Reviews tagging 'Panic attacks/disorders'

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass

10 reviews

mel_muses's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.5

"Call it destiny, or a pattern. The exact word doesn’t matter. I know where I’m meant to be."

What more could I ask for in a middle grade novel? A.J. Sass included some of the most heartfelt representation I've read in middle grade. I loved the sapphic rep. I loved the autism rep. I loved the Jewish rep. I loved how everything was depicted with such care and awareness that one experience doesn't encompass all.

Ellen Outside the Lines follows Ellen on her trip to Spain with her Spanish class. Ellen is a planner, a person who likes to stick to a schedule (felt). She's also open-minded, and willing to change the boxes she has in her head (and dot diary). So when her regularly schedules Spain trip gets turned into an exciting scavenger hunt by her Spanish teacher, Ellen's a little hesitant, to say the least.

I loved the explorations of friendship. Between Ellen and Isa, the new nonbinary kid on their trip, as well as between their whole scavenger hunt group itself — including Andy and Gibs. They were all endearing, and felt so authentic as little middle schoolers. I want to wrap them all up into a good, big hug. I felt like every single subject was treated with such complete openness to other experiences. Ellen was so understanding and perceptive, and Isa was such a good friend to them, always ready to call out other people and provide a fresh perspective. Andy and Gibs, too, surprised me by how quickly I grew to care for them.

Another relationship I absolutely loved was Ellen and her abba. I loved the casual use of Hebrew in their conversations, and the ways they connected over Judaism. It was such a wonderful thing, to see this middle schooler as a practicing Jew, and care for her culture and religion.

A.J. Sass explores so many topic you wouldn't expect, but does it so effectively and carefully that it makes this book so, so special because of it. This is a book about friendship and identity, and living as who you are. I felt everything Ellen went through deeply. I hope you read this book and see it for the special piece of middle grade literature that it is.

Trigger Warnings: forced outing, sensory overstimulation, transphobia (challenged)

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

library_kb's review

Go to review page

emotional inspiring tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This may be a favorite book of the year. I loved the character depth of Ellen, and the complicated conflicts she had to navigate about changing friendships, fixing broken relationships when you mess up, and figuring out identity. It also has a lot of different experiences portrayed that readers can either see themselves in or empathize with others' experiences. I think the way that Ellen processes her friend Isa's identity throughout the book will help readers unfamiliar with what nonbinary means understand. Ellen is Jewish and autistic, and also knows she is not attracted to guys. Her friend Isa is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, and another new friend likes guys. I liked how supportive Ellen's dad was throughout the story of all the students, and reading about their scavenger hunt through Spain made me want to travel. Highly recommend 5th grade and up! 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

careinthelibrary's review

Go to review page

3.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

buttermellow's review

Go to review page

emotional hopeful informative reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ezwolf's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional informative reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

First of all, I was just about in tears (happy tears!) by the end. To have a queer Jewish character who uses she/they pronouns really just made me so indescribably happy!

Jewish middle grade is going to be my favorite genre forever now I think. I've read so many great middle grade books with Jewish characters in the last few years and it makes me so happy for kids now to have such great representation in books, especially when so many Jewish books focus on the Holocaust (but yes, those are important too).

I loved that Hebrew was spoken between Ellen and her abba and that we got to see Jewish traditions just as part of Ellen's every day life. I've had l'cha dodi stuck in my head all day now though. 

This book had a lot of great moments for the audience to learn about Judaism, gender identity, sexual orientation and autism.

I will now be reading all of A.J. Sass' other work as soon as possible!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

wordswitwonder's review

Go to review page

adventurous hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I really enjoyed this book. It is an own voices story about a Jewish autistic girl named Ellen. The cast of characters is diverse, including a boy with adhd, a (part?) latinx nonbinary character, and Castilian characters.  It showcases how autism impacts Ellen's relationship with the world around her without infantilizing her, which is quite refreshing. It's a nice little coming of age story.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

betweentheshelves's review

Go to review page

emotional hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Jewish rep (I don't think I've ever seen a middle grade book where they spoke Hebrew), queer rep, and autistic rep, all done fabuously. Elle felt like such a real, authentic character, going through things that every middle schooler goes through: changing friend groups. At least, that seems like a pretty universal thing to me.

I basically read this book in one sitting because it was paced so well, and I was so engaged by the characters. This is AJ Sass's second book, but you can bet that I will be on the lookout for what he writes in the future. I've thoroughly enjoyed both books so far!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ankonyx's review

Go to review page

emotional hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

daycia's review

Go to review page

adventurous hopeful inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.75


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

imstephtacular's review

Go to review page

adventurous emotional hopeful lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


Expand filter menu Content Warnings
More...