Tongue-Tied

Hi, everyone!

I’ve added a new tag called “Tongue-Tied.” These posts are excerpts from a Young Adult novel that I’m currently working on. It’s the story of two very different young women who both happen to be autistic, and what happens when they unexpectedly enter each other’s lives. I’ve thrown a bit of science fiction into the mix, with the inclusion of virtual reality devices that give users a little more control than one would expect. Our main characters, Cecilia and Hope, are both dealing with the hardest parts of growing up (identity, love, family, etc.), and they find that things are further complicated by their very different life experiences on the spectrum.

You can find a more formal summary of the book below. Thanks for reading!


Cecilia Miller has been in love with Jacob Hunter for as long as she can remember. When he mysteriously vanishes from their hometown one bright summer day, Cecilia wants to join the search and help bring him home.

There’s just one problem. Cecilia is autistic, communicates using an AAC device, and requires a lot of daily supports. Her big brother Michael, who takes care of her, doesn’t like the idea of her heading out on her own – especially to look for someone who likely doesn’t want to be found. Plus he’s too busy with his new job, at the local meat processing plant, to help her with her search.

Enter Simulera Incorporated.

When Esperanza “Hope” Diaz agreed to be a part of Simulera Inc.’s pilot program, she wasn’t sure what to expect. They told her she would be helping disabled people who couldn’t leave the house or travel great distances on their own. Through the company’s patented VR headsets, she would be able to show users parts of the world that they could not physically reach themselves. Hope is both nervous and excited about her first assignment.

When Cecilia asks for help in her search for Jacob, Hope doesn’t know if she should accept the job. But once Cecilia reveals her autism, Hope is completely on-board. Hope has recently been diagnosed with autism herself, and she has been trying to make sense of her life, through reflecting on her past and writing about her experiences. Hope is also incredibly curious about this nonspeaking girl who wants so desperately to chase after a lifelong crush. Hope has had some experience with relationships, both good and bad, and she knows first-hand how hard unrequited crushes can be. Even though she has learned to communicate relatively well with others, her worst crushes can leave Hope completely tongue-tied and vulnerable.

Cecilia is tired of feeling powerless, and hatches a plan to meet up with Hope on her road trip. Hope decides that she wants to help Cecilia get closure, so she can move on and get over her infatuation with Jacob. Maybe then, Cecilia will be able to find someone better to love. Hope presents herself to Cecilia as the expert on relationships, but her confidence hides a darker story – one that Cecilia is determined to get to the bottom of. As they follow the trail that Jacob left behind, both girls discover that they still have a lot to learn about life, love, and friendship.

Published by Adriana Lebrón White

Autistic school librarian and former special education teacher. MA Ed in Special Education and MLIS with a focus on Youth Services and Storytelling.

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