CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.
Ellen Outside the Lines / written by AJ Sass / 2022
CW: Queer character being outed
Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass is a contemporary juvenile novel that follows Ellen Katz, a queer, autistic, Jewish girl as she navigates life and friendship. Ellen’s Spanish class is going to Barcelona for two weeks, and she expects it to be a time for her to reconnect with her best friend Laurel. But during this trip, her carefully planned routines and expectations are thrown for a loop when she gets paired with a different group, allowing her to learn not just about herself but those around her.
This novel explores gender identity, queerness, religion, neurodivergence, and what it means to be a friend. It is a heartwarming story of growth and acceptance that makes it a read that you won’t want to put down until you’re done.
Review by Alice Somers, CECH Library Student Assistant | Early Childhood Education and Deaf Studies, CECH 2026