(Buy it HERE.)
Ok so first of all, isn’t that a *gorgeous* book cover? Second – good grief. When was the last time I actually read an ink and paper book? The Kindle is getting a workout lately! ⠀
It’s rare that a book completely surprises me, but this one did. After all, who expects an asexual YA romance novel? Yet that’s exactly what this is. The gorgeous girl depicted on the cover above is Alice, a biromantic, asexual college sophomore working hard to figure out how to navigate life. I love when books depict relationships well and diversely and this one definitely does. Alice not only has a love interest but families of blood AND of choice, and Kann does a great job giving all of them adequate page time. The love interest, Takumi, is maybe a little too perfect and communicative but this is a romance novel, after all. Including Alice’s loving relationships of all types does a great job of busting the myth that asexual people are by default lonely and unfulfilled and in general, the subject of asexuality is well handled, with more of a focus on the feelings and thoughts of an asexual person than an “Asexuality 101” course in YA novel form. One quote in particular stood out to me as an example of this…
“…If I tell anyone I’m asexual, they’re going to look at me like there’s something wrong. They’re going to tell me to go to a doctor. They’re going to tell me I’m too young to know what I want or I’m still developing. Or they’ll tell me how important sex is to finding a good man. Or they’ll think they can fix me, that I’m lying because I don’t want to sleep with them. It’s hard enough trying to explain that word, so how in the hell am I going to explain I’m biromantic asexual? They’re really going to think I’m making this shit up.”
If I have one criticism of this novel, it’s that the writing and the dialogue are a little too simple. I know this is YA but there are times when Alice and company seem more like middle schoolers than the college-aged adults that they are. There’s no graphic sex(of course) but there are frank discussions of sexual expression and sexuality and sometimes that doesn’t mesh well with the very simple text. ⠀
One more notable thing about this book–the characters rest in this multicultural sweet spot that current times make it easy to forget can even exist in America. Alice is Black, Takumi is Japanese-American, her best friends are Filipino-American and (presumably) White and all of the characters have families. However, the book is about Alice and how she navigates relationships asexually, so while race, class and gender naturally come up, it’s just that–natural. It’s not diversity-by-numbers or lesson time, they just live in a city in California where diverse social circles are normal. I always appreciate depictions of what I think of as “my America” in books and it works well here. ⠀
4 stars and a solid Orange on the Cutie-Code(read the book to find out what that means) to Let’s Talk About Love.
(Y’all know what time it is! Thanks for reading and if you want to read this book, check your local library or consider purchasing HERE from Bookshop, an indie, community based alternative to Amazon. I am an affiliate of Bookshop and will earn a commission if you click and purchase anything from links on this site.)