The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily [Book Review & Giveaway!]

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily [Book Review & Giveaway!]

Hello Catastrophes!

Title: The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily

Author: Laura Creedle

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Published Date: 26th December 2017

Rating: 3 stars

*Thanks to Sunday Street Team for the review copy*

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cover104320-mediumSynopsis: 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.

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Review: The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily was a novel which had me interested as soon as I heard about it. It distinctly made me think of books like Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, and if you know how much I loved that book, then you understand how excited I was to read this novel. I was especially interested in the mental health themes and representation.

We immediately enter right into the world of Lily, who has ADHD. Lily’s attention span is short – she moves from one thing to the next so quickly. But what I loved most about stepping into her brain? She’s always thinking of something, she is always delving into a new idea, and it seems so… active? So energetic? But at the same time, I started to think about how tiring it must be for her, and wondered if she ever wanted to be able to stick to a single idea for a long time. Creedle perfectly wove her writing style into the character – I could really get a sense of being inside Lily’s head and trying to deal with her neurodivergence while also going through the typical things that teenagers must do in the growing up stage of life. I do know some people who have ADHD, but not on the level that Lily has.

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We also get to know Abelard well from this story, and his condition is never exactly pinpointed… although Lily does mention him having something like Asperger’s. I would have wanted to know exactly what it was about Abelard that made him neurodivergent because it would be something I personally would have wanted to research a bit more into. It becomes clear that Abelard’s mindset is the complete opposite to Lily’s. Even though we never get to dive into it as readers, Creedle manages to present his character in a way that hints as to what it might be like to live in his mind. And somehow, slowly, his character grew on me, and his incredible sweetness helped with that quite a lot.

I also really liked the side characters. In mental health awareness you need to be careful with the secondary characters because it may either seem like their entire lives are dedicated to helping the main character through any of their trials. But it is also important to remember that these characters have their own lives and their own stories too. In the beginning of the novel I was worried that the secondary characters were leaning toward the former end of YA mental health awareness literature. However, by around the halfway mark I could see this wasn’t the case. This was something I really appreciated while reading.

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I greatly enjoyed how Creedle wove a unique hobby between the two characters to connect them. I appreciated the medieval love letters and how it contributed to their romantic story. I also really appreciated how this novel dipped into the themes of family issues too, and how even parents aren’t perfect too. They can make mistakes… and need to learn from them.

However, having said all these great elements about the characters and the creative artistry of the author, I felt like something was missing. I do enjoy my character driven novels, but I felt like this one needed more of a plot. Or if not a grand plot, then there needed to be amore build up to the conclusions and what it meant for the character, because the conclusion felt a bit underwhelming to me.


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Relevance to today: This novel is so relevant to today because it discusses and represents two different neurodivergent children and what this means for their lives as they grow up. We need more mental health awareness as sometimes it is not always a visual difficulty that some people struggle with in everyday life.

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Gif Summary:


Found on Popkey

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Giveaway: Enter to win a finished copy of the novel! U.S. only.

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Links: Get the book on Goodreads, and The Book Depository!

Get the book on Amazon!

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New Video: My top 10: Ultimate book boyfriends!

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Olivia’s Question: Do you have a pen pal? Would you want one?

Olivia-Savannah x

Psst! This blog post uses affiliate links, so click and purchase to support Olivia’s Catastrophe <3

33 thoughts on “The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily [Book Review & Giveaway!]”

  • This sounds so absolutely adorable and relevant! It’s always refreshing to see neurodivergence getting the spotlight in a novel and being correctly portrayed is just the cherry on top. Too bad there wasn’t too much of a plot going on but at least it was enjoyable enough to keep you interested 🙂
    Wonderful review, Olivia! <3

    • My parents were pen pals in courtship and it was one of the most adorable tales to hear of their journey to love. <3

  • The characters in this book sound really well done. Too bad you felt like something was missing though. It does still sound like a worthwhile read.

    • I definitely think this is a book you should give a try! Let me know what you think once you’ve read it. The representation is done brilliantly 🙂

  • I used to have a pen pal, but now she moved into my city a couple of months ago.

    As for your review, I loved it. I appreciate mental health awareness books because I think we need more of them, especially YA so younger people would read them. From your review, it made me really interested as I enjoy books where you get a glimpse inside the mind of the character. But I do understand what you say about something lacking – I think this is something that happens with a lot of books, they are either too character-driven and lack on the plot or conflict, or they are either too plot-driven and I end up not caring for the characters too much.

    Happy holidays!
    PS: I might have tagged you in a Bookish tag – the Naughty or Nice one ☺

    • It’s so cool that you started out as pen pals and now know each other in real life and live in the same city DD: That is literally the happy ending to having a pen pal.

      We can’t have too many mental health awareness books! And getting into their mindset is really as close as we probably can ever get to really understanding, which is why I can really appreciate this book.

      It can be hard to get the balance right for the perfect read, though. Thanks Andreaa x

    • It’s not too heavy on the romance! In fact, I think it does a pretty good job of showing how romance isn’t the way out and correction to all problems. How you can’t rely entirely on one person to solve all your problems. Maybe give it a go and see what you think?

  • This is a book I’m so very curious about, Olivia! I am a teacher, and I’m always looking for ways to better understand those of my students who have different needs than some of my other students. I think that the fact that you managed to feel like you were inside Lily’s head. Too bad you felt like the plot was a little light, though.
    And I love YA stories where parents are present. And have flaws – that show that they’re human, too.
    Great review!

    • It was a bit light for me, but I think it might be perfect for other readers. And yes, the parent representation made me so happy! Even though they made mistakes they were always trying to do the best for Lily – and I guess that’s what being a parent is really all about. No one is perfect. Thanks Lexxie x

  • Sounds interesting – how is it with representing meds? Books don’t always get the tone on meds right so I tend to be wary when they tackle that issue.

    • It doesn’t really present them well? In fact, she doesn’t like taking them. But it was less saying they were ineffictive and more so she didn’t like losing the emotions/experiences that came with her mental health illness. It was so incorporated in her that she didn’t want to lose any of it, while only wanting to lose the difficulties.

      But come to think of it, I struggle to think of a mental health awareness book with a postiive perspective on meds. :/

      • *sigh* I get that some people don’t get on well with meds. But for a lot of people, they’re a serious lifeline, and adding to their stigma just stops people from getting help. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my meds have saved my life, so I think books need to be really careful with how they deal with them – they aren’t a magic cure, no, but they also save lives.

  • This book is definitely going on my TBR list. The story sounds so interesting. I agree with @Wordswithlara. Character driven books do the same for me. I’ve never had a pen-pal that I sent actual letters too but I had a German friend who was like my modern day pen-pal instead of letters, we sent emails and Facebook messages. Although I would love one where we send letters. It’s more exciting that way ☺

    • I really hope you get the chance to pick it up and read it soon! Character driven books are the best <3 It's cool that you adapted the traditional pen-pal for the modern day. That way you get a similar experience in terms of friendships. Writing letters would be cool to though. Something about the anticipation… 😉

  • This sounds like an interesting story. I like that you really felt like you could get into the mind of the main character. I am curious about this book and the characters. Sorry the ending seemed underwhelming to you!

    Thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂

    • Yes, I really felt a deep connection to her and that made the story all the better. Just a slight shame about the ending…

  • WHat a detailed review Olivia! I saw this book on MetGalley but I think I was not accepted for it. This story looks really interesting. Turtles All the Way Down is only book related to mental issue that I read this year. But I am hoping to read more books like this. And yes they are so relevant to today’s world.

  • This looks like a really interesting book! Character driven books like this are the sort of thing that help pull me out of a reading slump… I don’t know why, but really intense plot-driven books are just not good for me when I’m in a slump! Also, I don’t have a pen pal… I would LOVE one especially because nobody really writes hand written letters anymore.

    Great review!! (It’s a shame I’m not from the US lol)

    • I think you would be able to really enjoy it! I don’t know why I love character driven books so much as well – maybe because the connection to the characters is just so real and present? I hope you can find a pen pal! Maybe a bookish one?

      Ah, so sorry! I try to balance between US and INT giveaways…

  • Love your review! I love the fact that more and more authors explore mental health and have main characters that struggle with mental health. I’m curious about the book now 🙂 And to answer your question no, I don’t have a pen-pal. Not have I ever had one. I think that’s the sad part about being raised at the same time that mobile technology took off. I can’t really remember the last time I sent a hand-written letter, but it’s been ages ago. I would love to have one, tbh. Great review! I am definitely adding this book on my TBR.

    • Thank you! I think it’s so great that we are getting more protagonists who are affected by mental health. Yay for all the representation 🙂 Ah, yeah, mobile technology means we have different ways of keeping in contact with each other. But pen pals can be so much fun! I think there are a few online places that set them up, and some bookish ones around.

      I hope you get around to picking this one up soon! 🙂

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