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"Ellen Outside the Lines" by A.J. Sass

Ellen Outside the Lines cover

Rain Reign meets Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World in this heartfelt novel about a neurodivergent thirteen-year-old navigating changing friendships, a school trip, and expanding horizons. Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday. Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal.

But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps. A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track. Except it doesn't. Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned. Making new friends and letting go of old ones is never easy, but Ellen might just find a comfortable new place for herself if she can learn to embrace the fact that life doesn't always stick to a planned itinerary.

Disability rep: #ND #AutismSpectrumDisorder

Publication date: #March2022 #2022year

BONUS! Check out Kait Goodwin's #OwnVoices review of Ellen Outside The Lines on her book blog, Kait Plus Books, here:

Excerpt from review:

I LOVE ALL OF THIS SO SO SO MUCH!!!! Ellen’s autism reminded me a lot of my own (I think I texted my mom three times with quotes from the book, like, hey look other people do this!) and it would not be possible to overstate how wonderful it was to have that. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have this book when I was in middle school, but I like to think it would have been helpful. ALSO—the queerness! I. freaking. loved. it!!!! and Ellen’s Jewish identity was also great! and the writing! and the story! and and and ALL OF IT!❞ - Kait Goodwin

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