Let’s Talk About Love
by Claire Kann
There’s a lot of growth, discussion of timely issues, cuteness, and fun packed into this story of Alice Johnson’s move from immature college student and partner to a more self-aware and accepting community college student. She spends the whole time as a library assistant, and the third member of a “found” family of three who live together, but other than that pretty much everything changes.
Okay, if you’re not up to date on the sexual identity lingo, be prepared for some explicit naming of here-to-fore unnamed (at least for Gen Xers like myself) orientations. Alice is a biromantic, black, queer Ace. That means she is romantically interested in folks identifying as both male and female (indeed the book starts as she is ditched by girlfriend Margot and continues with the meet-cute of fellow Librarian assistant Takumi) but is asexual. (to sum up: she’s not interested in sex).
As you might imagine, her sexual identity and orientation ain’t easy. Her whole life she’s tried to keep quiet about her lack of physical desire because for many folks, that’s a deal breaker. Luckily she has her found family– Feenie, a tough, fighting, emotionally aggressive but sensitive girl and Ryan, Feenie’s fiancee and laid back nerd.
And now there’s also Takumi, who makes her heart race, and causes her to fumble words, and who Alice can’t stop staring at…but there’s no magical “cure” for who Alice is, and thus complications ensue.
Alice is a big-time conflict avoider, but she does do healthy things like try not to get too drunk, talk to a counselor, really look at the feelings she has in Takumi contexts and try to figure out what they mean to her.
This is a great primer in not only the breadth of sexual orientations, but also issues like folks who want to date black girls and Asian guys because of fetishes, fending off unwanted sexual advances, how not to treat your best friends just because you have a new romantic partner, the bravery it takes to go against your parents’ educational expectations. This is a terrific book, not only do you get schooled, but you have a wonderful, cute, sappy, heart-fluttery time doing it because when it comes down to it, Alice and her friends and Alice and Takumi are FUN to be around. Love, love, love this book. Will definitely read other things by this author.