The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily

School is "a molasses eternity, a nightmare ravel of bubble sheets and unkind whispers unfurled in slow motion" for 16-year-old Lily Michaels-Ryan, who goes on and off her attention deficit meds "because they made [her] puke randomly and caused [her] head to ring like an empty bell at night." But when she connects with a boy named Abelard Mitchell, she is overtaken by "a wave of golden happiness... like a drug strong enough to counteract the late-day letdown of... ADHD meds." Abelard is also neurodivergent--he has Asperger's--and even though their brains manifest themselves in almost opposite ways, they are drawn to each other. They communicate mostly through texting, quoting heavily from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, the 12th-century collection of letters between a French philosopher and his student. Finding the perfect quotations to move their own relationship deeper becomes a thrilling joint undertaking. But life is still a daily challenge for Lily. She and Abelard are each faced with potentially life-changing prospects as they move toward adulthood, and even their beloved Middle Ages romantic heroes can't produce the answers they need.

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily is Laura Creedle's exquisite debut novel. Readers will fall in love with the eponymous characters, squirming at clever Lily's propensity for putting her foot in her mouth and laughing at their delight in each other's differences: Lily babbles; Abelard finds it hard to speak when overwhelmed with feelings. Who can't relate? --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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