Books featuring characters with chronic illness

Chronic Disease Day is marked on July 10 to spread awareness, educate and advocate for people who live with chronic health conditions every day. And there are lots of great books that shine a light on people going about their lives while dealing with various conditions — here are just a few!

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal: She’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life.” But Chloe needs a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job. Red is a handyman with tattoos and a motorcycle, and he’s also an artist who paints at night, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. But Red clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And he doesn’t want anyone to know what really lies beneath his rough exterior.

Conditions of A Heart by Bethany Mangle

Brynn Kwan is desperate for her high school persona to be real. That Brynn is head of the yearbook committee, the favorite for prom queen, and definitely not crumbling from a secret disability. But during a suspension from school, she realizes that she doesn’t quite recognize the face in the mirror. With a healthy sister who doesn’t understand and a confused ex-boyfriend who won’t take a hint, Brynn begins to wonder if it’s possible to reinvent her world by being herself.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

A reunion between childhood friends Sam and Sadie Green during college leads to a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. They borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating, they have created their first blockbuster game, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

When Willa asked Ryder to borrow his lecture notes in class, the silent, surly, mountain man ignored her. From that moment, she’s made it clear she hates his guts. That’s fine. She is the feisty, tempting chaos he doesn’t need. When they’re forced to work together on their final project, Willa and Ryder begin a game of pranks, each determined to come out the champion. But once they catch unexpected feelings, victory begins to mean something else.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora O’Malley’s been with a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when her mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape. For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills when she ends up in the middle of a bank robbery.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Every day, Theodore thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for — and manages to find — something to keep him here, and alive, and awake. Violet lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small town and her grief after her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of a bell tower, it’s unclear who saves whom. As they grow closer, Violet’s world grows, but Finch’s begins to shrink.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Simone is starting over at a new school. She’s making real friends and making a play for the guy who makes her melt. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time, things got ugly. As Simone and Miles start going out for real, she knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility. And then she finds an anonymous note: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. As she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face … or kiss the boy next door? Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, who hasn’t left her house in 17 years. The only people she ever sees are her mom and her nurse, Carla. But one day, a moving truck arrives next door and she sees Olly — tall, lean and wearing all black. Maddy is certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and soon, they’re spending their days together. And Darius has never felt more like himself.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

The Fall of Whit Rivera by Crystal Maldonado

Frenemies Whit and Zay have been at odds for years (ever since he broke up with her in, like, the most embarrassing way imaginable), so when they’re forced to organize the fall formal together, it’s a literal disaster. Sparks fly as Whitney — type A, passionate, a perfectionist, and a certified sweater-weather fanatic — butts heads with Zay, a dry, relaxed skater boy who takes everything in stride. But not all of those sparks are bad.