STARRED REVIEW
January 09, 2018

A tender, unique story of connection

By Laura Creedle
Review by

Mix medieval romance with present-day Texas teens, and you have a recipe for a romance that sparkles with acceptance and a keen insight into what defines a person in a relationship.

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Mix medieval romance with present-day Texas teens, and you have a recipe for a romance that sparkles with acceptance and a keen insight into what defines a person in a relationship.

Lily, who’s been diagnosed with ADHD, gets in trouble for breaking a sliding wall between classrooms. Abelard, a boy on the autism spectrum, was on the other side of the wall and also gets in trouble. As they await their punishments, Lily impulsively kisses Abelard. Simultaneously horrified and pleased, the teens awkwardly navigate that event.

Before long, shy Abelard texts Lily, but they aren’t ordinary texts. He confidently uses sentences taken from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, the actual medieval love letters written between the two legendary figures. Lily’s father taught her to read using those letters, and Lily soon recognizes the source of Abelard’s words. She is smitten.

Because Abelard is sensitive to being touched, the teens learn how to pilot these unchartered waters of kissing and other physical manifestations of love. To further complicate the budding relationship, Lily is determined to live on the West Coast with her father for the summer, and maybe permanently, while Abelard has a chance to attend a faraway, prestigious school for autistic youth.

Laura Creedle’s The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily gives discerning insights into a romance that isn’t textbook perfect, and will challenge readers to look at love anew, especially when supplemented by the medieval tale of love that still stands the test of time.

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