The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily [Book Review & Giveaway!]
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*
Synopsis: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giveaway: Enter to win a finished copy of the novel! U.S. only.
Links: Get the book on Goodreads, and The Book Depository!
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