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Say What You Will Discussion: Disabled Characters

As you may know,  we read Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern for my July buddy read. Yesterday, I posted my review and overall thoughts on the book (which were very mixed), so you can check that out here.  I said that in the next few days, I would have some discussion posts about things that caught my attention in the book, and here is my first one. If you have read this book and have anything to add, comment below or make your own post! I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.


While reading the book, there was a scene where a class was discussing Amy after her speech. They all had their own opinions, but the teacher said something that really caught my eye.

“She’s a person with a disability conveying the message, Hey, my life isn’t all tragedy. Do we hear that message enough?”

When I saw this,  I thought about the entirety of  the YA genre. There are all these books, and only a few with disabled characters, and only a few out of that group where they are portrayed happy. Most of the time, a book focuses on how someone’s life is horrible because of their disability. Of course, their life is much more difficult to live, but that’s not all there is to that person. And yes, while they may not live what others would consider a “normal” lifestyle, that doesn’t mean they can’t be happy.

In fact,  sometimes I believe that these people are happier, because they have so to be thankful for. They tend to look on the bright side and find the beauty in all things. They are happy that they at least have the opportunity of living, even if it means facing some hard obstacles.

Young Adult books really need more books about disabled people, but more so, books about disabled people with happy endings. What makes them less capable of being as happy as the next person?



4 thoughts on “Say What You Will Discussion: Disabled Characters”

  1. I highly recommend Half A King by Joe Abercrombie, it’s a YA fantasy. The main character has a deformed hand and he lives in a warrior society where physical weakness makes him a prey for the malicious – but he never lets it define him wholly!

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