Blog Tour: Ellen Outside the Lines by AJ Sass (Review + Aesthetic Board!)

Posted March 21, 2022 by Kaity in Aesthetic Board, Book Review, Book Tours / 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Ellen Outside the Lines by AJ Sass (Review + Aesthetic Board!)

Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ELLEN OUTSIDE THE LINES by AJ Sass! I’m so excited to share my review with you today, AND my aesthetic board, PLUS more information about the author and tour! And now without any further ado, let’s get to the review!

I received this book for free from TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour: Ellen Outside the Lines by AJ Sass (Review + Aesthetic Board!)Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass
Published on March 22, 2022 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Neurodivergent, Queer
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: TBR and Beyond Tours
Add to Goodreads
Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, TikTok

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.


  • new favorite middle grade book? NEW FAVORITE MIDDLE GRADE BOOK!
  • #ownvoices autism rep is just *chef’s kiss*!!!
  • VERDICT: read this as soon as you possibly can!

what i loved

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!

what i didn’t

uh…. um…. no. nothing. I loved it ALL!

favorite character?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ellen, but also Isa and Andy and IsaAndyGibs I love too! And Ellen’s Abba. And Señor L. And Ellen’s mom, even though we didn’t get to see a ton of her. Basically, everyone. Except for the ones I don’t like.

will i re-read it?


three words to describe the book

change, identity, possibility

other thoughts

this book is very queer, and very autistic, and very Jewish, and very middle grade, and very VERY good! I ABSOLUTELY cannot wait to go read EVERYTHING AJ SASS writes from now on!

Tv Show Comedy GIF by Everything's Gonna Be Okay

so I did not LOVE the cover before I started reading this book. BUT THEN. after I read it? I FREAKING LOVE THIS COVER IT IS PERFECT AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

10/10 stars!!!

  • #it’s all queer and neurodivergent over here
  • #starring a very Jewish family
  • #non binary character(s) written by a non binary author
  • Say It Out Loud by Allison Varnes
  • The Retake by Jen Calonita
  • Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

I was reading my notes and highlights to create the graphics in the next section, and I laughed out loud when I saw my note that said View Spoiler » waaaaaay before the text confirmed it. To be fair, most of the notes I take the time to type out on my kindle say something like View Spoiler »but this book was super fun because I was right!!!! Most of the characters really are!!! and I LOVE IT!!!!

ALSO, let’s talk about View Spoiler » because she DEFINITELY does!!! If you have also read the book, do you think that they end up View Spoiler » Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

About A.J. Sass

A. J. Sass (he/they) is an author, editor, and competitive figure skater who is interested in how intersections of identity, neurodiversity, and allyship can impact story narratives. He is the author of Ana on the Edge, a Booklist Editors’ Choice 2020 and ALA 2021 Rainbow Book List Top 10 for Young Readers selection, and Ellen Outside the Lines (Little, Brown, 2022), the co-author of Camp QUILTBAG* with Nicole Melleby (Algonquin, 2023), as well as a contributor to the This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us (Knopf) and Allies: Real Talk about Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again (DK US & UK) anthologies. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his boyfriend and two cats who act like dogs.

What do you think about Ellen Outside the Lines? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!

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