this is a love story: poems and essays on friendship, love, and mental health
releasing April 20, 2023.
creative non-fiction/poetry

This is a love story you haven’t read before, a raw and vulnerable story of finding hope, love and friendship through struggles with mental illness.

Alyssa Sherlock was a sensitive, anxious child who grew up into a sensitive, anxious adult. In this collection of poetry and essays, Sherlock lays out the reality of becoming her own person while experiencing anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and the illness of loved ones, before exploring how complex friendships can be the support that is needed for recovery.

This book is for anyone who struggles with their own mental health or the mental illnesses of others, to remind them they are not alone, and that there is love and belonging to be found in the most unexpected places. Written in collaboration with friends Erin Toews and Amelia Warkentin, and including illustrations by Amber Wallin, this honest autobiographical collection is perfect for fans of dodie’s Secrets for the Mad.


“A tender and honest debut that will build bridges, nurture friendships and inspire truth-telling. Alyssa Sherlock bares all and welcomes you in.”

Amber O’Reilly, winner of 2021 Prix littéraire Rue-Deschambault (Manitoba Book Awards) for Boussole franche

“What does it mean to be human, in our late-capitalism, post-pandemic world? How do you make meaning? Alyssa Sherlock has what amounts to a graduate degree in relationships. Loving your friends and family is easy: learning how to love yourself, to take care of your mental health, is much harder. But Sherlock shows her work in poetry and prose. What’s more, she brings her friends and family into the conversation.”

Ariel Gordon, author of Treed: Walking in Canada’s Urban Forests

“Alyssa’s book holds true to who she is—honest, thoughtful, and fun. I feel honoured to be a part of it.”

this is a love story Contributor Amelia Warketin

“Stories are important for fostering empathy, but for a topic like mental health understanding what someone is going through is also crucial for breaking down judgment. When we understand what others are going through, we have the tools to act with grace.”

this is a love story Contributor Erin Toews

“The mix of personal essays and poems works to explore friendship and mental health from many different facets, which adds depth and dimension to the conversation as a whole.”

Kyla Neufeld

“When Alyssa explained her concept for her book to me, I was struck by the depth and simplicity of the idea. I have been thinking through my own idea of love and what it means to me, and I was fully interested in the book from the start. As someone who was just reading the book to give feedback, I had a separate document ready to write down any feedback I had, but I kept finding myself getting so lost in the poems and expressions that I read through the whole book without taking a single note, and had to reread it completely (which was not a hardship). What I found was a full, vibrant, beautiful expression of love and loss and pain and joy, and I am extremely grateful I had a chance to read it early on.”

Jenny Kelson

 “I found reading Alyssa’s book draft to be especially moving because it is personal, vulnerable, and brave. It is hard to read about challenges she’s gone through, but it also feels particularly meaningful to see themes of hope, resilience, and love emerging through her writing. My first response to this is a love story was to say that I’d found it ‘beautiful and poignant, and by poignant I mean that sometimes I teared up and sometimes I laughed and often I felt like, “yes, that’s it, exactly!”’

Tavia Mckinnon