The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily

7 CDs. 8:10 hrs. Dreamscape. Jan. 2018. $29.99. ISBN 9781520088587.
Gr 7 Up—Austin, TX, teens Lily Michaels-Ryan and Abelard Mitchell are opposites on the neurological spectrum. Lily loves reading and learning, but owing to dyslexia and ADHD, she struggles with high school's structure and deadlines. Abelard finds happiness in straightforward absolutes like mathematics and robotics, though his sensitivity with light, sound, and physical touch—as part of his Asperger's—keeps him from having many close friends. Like the real-life medieval lovers Peter Abelard and Heloise before them, the pair find ways to communicate and connect as they face complex medical treatments and life choices that ask them to define what living with "disabilities" means for them. Narrator Rebecca Gibel authentically portrays Lily's daily frustrations, letting listeners experience the blur of language that Lily tries to understand. Gibel captures Lily's disarming wit and intense attraction to Abelard while still delivering on Creedle's well-drawn secondary characters. Listeners will be steadily engaged throughout this #ownvoices story.
VERDICT Fans of John Green—esque love against the odds stories, mixed with realistic depictions of mental health, will gravitate towards this listenable debut.

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