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Freya Harte is not a Puzzle

Freya Harte is not a Puzzle

Freya’s always felt different, so when she learns she’s autistic she doesn't want anyone to know. All she wants is to fit in. But does she really need to change herself or can she find friends who like her just the way she is? A novel about friendship, discovering who you really are -- and being ok with that!


Great Reads Awards - 2023

Library Association of Ireland School Libraries Group - Long-listed

Paperback: €9.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781788493451

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781788494281

Things I will be in Irish college: * Friendly to everyone (agree with everything they say) * Easy-going * Nice (compliment everyone’s clothes/ make-up)

Things I will NOT be: * Annoying (don’t ask too many questions) * Embarrassing * Weird (no stupid jokes or comments)


Freya’s always felt different, so when she learns she’s autistic she doesn't want anyone to know. All she wants is to fit in. But does she really need to change herself or can she find friends who like her just the way she is?

Méabh Collins

Méabh Collins is a writer and scholar from Dublin. She holds an M.Phil in Children's Literature from Trinity College Dublin, where she is currently pursuing a PhD. In recent years, she has worked as a primary school teacher and in children's and Irish language publishing. She lives in Dublin with her husband and their rescue greyhound. This is her first novel.

Irish debut with positive representation … about finding your place in the world, in an unmistakably Irish setting, this is the book that I would have wanted to read when I was a 12 year old … Great for fans of Aoife Dooley and Frankie’s World

Elaina Ryan, CBI on Here & Back Again pod

a school-based exploration of a young teen’s diagnosis as an autistic person … This book does a great job of showing how the language and terminology we use matters deeply, and the enduring power of friendship and acceptance

Children's Books Ireland in the Irish Examiner

Neurodiversity is the focus of several new titles this month with a standout being Meabh Collins’s debut, Freya Harte Is Not A Puzzle. Collins has a background in both education and children’s literature and blends these skills beautifully in an account of being a newly diagnosed autistic teenage girl who very firmly does not want “special treatment in school. I don’t want to be singled out for being different. If I could just figure out how to be normal, then I wouldn’t have to worry about this stuff.” Although the protagonist, Freya, has a supportive adult in school, there is also an utter wagon of a teacher who gets cranky when her errors are pointed out and says things like: “Sure, half of them are diagnosed with something these days. You’d be hard pressed to keep up.” Freya is also conscious that despite the oft-trotted- reminder that everyone is more concerned with themselves than anyone else, “the beady eyes of bored schoolgirls” are utterly terrifying. The hopeful ending is an earned one with a shrewd eye on the unspoken “rules” of female friendships

Irish Times

Awareness and understanding are at the heart of her book and Méabh’s respect for her readers comes over throughout too in a story which is thoughtful and sensitive from beginning to end … presenting readers with a real character they will like as well as understand, in a book full of drama, development and the kind of laughter that teenage girls specialise in. Everyone should read it’

Books for Keeps

I was up late last night finishing this beauty … Freya is a beautifully drawn character and it’s a funny, heart-squeezing, kind and honest book about an autistic young person and her family and friendship dramas … I hope this book has a wide readership. Yes, it’s an exploration of how the world looks and feels to Freya, an autistic teen, but it’s also a darn great friendship and family story, with lots of humour and drama. Her Irish college experiences are brilliantly drawn

Sarah Webb

for me the real highlight is the way these and some other aspects of the book highlight to us that language and terminology matter … an honest, heart-warmingly genuine story and it left me with a better understanding of autism and a warm glow

Armadillo Magazine

‘illuminating and compelling look at the challenges of adolescence … A heartwarming story about friendships and embracing ourselves as we are

Dublin Book Festival

brilliant … empowering story about friendship and being yourself

Virgin TV’s Weekend AM

a very good insight as to what it is to be an autistic person - review by Líadan, Gaelscoil Eoghain Uí Thuirisc, Ceatharlach 

Seomra Ranga

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Nicola Heaney

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