Neurodiversity in Fiction

Here are some book recommendations for neurodiverse protagonists and neurodiversity in fiction.

If you'd prefer a more curated list, that's more tailored to your needs, interests and reading preferences you might find our Personalised Book Prescription helpful. You might also find it helpful to undertake a bibliotherapy session or our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course where you can discuss/explore whatever you're going through in more depth.

Convenience Store Women (Fiction) by Sayaka Murata

A female writer, Sayaka Murata, has written several award-winning books centred on loneliness including Shiro-oro no machi no, sono hone no taion no(Of Bones, of Body Heat, of Whitening City) winner of the Yukio Mishima Prize in 2013 and more recently the Convenience Store Woman which won the 2016 Akutagawa Award. Many of her characters are lonely people who describe their observations, feelings and desire to exist in solitude. The characters revolve around convenience store customers (Murata works at one of Japan’s many convenience stores) who prefer to eat alone or shop alone. She eloquently depicts these colourful characters and why they choose this path, shying away from the judgement of society who expect the opposite of them, refusing to understand their preferences.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

The Rosie Project by [Graeme Simsion]


A unique novel about a socially awkward, genetics professor’s quest to find true love.  

Don Tillman is a genetics professor, who also has Asperger’s and struggles with dating. He has never been past the first one and has few friends. Inspired by a neighbour, who reckons he’d be a great husband, he decides to embark on an experiment called ‘The Wife Project’, based on the statistical hypotheses that there is someone for everyone. He sets out on his search and is keen to find someone who is punctual and logical too.  

Then there is Rosie Jarman, who is a barmaid, vegetarian and chronically late who is looking for her biological father, leading her to Don Tillman! A hilarious novel on how ‘good on paper’ can be incredibly deceiving. 

Neurodiverse men (those with Asperger’s, autism, ADHD, dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions) have a very different perspective on love to the neurotypical men and given that they form 15 – 20 % of the population, it’s interesting to understand how they view love too, as you might find yourself pairing with one of them! 

The Kiss Quotient (Fiction) by Helen Hoang 

The Kiss Quotient: TikTok made me buy it! (The Kiss Quotient series)

If you’ve never been interested in the romance genre or have lost interest in it, then this is the book that will rekindle it. The book’s protagonist, Stella Lane, is a highly successful mathematician who uses data to determine what customers will purchase next. 

This skill has allowed her to become wealthy at age thirty however where she excels in her money-making abilities, she struggles in the relationship category. Stella suffers from Asperger’s and barely has any dating experience. She decides to hire an escort to help her practice French-kissing with a professional. 

Escort, Michael Phan, is a wonderful teacher whose lesson plan goes beyond the French-kissing to include foreplay and the missionary position amongst other things. Soon Stella finds herself craving more and more of the sexual activity with Phan, and she discovers the logic behind this craving. 

Refreshing, unique and a different take on romance, Helen Hoang has carved out a name for herself and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. 


Turtles All the Way Down(Fiction) by John Green 

Turtles All the Way Down by [John Green]

This is an ambitious, authentic and perhaps cathartic piece of fiction, from the prolific author, that thoughtfully weaves together a story about sixteen-year-old Aza and a fugitive billionaire whose mystery she painstaking tries to solve with her best friend Daisy. The story details the daily struggles of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and provides a painstaking accurate narrative of what it feels like to be a teenager with unrelenting anxiety. One of my favourite young adult fiction books. 


Bewilderment (Fiction) by Richard Powers 

Bewilderment: From the million-copy global bestselling author of The Overstory by [Richard Powers]

From the Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Overstory, Richard Powers, comes this stunning novel with simply, gorgeous and thoughtful prose.  Following the death of his wife, Theo Byrne, an astrobiologist, pursues a mission to discover life in space as he embraces single parenthood, raising his neurodiverse 9-year-old son, Robin. Robin has two sides to him: he's a kind, compassionate, caring boy with exquisite artistic abilities, painting pictures of endangered animals. He is also deeply disturbed and physically hurts a friend in third grade risking being expelled. He spirals into more and more despair. Theo, hoping to avoid psychoactive drugs, tests out an innovative neurofeedback treatment to help Robin regulate his emotions, using his mother's brain and mirroring her own brain pathways.  

In the backdrop, Powers continues to immerse us in gorgeous scenes of the natural world and of perhaps a life beyond planet earth, drawing parallels to his parenting challenges and unconditional love for his son. Through the eyes of Robin, we see his frustration at humanity's lack of care towards the environment and its impact on the multitude of life and sophisticated eco-systems that are struggling to survive, shining a light on the value of all life on earth and the depths of human destruction. 

With themes of climate change, animal extinction, compassion towards nature and the deep love and intimacy between parent and child, this is an inspiring yet eye-opening book on the world and environment around us, making us fall in love with our planet again and looking at it with a renewed sense of care, compassion and responsibility, if that is still possible. 


Looking for something more specific? Get something more tailored with our personalised book prescriptions within 48 hours. 

You might also find it helpful to explore these feelings in a bibliotherapy session or learn some bibliotherapy techniques to help you process these feelings by completing our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course or our book Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading.

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish two books called Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading and The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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