Title: Let’s talk about love
Author: Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆
Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop 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.
Claire Kann’s debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.
I loved this book SO MUCH. It almost made me cry a few times but it also made me laugh.
The ace rep is spot on. At the beginning we see Alice dealing with a bad break up (because her ex was a piece of sh*t) and all the things the ex said to her were things that ace people have to deal with all the time.
The story was cute and talked about love (see what I did there?) and the thing is that it didn’t focus solely on romantic love but we also see friends and family and found families. I feel like that’s important to point out. It is a love story but Alice loves with her whole heart and she loves many people.
This has so much mutual pinning that I was scared I would spontaneously combust but it was delightful.
She is absolutely adorable and deserves all the love in the world. And the best thing? She isn’t perfect, she has her own issues she’s going through but she also recognizes, after people call her out, that she can be wrong and isn’t painted as a flawless, two-dimensional, character.
I love him?? He is my son now. He is our love interest and he is so loving towards Alice, like, he doesn’t ask for more than she is willing to give and he is there for her. He is the perfect friend when he thinks that’s all she want and tries so hard to understand her when she wants to change their relationship. Sure, he makes mistakes and he doesn’t always say o do the right thing but that only makes him more precious.
Kill it with fire. She is the kind of person that makes asexual people be afraid of coming out, also, she was racist. I don’t by all that It was a joke stuff. She said hurtful things and then defended herself by claiming it was a joke, so if Alice reacted she’d be painted as overreacting and making it a bigger deal than it is. Gosh, she does everything wrong and the worst thing is that she feels like an actual person. Sadly, we all know a Margot.
She is a fantastic friend most of the time and I would love to have someone like her by my side, but… Ugh, sometimes I wanted to strangle her but I get why she did SOME things. I can’t excuse how manipulative she was with Alice, I understand that she was scared of losing her best friend and all but that doesn’t mean it was okay. The thing is that she can be SUCH a good friend, we see that along the novel. She knows what she wants and loves and will fight for them. I really respect her, it’s just that sometimes she gets carried away by her feelings and reacts in a not so positive way. I also feel like she needs to be more aware of other people’s feelings. At times it felt like she was freezing both Alice and Ryan out because she was mad.
He needs a bit more of backbone. He is sweet but I wanted to slap him a few times. His refusal to stand up to her girlfriend made it feel like he didn’t care all that much about the relationship, I know he did but he was also limiting the communication between the two of them. Don’t get me started on his reaction to Feenie’s dream of being a professional fighter, I know you don’t want her to be hurt, but to be so horrified she is afraid to ever bring it up again? That’s not cool. Still, he has a big heart and tries his best to be what his little family needs
Yes, this is what a good therapist sounds like. I adored this character, he was kind and professional and non-judgemental and helpful. It’s so refreshing to see a positive adult figure, outside of family, that isn’t creepy or morally ambiguous.
Mom and Dad
I don’t like them. At all. They are shitty parents and don’t deserve such a good child. I’ll get more in-depth later but, they are bad parents and they should be happy that their daughter found her path in life. They aren’t so they act awful towards Alice. That last thing that is supposed to make you think the dad isn’t so bad made me mad too. You are supposed to pay for your kid’s food, it’s not a kindness.
Hypocrite, she doesn’t want her sister to re-make her mistakes maybe but the fact that she needed to drop out a couple of times before finishing her degree should have made her more understanding of Alice’s situation. It didn’t and instead she was pushy and overbearing
He didn’t really have much impact, he was supposed to be the buffer between Alice and her parents but he didn’t care enough to help out when she wanted to change degrees and pursue her dream
Ace rep. It was heaven. This is the first book with an asexual main character that I’ve ever read. Being ace myself you may know how I felt. The feelings that she described were so f*cking real that I couldn’t stop crying. I know I sound like a wimp but it was just that perfect. Her trouble trying to explain her sexuality to others and her desire to keep it to herself. EVERYTHING. It made me so happy that she got her happy ending, for a while I thought the author was going for an open ending leaving her happy but on her own.
Depth of the characters. They were all so well fleshed out, you can probably notice from the previous section but I wanted to point it out here as well. They all felt like real people and had their own motives and issues.
Alice learning to stand up for herself, and accepting when she needed help
Positive view on therapy. Sadly, going to therapy is seen as a negative (??) thing by most people. I have no idea why. But you usually see some pretty ableist comments about it and it’s just so damaging, luckily there’s none of that here. All characters respond really well to Alice seeing a therapist and we get to see how much it helps her in every aspect of her life.
Was annoyed with the MC at times, she was kind of dense for some things. I don’t blame her, it took me a while to pick up some of the most weird allo behaviour but still, if you are into romance then you pick up on certain clues. At some points it felt like she was unmaking some of the progress she made and now that I think about it it’s a good example of how growth isn’t linear. Still, I wanted to shake her.
How her family treated Alice, especially her parents. I understand she was the baby(TM) but some of their actions seemed borderline abusive to me. Let me start with this quote:
She wasn’t rich—her parents were. They made that distinction quite clear to her anytime she stepped out of line.
Like, how can you be this shitty? And sure at the end her dad agrees to f*cking feed and shelter Alice, but that’s the bare minimum. A parent should never make their child feel like this. Like they should be thankful because you did what you are supposed to. If you don’t want to take care of a kid it’s soo simple: don’t have them. If your love and readiness to help your child depends on what they decide to do when they are adults they you don’t deserve to have one.
when Alice graduated with the degree that would bring shame upon her family, when she got the job that was a perfect fit for her,
How they acted like they were already going out (minus the sex obvs) and then Takumi had the audacity of being spooked when Alice asked him out. Like, come on, if you are romantically attracted to someone you notice when you start doing things just the two of you, she takes care of you and you of her. Like, why was he so surprised??
This last thing isn’t specifically about the book but I’m confused, is sex really that important? I don’t think I’ll ever get it but, Takumi was head-over-heels for Alice and still when she asks him out (keep in mind that he has known she was asexual for a while so he had time to come to terms with it) he says he needs time?? I just…
Love was intangible. Universal. It was whatever someone wanted it to be and should be respected as such.
This moment, this unexpected ripple in her timeline, wouldn’t kill her. But, universe help her, did she want to press that Fast-Forward button anyway.
Intentions don’t change impact.
Growing up sucks balls.
It was not her job to be prepared to elucidate or enlighten—it was a kindness.
She didn’t want to be rescued from her sorrow. This pain meant it had been genuine.