Are There Lesbians? Yes
What Happens? After a nasty breakup, Alice swears off dating for good. Then the super cute Takumi walks into her life and Alice is finally faced with having to deal with her whole “being asexual” thing.
First of all – can we talk about this cover?! It’s so gorgeous! I love how the colour scheme uses the colours of the ace flag but also really emphasises Alice’s blackness? And then there’s the tiny ace of hearts card on the spine?! Gah, it’s just so good and I can’t help but think that Alice herself would really love it. It’s so beautiful and ties so many themes of the novel together. Alice’s strong sense of aesthetics really speaks to my own. I love her “Cutie Scale” so much. Funnily enough, it makes sense something that I’ve long had trouble putting into words – that disconnect of feeling when you see someone cute about whom other people would say “I want to jump their bones” but you don’t exactly feel that but you guess that’s what sexual desire must feel like even though that’s not quite right? Especially once you actually do feel sexual desire and then you spend ages trying to work out what that feeling must have been. I also loved the part that talked about Alice’s experiences in high school – where people would tell her she must have a crush on someone so when she’s forced to breaking point she just admits to liking the most popular guy who everyone else also likes?
I love the focus on friendship in Let’s Talk About Love – not only the large role Alice’s two friends play in her life, but also how she forms such a great friendship with Takumi, separate to the romantic feelings she has for him. I love the complexity of Alice’s friendship with Feenie and how the book emphasises that friendships take work, and also how you can make them work when you’re in a relationship. So often I feel like both characters have to be in existing relationships or just forming them for said friends to be able to get along but Alice and Feenie’s friendship exists both within and separate to that, hell, Alice is good friends with Feenie’s boyfriend too, rather than treating them as separate entities. I would have liked to see the two girls hanging out by themselves a bit more – we mostly know of their one on one friendship from Alice’s memories of the past. I love the idea of “family night” but it would have been great to have “girls night” too, where they can spend time together away from the strains of their romantic relationships.
It is so wonderful and important to have books with characters on the asexual spectrum. I love that it is treated like a spectrum too – a sliding scale that is liable to change but doesn’t deny Alice her feelings in the present. I found that asexuality in Let’s Talk About Love is discussed in a way that you can easily identify with whether you are sex-avoidant or repulsed, demi, or gray. I’m all for sex positivity but it’s just so nice to have a book that doesn’t treat sex like it’s the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship, because let’s be honest, there’s so much more than that involved in a successful relationship! I think that’s what this novel does best too – highlighting the genuine difference between being “just” friends and having romantic attraction for someone. They’re totally not the same thing!
If you’ve gotten this far you’ve probably noticed that I love so much about Let’s Talk About Love. It’s a super cute romance that just genuinely makes me feel happy. This book has been able to put into words feelings and experiences that I’ve never properly been able to articulate and it’s such a good feeling. Congrats Claire Kann, your first book is a killer.