Title: Let's Talk About Love
Author: Claire Kann
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)
Alice is secretly asexual, and that's the least important thing about her. She's a college student, has a great job, amazing friends, and is fine being single—nope, that's a lie. Alice wants romcom-grade romance: feels, cuddling, kissing, and swoons galore—as long as it doesn't lead to having sex. After her last relationship ends with soul-crushing parting words from her ex, Alice swears off relationships for good. Stick a fork in her, she's done. Everyone Alice tries to date is so sure love and sex have to go together, and there doesn't seem to be any way to convince them otherwise. But when Alice experiences instant attraction for the first time with her coworker Takumi, she doesn't know what to do. If Alice tells him the truth, it can only end in heartache. But there's something about Takumi that makes him worth the risk…
Let's Talk About Love is sweet, open, and honest. This is the story of a young woman wanting her life to work out, and it is, mostly, except for the fact that her romantic partners haven't been open to understanding her sexuality.
Alice is kind, supportive, and creative. She's happy living with her best friends, she's just picked up a great summer job, and things are going great. Apart from the constant pressure from her family to go to law school when she's not so sure about it. Apart from the cold goodbye from her recent ex-girlfriend who didn't understand why Alice was never interested when they had sex. Because Alice is asexual. She's perfectly happy to have that emotional connection with a partner, the support and the cuddling on the couch in the evenings. But not sex, because Alice doesn't feel sexually attracted to anyone. And she'd hoped to find someone who understood that. Now that she's single, Alice has sworn off relationships. If no one will understand what she needs, then she won't bother with dating. Until she meets her new co-worker and Alice actually feels something. Feels attracted to him. And now everything Alice thought she knew is completely out of whack.
There's something so wonderful in this book that needs to happen far more, both in fiction and in real life, and that's a willingness to see things from a perspective that isn't your own. The book starts with Margot dumping Alice because she doesn't understand Alice's asexuality, she doesn't understand that Alice cares so much about her and doesn't feel the need to express that through sex the way that Margot does. And so Margot leaves, taking it personally, not wanting to or not prepared to see their relationship through Alice's eyes and mind. But Takumi does. He takes the time to think about things from Alice's perspective, to try and understand what her asexuality means. Which is what Alice needs in order to be happy.
I can't speak as to the accuracy of Alice's experiences as a young black woman or as someone who identifies as asexual, but I certainly hope they're as honest and as realistic as possible. I certainly felt for Alice, I certainly wanted her to be happy without having to compromise on such an important part of her identity. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for more romance in LGBTQIA YA, to those looking for an asexual main character, and to those looking for a moving story.
(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)