Synopsis: 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.
Content Warnings: Amisic comments, alcohol consumption, racial microaggressions against black and Japanese identities (addressed), sexual harassment, helicopter family dynamic.
The opener I want to write for this is me saying that I loved this book and the biro ace representation is just icing on the cake. However, the honest opener for this review is me admitting that I simply picked up this book at the wrong time.
Don’t get me wrong! It’s a cute love story with such well-written and honest characters whom I adored. This book is highly character-driven, and Alice is honestly the best one to be behind the wheel. Alice is such a typical nineteen-year-old that many readers can definitely relate to. She is obsessed with Netflix, loves social media (especially Tumblr), boasts an amazing sense of humor with the best puns, and has gone through her first year of college not sure of what she wants to do. All she knows is that she doesn’t want to be the lawyer her parents expect of her.
A lot of the story revolves around Alice’s academic exploration, her wavering relationship with her two engaged best friends Feenie and Ryan whom she loves but sometimes make her feel like the third wheel, and the introduction of Takumi, the new coworker who makes her question what she wants in her romantic relationships.
I think Kann made the right choice by setting this story in the summer between Alice’s freshman and sophomore years of college. That’s the time in our lives where those of us who pursue higher education start to freak out about literally everything. Is this the right path for me? Do my friends still like me? Will my studies actually get me a job? What even is love? Who am I? Who do I want to become?
My favorite plotline was the one in which Alice starts to question her biromantic asexual identity. She does settle into the label as time goes on, but I feel like it’s something that both aspec and bi people experience so often. When we become interested in someone new, all too often we have trouble defining what this attraction is because we don’t know how to interpret it. Is it sexual or just romantic? Am I asexual/aromantic or am I just picky? And on the bi side of things, having an attraction that manifests in different ways between different genders is such a frustrating internal dilemma at first. Because we’re not always attracted to the same things in each gender and it leaves us wondering what that means for our identity. Hopefully, with more wonderful representation like this, we’ll experience these conflicts less and less.
To elaborate more on the point I made in the opening paragraph, I picked this book up to get me out of a reading slump. This was a bad idea. It’s slow-moving for much of the book, which made it a struggle to pick it up an continue reading every night. As much as I loved every bit of this story at the end, I must say it was hard to get through. This obviously doesn’t mean it was a bad book or even a bad aspect that should be changed! It’s just not what I needed at the time I read it, which is why I rated it four stars.
Final thought: If you’re looking for amazing representation of biromantic and asexual identities (plus black and Japanese identities which I’ve heard is also great rep but can’t speak to as a white person) and an adorable, uber relatable story, then pick up Let’s Talk About Love from your local bookstore or order it on Amazon or check it out from your public library right now!