The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published on December 26, 2017
About The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
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.
My favorite thing about this book is the interesting comparisons Lily makes of things. Her way of seeing the world felt different to me than any other character I’ve ever read. She’s spunky and smart and constantly battling herself and the world, and that made her impossible not to love. I liked that she also felt uneven, if that makes sense. She has very strong strengths– her love of literature, her obvious intelligence (though her ADHD made it hard for her to recognize about herself) and the way she values others. But in addition, she has real struggles, too. Her relationship with Abelard was never going to be a typical teen romance. I loved the way they worked around and through the challenges each of them face, for instance, the daily text message exchanges. I always swoon at witty banter, and the text message back-and-forth between Abelard and Lily totally delivered the swoon I was looking for.
Lily’s relationship with other characters also make this book complex and memorable. She and her sister are very different from one another. Iris goes to a school for gifted students, so Lily, who barely passes her own classes, believes herself constantly in Iris’s academic shadow. But it’s really not that simple. When Lily discovers that in some ways she actually casts a shadow herself, she immediately responds with empathy and wonder.
I liked the growth and change in the relationships between characters, and the energetic way Lily relates her adventures. If you enjoyed The One Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, you will want to check out The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily, too.
Lily has ADHD and Abelard has Asperger’s.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used every chapter or so.
Kissing between boy and girl. Lily also references a desire to be in bed with Abelard. (She phrases it that way.)
Lily has a tendency to break things by accident. Abelard bangs his head on a coffee table on purpose in one scene. At one point, a woman becomes angry and throws a glass against the wall.
Lily wrestles with taking her ADHD medication, which causes a number of unpleasant side effects.