To be published on 30th May 2019 by Unbound Publishing: pre-order here!

Are you tired of autistic and neurodiverse characters being tokenistic, based on stereotypes, or the victims rather than the heroes? If so, you may love Underdogs.

Underdogs is a near-future dystopia novel, where teenagers who escaped an attack on their special school become the last hope of freeing the British people. A character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, it balances intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast. Soon to be published (in both paperback and ebook forms) by Unbound Publishing, Underdogs is currently in its pre-ordering stage and can be found here.

A brief summary:


Special education has never looked like this.

Ewan West has grown up being seen as nothing more than a defiant teenage screw-up, with learning difficulties and enormous personal issues. Thankfully, he’s smart as hell in the battlefield. And now that the British population depends on him, his life might finally mean something.

Britain has been conquered, its population imprisoned in giant walled citadels. They are guarded by an innumerable army of cloned soldiers, created by the biologists and military personnel who have seized power. The nation’s last hope are the Underdogs: a dozen fighters comprised largely of Ewan’s special school classmates, hidden in the abandoned countryside near the prison city of New London.

Ewan and his friends have much to fight against – inside and out – in order to free the British people. But their war is as complex as the characters who fight it. After all, how do you defeat a factory-grown army that outnumbers you by at least a million? The answer may lie in an impossible woman rescued by the Underdogs, who claims to know the secret to destroying New London’s clone factory.

Underdogs, suitable for teens and adults alike, is a character-driven story above all else. Its main characters have spent their formative years being made to believe they’re at the bottom of the social food chain, and now find themselves trying to rescue the population that put them there. As they develop throughout the story, the teenagers are trapped in a constant conflict between learning how to play to their strengths, and coping with the demand on their mental states as the war takes turns for the worse.

In an era when fictional representations of neurodiversity and disability are on the rise, Underdogs goes beyond mere tokenism and introduces a whole cast of teenagers who think differently, balancing their inbuilt advantages with their personal challenges. The novel blends increasingly relevant social issues with intense action, and the result is more than a typical war story. It is a novel about vulnerable young people trying to be the best they can be, in a world that has never been on their side.

The opening chapter, free to read for all, is available here, along with all pre-order options.

Chapters two and three are also available on my Patreon page (free for all to read), here and here respectively. Enjoy!

Chris Bonnello



Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on stereotypes, or being the victims rather than the heroes? This novel series may interest you!

Underdogs, a near-future dystopia series where the heroes are teenagers with special needs, is a character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, balancing intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast.

Book one can be found here:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Audible (audiobook version)
Review page on Goodreads

Chris Bonnello is a national and international autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
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