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Young Adult Fiction Disabilities & Special Needs

Behind the Label

Gloria & Willa

by (author) Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Disabilities & Special Needs, Special Needs
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9


Gloria, an impulsive, naíve and likeable teen with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), tries to keep her family together while their mother's addictions threaten a move to foster care. Willa, an older teen with a learning disability (LD), wants to play in a rock band where her gifts truly shine, but her mother's controlling and perfectionistic personality — and Willa's increasingly abusive boyfriend — cause her unhappiness. When Gloria and Willa are partnered in a school club, they soon come to appreciate and depend on each other in a world that at times seems counter to their dreams.
This is the 5th book in Lorna Shultz Nicholson's One-2-One series about a diverse group of fictional teens connected through a Best Buddies high-school program.

About the author


LORNA SCHULTZ NICHOLSON a grandi à St. Catharines, en Ontario. Enfant, elle aimait lire, écrire et jouer à plusieurs sports. Elle a joué en tant que défenseure dans une équipe de hockey féminine et elle était membre de l'équipe nationale d'aviron. Elle est une auteure reconnue de livres destinés aux pré-ados et ados, de la série d'albums illustrés Puckster et de plusieurs livres documentaires sur le hockey. Lorna habite à Edmonton, en Alberta.


LORNA SCHULTZ NICHOLSON grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, and as a child loved to read, write and compete in all kinds of sports. She is the respected author of many middle-grade and YA novels, the Puckster picture book series, and several non-fiction books about hockey, including the Amazing Hockey Stories series. Lorna lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family. Not surprisingly, she is a HUGE Edmonton Oilers fan. Visit her online at


Lorna Schultz Nicholson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Behind the Label is an intimate story told with the alternating voices of Willa and Gloria. Presenting both teens' perspectives in this way allows the reader to more deeply understand the struggles that each character faces throughout the novel. Presenting the two from very different socio-economic worlds, but pairing them together in their struggles with special needs, offers a fresh perspective into how, although people sometimes see themselves as alone, they may be more similar to others than they first think. The author does a solid job of rounding out the characters and creating believable situations despite the many heavy topics presented in the novel. This novel is filled to the brim with sad reality, joy, and hope. It would be an excellent read for teens looking to see themselves as more than just a label.
Highly Recommended"
CM Magazine

"Behind the Label is written in first-person narratives, giving the reader a glimpse into the mind of each girl, making the text deceptively simple in some cases. The simple text covers heavier themes of addiction, abuse, bullying, and neglect, while also highlighting how someone with FASD or dyslexia may experience them. This makes the book more enticing to the reader, instead of third-person narration, which doesn't give such detailed insight to the characters.
"Behind the Label is a good book to help readers understand how others face different challenges, and how everyone deserves fair treatment and the opportunity to thrive. Both characters are well developed and likeable. While there are darker themes discussed in the book, it is still suitable for younger YA readers, but will hold the interest of older teens."
Canadian Children's Book News

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