful charter job, Zack decides to look up Akira Kensai, an old acquaintance. But Akira is dead and his brother, Tanaka Kensai, turns to Zack for help in solving the mystery of his death. When people start dying, Zack realizes the plot is bigger than just the death of one honest man, especially when Zack's old enemy, Kwai Hong is involved.
"Meanwhile, Deuce rediscovers an old lover. Grace is now a torch singer in a high class bar on Highpoint's Promenade. But Deuce knows her from old and still loves her, even if her past is full of hidden dangers."
Queen Mab Courtesy (Ages 13+)
"Set in a near-future Chicago, Queen Mab Courtesy is part adventure, part mystery, part science, and all fun.
"Tito, the main character, is a 'Denver Dwarf'--victim of a birth defect caused by a biological terrorist attack while he was in the womb. It certainly didn't affect his mind or his spirit, though.
"He meets up with Charlie Sleazer, a hot chestnut vendor who quotes Shakespeare and has a few interesting sidelines (like helping people out of jams). They are trying to unravel what happened to Tito's father, who disappeared years ago. The C.O.P.S - biomechanical enforcers of a nanny state that wants to protect the people from everything, including human nature - seem to be engaged in a massive cover-up. They're closing in on Tito and the only way out leads through Blanktown.
"Queen Mab Courtesy is a fast-paced novel that's fun and easy to read." Rated "PG" for intense scenes.
Silent Melody: A Pied Piper Retelling (Songs of the Piper Book 1) (Ages 15+)
"When the Pied Piper came, only three children remained. One was deaf and one was blind.
"Being deaf meant life was hard for Adelaide in thirteenth century Germany. However, it also saved her from the Pied Piper's music. When the children were stolen, she was left behind. Now she and her blind friend risk everything to free the children trapped in an eternal dance. But to rescue them she must face the Heartless Queen, who will do anything to keep them, and survive her twisted games. Adelaide finds she has no choice but to trust the man she should hate and hope he is not playing games of his own.
"If she fails, the children will be lost forever.
Written by the UK-based Christian fiction author Alice Ivinya, this retelling of the Pied Piper tale is promoted as a "clean read" so parents should have no worries about language or sex scenes. The protagonist is deaf.
Enchanted Melody (Songs of the Piper Book 2) (Ages 15+)
"One curse breaks, another begins…
"The woman he loves may now be Crown Princess, but Peter's life is far from easy. The country is broken and many children are missing. Not to mention that he still has to live with Queen Oda, who is far from sane.
"Peter must rescue the children that he stole, but their captives will not let them go without a fight. Desperate for redemption, he takes riskier missions in order to correct the wrongs of his past and feel worthy of Adelaide’s love.
"However soon he is in real danger when he stumbles on a forgotten mythological power, and a curse makes him change places with a bear.
"He must learn how to break the curse while freeing the children or leave Avia broken and threatened by war.
"Meanwhile Adelaide must choose between fighting to heal her country and saving the man she loves."
The Owlstone Crown (Ages 9 - 11)
"This afternoon would be great for skating, but Timothy and Verity Tibbs must work in a frozen field, digging parsnips for mean Maw and Paw Grimble to boil into bad-tasting medicine. What a life! When private detective Lewis O. Ladybug brings news from another world, everything changes. Gran and Gramp are in trouble, and it's up to Timothy and Verity to rescue them. Led to Other Earth by the tiny detective, they meet a crew of unlikable characters, make some amazing new friends, and find themselves in the midst of one adventure after another." I just read this charming little book and enjoyed it. I'd like to point out that the twin Verity is vision impaired, but it doesn't hold her back in this lovely fantasy adventure story. RDJ
The Eagle as Wide as the World (Ages 9 - 11)
"Mystery and adventure fill this intriguing modern fantasy--a companion to X.J. Kennedy's The Owlstone Crown. The rumor that giant killer bees, six feet long, are invading the country, is confirmed when Mustard, the half-brother of the Tibb twins is kidnapped by the bees. This sometimes scary, frequently hilarious story builds to a rousing conclusion." It appears that there's only a hardback edition available at this time. RDJ
Alisa Krasnostein (Editor) & Julia Rios (Editor)
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories (Ages 13+)
What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgender animal shifter have in common? They're all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.
Featuring New York Times bestselling and award winning authors along with newer voices: Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar, William Alexander, Karen Healey, E.C. Myers, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, Sean Williams, Amal El-Mohtar, Jim C. Hines, Faith Mudge, John Chu, Alena McNamara, Tim Susman, Gabriela Lee, Dirk Flinthart, Holly Kench, Sean Eads, and Shveta Thakrar
Marcos and the Pharaoh's Curse (Grades 3 to 8 / Ages 8 to 12+)
"The Beatrice sank in the Mediterranean Sea two hundred years ago. Lost to the world – until now. Divers are preparing to plunder her treasure unaware that any interference of the unusual contents will trigger a catastrophic event. The terrifying consequences of the divers succeeding are unimaginable. Twelve-year-old Marco and a mermaid, Lois, are the only ones who can prevent the curse from happening. Have they overestimated their abilities? They have 48 hours to journey the treacherous underwater route from Malta to Sardinia to find help and then return. Time is tight, but that’s the least of their problems…" I hightly recommend this adventure/fantasy story to parents and kids.
Bleeding Violet (Ages 16+)
"Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home. But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. And when a crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe."
From VOYA April 2010 - "This teen novel is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of blood, gore, violence, sex and bad decisions. The main character would make many parents cringe. Teens who crave all those things and a dose of the dark arts will love this novel. Although Hannah is not a character to emulate, she is interesting. The plot can be a bit confusing at times, and some situations just do not make sense. For instance, Hannah suffers no consequences for violently assaulting her aunt. Nevertheless it is a fantasy, so some suspension of disbelief is required when reading this interesting debut from an author to watch." Not recommended for younger teens due to violence and teen sex.
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