Title: Let’s Talk About Love
Author: Claire Kann
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.
The fact that this is a book about an asexual biromantic black woman finding her happily ever after is so incredibly special and wonderful and I wish there were more books like this.
This book made me so incredibly happy. I loved Alice and Takumi together. Their dynamics are amazing, the way they tease each other, watch movies together and cook food for each other is the cutest thing, and I had a big grin on my face while reading their scenes. They’ve easily become one of my favorite YA couples ever. I know that’s kind of a huge thing, but it’s the truth. They’re just too cute.
Alice is asexual. This is something that’s clear from page one, and the book deals incredibly well with representing this. It discusses some hurtful stereotypes, but instead of focusing mostly on the suffering of queer people, like a lot of queer books do, this one focuses on the good stuff. That Alice is asexual, that she finds her happily ever after, that she has people around her who understand her and love her for who she is, and that she can have a killer romance.
When Alice and Takumi first meet Alice immediately feels attracted to him, which confuses her a lot so she goes to a counselor. This is something I really appreciated reading about. Therapy is so incredibly important, but there’s often such a big stigma surrounding it. Seeing a character going to a therapist, them having very helpful conversations with their therapist and it not being a big deal and them not being ashamed of it is just so incredibly meaningful.
Another thing that I really liked about this book is that the main character is 19, and is really struggling with what she wants to do in terms of her future job and/or study. It’s something that I, and a lot of other people, can relate a lot too, but we don’t often see this portrayed in books because most YA main characters are younger. Also, Alice works at a library and that’s so much fun to read about!
A thing about this book that I really didn’t like was the fact that there’s a scene where Alice is at a party with her friends, who have left her alone for a while, and she’s assaulted. Assault is a thing that should be taken seriously, but after this particular scene it’s never brought up again. The characters never talk about it or say how wrong it is, or even mention it to anyone, and because of that it feels like it’s brushed off and almost normalized (not that it’s an okay thing to do, just that it happens so often that it’s normal and it’s not worth discussing), which is just not okay at all.
I also didn’t always like the writing. The writing was fun, easy to get into and upbeat, but the dialogue felt a little messy and random sometimes. Like I accidentally skipped over a few words or sentences. This was a bit annoying, but didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
So, even though there were a few things I didn’t love about the book, I overall really enjoyed it. This is that kind of book that you want to pick up when you’re feeling a bit down, because this book is guaranteed to make you very happy. I really hope there’ll be more books like this in the future.