This article examines the emergence of "teen sick-lit" in the 1980s, a genre of adolescent fiction that fused illness and romance narrative to reinforce the interdependent norms of able-bodiedness, heteronormativity, emotional management, and maturity among American youth. Spotlighting popular American young adult fiction, including Lurlene McDaniel's Dawn Rochelle series (1985-93) and Jean Ferris's Invincible Summer (1987), the article critiques teen sicklit's ableist and sexist visions of disability and sexuality and attends to the ways in which these novels suggest transgressive crip possibilities for desiring disabled bodies and resisting ableist norms of gender, sexuality, and beauty. Finally, drawing novel links between disability studies and emergent affect theory, the article analyzes teen sick-lit as one understudied response to post-1968 liberal social movements and post-Fordist economic shifts toward service industries that commodified emotion.


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pp. 175-191
Launched on MUSE
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