Neurodiverse Rebellion in Young Adult Fiction: Something Beneath The Surface?

Shaina Paggett


On one end of the young adult character scale, you have the ‘rebellious teen.’ On the other, you have the ‘rule follower.’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’s Christopher Boone and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’s Oskar Schell are, initially, typical ‘rule-following’ characters believed to be autistic.

Whilst straying from their routines may be seen by their peers as normal, healthy moves towards independence, this paper seeks to unpack the added complexities that neurodiversity brings to young adult rebellion. In a world where even the ordinary can be scary, can the extraordinary do more harm than good?