When Lily Michaels-Ryan ditches her ADHD meds and lands in detention with Abelard, who has Asperger’s, she’s intrigued—Abelard seems thirty seconds behind, while she feels thirty seconds ahead. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brilliant and beautiful.
When Abelard posts a quote from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise online, their mutual affinity for ancient love letters connects them. The two fall for each other. Hard. But is it enough to bridge their differences in person?
This hilarious, heartbreaking story of human connection between two neurodivergent teens creates characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Mild sexual themes
Booklist (October 1, 2017 (Vol. 114, No. 3))
Grades 8-11. Lily, 16, struggles with ADHD. She hates her medication, but without it, she loses focus and has difficulty controlling her impulses. One of these impulses leads her to Abelard, a classmate with Asperger’s syndrome. They’re probably the only teens at their school who have read The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise, and they begin a text correspondence in which they quote the book heavily. In fact, the text sessions seem better than some of their real-life encounters. As their relationship flourishes, Lily feels bound for eventual disaster. Abelard recognizes her best qualities, but his own issues create tension. When Lily thinks she is going to lose Abelard, she goes into full destructive mode, which, ironically, gets her headed in the right direction. Creedle’s debut novel is rich and thoughtful, and Lily, the first-person narrator, is feisty, funny, and introspective. Abelard’s portrayal dispels the erroneous notion that people with autism lack emotion. Lily’s best friend Rosalind, her overachieving younger sister Iris, and her mother are particularly realistic and effective foils to Lily’s turmoil.
Kirkus Reviews (September 15, 2017)
When two white Texas teens—Lily with ADHD, Abelard with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder—fall in love, their romance loosely tracks that of their medieval predecessors. If she raises her grades and stops skipping school, Lily might be allowed to visit Dad—medieval-history scholar–turned–Oregon goat farmer—this summer. Failure seems likely; Lily’s hidden her emotionally deadening meds in the bedroom she shares with her little sister, who attends a school for gifted kids. When Lily lands in detention with handsome, smart, socially isolated Abelard, he covers for her, earning her appreciative kiss. Having inadvertently exposed Abelard to online ridicule, Lily borrows from the letters of Abelard and Heloise and apologizes. A strong text-based and shaky in-person romance ensues. Abelard’s journey from social isolation to engagement is slow (hovering parents don’t help). While Lily’s dream of Oregon collapses with her grades, Abelard awaits admission to a prestigious college-prep program in New Mexico. At her mother’s urging, Lily consents to experimental brain surgery. Banishing or alleviating her symptoms could make college (previously ruled out) possible for her, too. As revealed in her trenchant narration, Lily’s smart, funny, impulsive, easily distracted—ADHD is part of her. How will excising it affect her? Her romance with Abelard? Everyone around her has an opinion, and so will readers. Because many teens with ADHD manage college without medication (the surgery option is fiction), the scenario’s either/or premise also merits examination. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and unsettling—in a good way. (Fiction. 12-16)
About the Author
From her website, www.lauracreedle.com:
I’m Laura Creedle. I’m ADHD, dyslexic and neuro-divergent. I write YA novels and I blog at adhd-writer.com. I live in Austin Texas in an urban forest with my husband and son, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and a tiny dog who acts like a cat. Also, a half dozen raccoons who have burrowed into my attic. Unless I play NPR on a radio in the attic, because as everyone knows, raccoons hate low key pleasant liberalism. Like most people in Austin, I play guitar. I also own more than one pair of cowboy boots. Neither of these is a requirement, but they help. When not writing, I volunteer with a kindergarten pre-literacy program at a local school.
Around the Web
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily on Amazon
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily on Goodreads
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily Publisher Page