Release Date: January 23rd, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads
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.
R E V I E W
Let’s Talk About Love felt like an important book. I’ve never seen asexuality or being aromantic represented in a book until this one, and it definitely deserves all the hype. I also feel it’s important to mention that the main character is also bisexual, I’m just not sure where else to mention it in this review so here is good. Before this book, I was struggling with if I fell under the asexuality umbrella but Alice (the main character) and her story really helped me settle that I wasn’t and I need to keep hunting for a term that better suits me. However, this book is so important. It would be so beneficial to so many teens who are struggling with their own sexuality to show that they’re not ‘freaks’ for not wanting sexual experiences. If I find any reviews that are #ownvoices I will make sure to link them here.
I felt that this book was an incredibly accurate show of life. From the friend dynamic to the thoughts Alice had regarding her friend’s relationship and to the friend’s reactions. It was all so incredibly real and accurate, things I can identify have happened in my own life. Fennie, Alice’s best friend since kindergarten, was an incredibly realistic character that I would love to read a story from. She felt so important and like she had so many layers, which is so wonderful to see in a book.
The main plot of Let’s Talk About Love was Alice’s struggle with being asexual. She was comfortable with it (sometimes unable to say the word though) and had told a few people, but she was unsure how to vocalise it and unwilling to deal with the fact she would have to educate everyone she told. Her two best friends are the only people aware at the beginning of the book, which Alice is comfortable with. The book follows Alice’s journey of trying to understand herself and feel comfortable enough to come out. It’s all a super heart-warming story that makes you want to turn to mush.
This review is getting long with me just explaining plot points, so I’ll start jumping into what I loved.
✗ GOOD AND HELPFUL ADULTS
I loved the counsellor. So often in books, a counsellor (or just adults) are represented as a bad idea, an idiot, someone who makes you worse. That is the case in some instances but not always. It was so amazing to see a counsellor actually help their patient and talk about what was troubling them. Adding on to this, it was actually a health teacher at Alice’s high school that informed her of what asexuality is when she approached them.
✗ A MAIN CHARACTER WHO ISN’T ALL BUTTERFLIES AND RAINBOWS
Alice is unlikeable. Do you ever meet those girls in life who only think for or about them? It’s okay if you’re one of those people as well, just as long as you’re aware and can make sure you at least try to care about others around you. Alice is this character though. Rarely throughout the book does she focus on anyone but her. Even when it comes to her friends, Alice always comes first. She’s an asshole and it is so good to see that in a character. Not everyone is always happy and giving and caring, it’s okay to be selfish and care about yourself. It’s just so good to see it in a book that doesn’t demonise it.
✗ EDUCATION AND REPRESENTATION
Obviously, diverse books aren’t here to educate us. They aren’t here to inform us of everything we need to know. Google is there for the help if you don’t understand something. But, I found Let’s Talk About Love really did aim to educate on what Alice felt. It was really interesting to read, especially hearing her explanations and analogies.
✗ REALISTIC FRIENDSHIPS
A lot of the times in YA friendships are just ignored when the main character finds a boy they like. Suddenly their friends don’t matter and they never get called out on it. Which really frustrates me because the amount of time a friend has decided I’m not worth their time after they find a boy is really frustrating. Let’s Talk About Love does something similar, but it makes sure to call out what is going on which I loved. There is also jealously displayed among friends that I don’t think is shown enough in books and is incredibly normal. It’s also normal to fight with your friends, especially when you live together or a big change is happening so it was really nice to see that in the text as well.
So, I think it’s pretty clear that I loved this book and all of its elements. So, why didn’t it get five stars? Well, my reader of this review, I did have a few itsy bitsy flaws.
✗ LACK OF DEPTH WITH LOVE INTEREST
I did enjoy the romance in Let’s Talk About Love but I felt like Takumi really lacked depth. I feel like there was so much more to his character that wasn’t given to us and it’s really all I wanted. I felt like the biggest insight we got from him was when he told Alice about his ex… while he was drunk, not exactly the most depth creating an experience.
✗ GLOSSING OF DETAIL
This one also connects with the last point, I felt most of the relationship with Takumi was glossed over. Even when it came to Alice and Takumi being just friends I feel that as the reader we were cheated out of many depths creating experiences – like when Takumi made Alice conquer her fear of heights. I just felt like there was so much I missed out on by Alice merely briefly mentioning these events to the people around her.
Overall, Let’s Talk About Love doesn’t have many flaws. It was an incredibly enjoyable book that I managed to read in a day. It was fluffy and smile-provoking. It also spurred tears and made me emotional. Overall, I highly recommend it as a whole.
Happy reading everyone!
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