Ellen Outside the Lines

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Winner of a Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor!

A heartfelt novel about a neurodivergent thirteen-year-old navigating changing friendships, a school trip, and expanding horizons for fans of Rain Reign and Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World.

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.

About the Author

A. J. Sass (he/they) is the author of Ana on the Edge, an ALA 2021 Rainbow Book List Top 10 title, and Ellen Outside the Lines. He grew up in the Midwest, came of age in the South, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his husband and two cats who act like dogs. He invites you to visit him online at sassinsf.com, or on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram @matokah.

* "A heartwarming and inviting book about finding self that hits at the ever-changing (and challenging) world of middle school. Recommended for all middle grade shelves."--SLJ, starred review

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub date:
Length:
352 pages
Format: Paperback