ARC Review : Let’s Talk About Love

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★★★★★

Hello, everyone! My name is Marta and after I review this book, I’ll rant about how some of us perceive diversity and why this should stop. Stay with me while I rant about misconceptions and how we don’t do enough as reviewers. 

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My review

First of all, I want to thank Macmillan US for sending me this copy of Let’s Talk about Love, this hadn’t influenced my rating/review in any way.

Trigger Warnings : aphobia.

  • This book is lots of fluff. I mean it. Think about the fluffiest book you’ve ever read. Okay. Now multiplicate this by 100 and you get this book. So fluffy.
  • Diversity is important in this book. Alice is asexual, biromantic and a black woman, she’s also struggling with coming out (about her asexuality) and speaks out on numerous moments about the fact that people shouldn’t have to come out. People should never assume your sexuality or romantic preferences, never. It’s not okay. Don’t do that.
  • Really so many issues are being discussed in this book – Alice speaks about her asexuality frequently, but also about how it’s harder for her as a black biromantic woman to get opportunities in this world.
  • Alice was highly relatable. I loved how she overthought everything, she was very considerate when making hard decisions. For example, she comes from a very rich family and she’s always questioning whether she takes too much from her parents. She has a job because she wants to be independent and when it comes to choosing her career path, she’s determined not to let her mother dictate her life just because it would be financially easier for her.
  • She’s working in a library. This alone should give this book bonus points because this is my dream job when it comes to summer jobs (but hey, in Romania, there are no chances to work in a library as a youngster, thanks)
  • She’s such a nerdy person. She has a cute color code, which is the best thing I’ve ever heard. I think I should start one too! Also, she writes essays on tv shows, there are the 100 mentions, yaay!!
  • I loved the inclusion of therapy. It’s not a bad representation of therapy – no conversion shit or anything. Alice sees a therapist that is actually understanding and genuinely tries to help her. It was refreshing to see this because usually psychologists are used in a negative way in plotlines. Have you noticed? I’ve only read books with them sleeping with their patients, murdering someone or just being assholes. *whispers* We’re not all that bad. *whispers*
  • I loved how asexuality played a huge part of this and it meant a lot to Alice, but it wasn’t her entire personality. She was compassionate, kind, sometimes selfish, she had hobbies. She wasn’t definied only by her being asexual. She was a whole person.
  • Her love interest, Takumi is absolutely the cutest. Near the end of the book, I was really concerned about what he’s going to do, but I loved how everything turned out. You see, Takumi isn’t asexual, actually he even mentions he didn’t know much about it until Alice told him that she is asexual. I loved how he researched it and the fact that Claire Kann didn’t make him decide instantly that he wants to jump into a relationship. I’m sure that many couples that are formed by asexual and sexual individuals had lots of conversations in the beginning of their relationship and worked out things, compromised and everything else.
  • I love how their relationship was based on friendship. It was the cutest, this one has one of my favourite romantic tropes. Go read the book and then ask me what it is. Muhahaha, I’m so evil!!!
  • The friendships were relatable. Alice is 19 years old and she’s struggling between keeping her friends from ‘before college’ and making new ones at college. I think most of us struggle with this. I know I did. I know I still do. I liked how her friendships were imperfect, but it was clear that they would do anything for each others. It was pretty real.
  • The romance was beautiful. Enough said. 
  • Check out the book on GR here.

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Discussion on how we review diverse books

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m highly interested in this book because of the asexuality representation – I’ve also mentioned that I’m not using a label as I’m still figuring out things for myself, but it’s still very important for me. It’s very important to me that there are books where there’s no romance at all or books where asexual individuals get their happiness in the form of romance if that’s what they want.

Then this review happened and I got even more passionate about this book. This review made me wonder a lot about how we write reviews on diverse books (especially when it comes to diversity that we don’t know much about/aren’t doing a lot to gett educated) :

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In my opinion, this review is at least, insensitive to asexuals individuals : the book turns out to be an asexual romantic fantasy – as if in real world, asexuals never get the cute, sweet, fun love interest. I hate how this review says the book will appeal especially to asexual youth because diverse books aren’t written only for asexual people or for POCs or for mentally ill people or queer people. We have to understand that diverse books are written for the rest of us, too, because there’s this plague called discrimination. Claire Kann had many paragraphs in her book that were obviously written for people who weren’t asexuals, these having the purpose of educating – which is very kind of her since she doesn’t have to educate anyone (there’s internet for that).

The thing is I’m bothered by this review because it’s insensitive on so many fronts, I rarely see books that include heterosexual couples being called books that will appeal especially to heterosexual youth or that the love interest was too perfect to be true. So, why do it when it comes to minorities? NOPE. DON’T DO IT. IT’s not okay. 

Don’t tell asexual people that they aren’t going to get romance and that having a healthy, kind relationship will always be a fantasy for them, what do you say?

I think it’s important to be aware of your prejudices, misinformation or any kind of phobia you might have before reviewing a book that might include that. You’re  hurting real people by offending those fictional characters that represent them.

I’m not saying, by any means, that I’m perfect and always reviewing diverse books as I should. I’m just saying that I try very hard not to offend anybody and come off as insensitive person. I probably offended people in the past by insulting one of their favourite characters or books, but that’s different from insulting a whole minority group. If I did that, I would apologize instantly and try better next time.

I think we all should be aware of the fact that we have biases, we still don’t know a lot about some subjects (for example, homosexuality used to be a crime/a mental illness in the past, but we progressed from that because we kept educating ourselves.). But it’s not okay to make statements without informing yourself first (especially if that information is available and in handy), there are many relationships between asexual and sexual people, they happen, they get married, are they living in a romantic fantasy? I don’t think so.

So, please if you review a book that is diverse and you don’t know a lot about the group they represent or the illness or anything between those lines, please either let other people (people that are from that minority) judge the representation or inform yourself before talking on the issue.

I know this discussion might have came off as harsh, but I think it’s important to consider those things.

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Have you read this book? Did you like it/are you excited about the release?

What are some tips you think everyone should take in consideration before reviewing diverse books?

19 thoughts on “ARC Review : Let’s Talk About Love

  1. ioana @dragonwaffles says:

    ughhhhhHhHhhh people making assumptions about asexuality and perpetuating harmfull stereotypes are so annoying but I sadly got used to it. Aro ace people are sometimes not even accepted as a part of the LGBTQ+ community because they “aren’t as opressed” which…is sad and it breaks my heart. Also “asexual fantasy” sounds SO WRONG OMG. It sounds like the opposite of what an ace person would want. And I don’t know what to say to the rest of that trash since I’m more on aromantic side of stuff sooo I can’t talk about boyfriends or girlfriends but it sounds so disrespectful. I’m sorry this thing has to exist we deserve better.

    AND BIROMANTIC ASEXUAL REPRESANTATION IS SO COOL FOR ME PERSONALLY AS A BEAN WHO’S STILL FIGURING THINGS OUT!! I’m still pretty meh with labels and putting no pressure on myself to define it and I think that creating just an accepting environment where no sexuality or gender are the norms is the best thing to do – just let people be people.

    Also I’m signing high praises to your review but what else is new it’s incredible as per usual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m used to it by now too, I just don’t understand those people who read books about minorities only to give them bad ratings. Why? Just stay away from them if you have nothing good to say. We don’t need your negative, hurtful two cents. Bye. I’ve seen so many people talk about it recently, how the A from LGBTQIA is for ally, omg. I just wanted to slap myself across the face. And I hate whenever people are measuring oppression, this should be about rising people up, not whatever this mess is. I suppose what she meant by ‘asexual fantesy’ is the fact that an asexual’s fantasy is to be in a relationship with someone that could accept the no-sex thing. *rolls my eyes to infinity*
      The representation in this book is absolutely glorious, it’s what we all deserve and the author even educates people, like the book starts with a break up where there are so many misconceptions on asexuality thrown around and Alice discusses them all. And omg, I’m so mad that authors have to educate others and yet they still receive such reviews.
      I support you so much, my little bean! ❤ I'm not labelling myself for the exact reason – I know I'm falling somewhere on the spectrum, not sure where, but I'm not hurrying up to find it because eh. I'm just not interested right now in the whole romance thing and that's okay.
      Thank you very much, I love youuuu! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • ioana @dragonwaffles says:

        Thank you for the support I SUPPORT YOU TOO SEE THIS IS THE LGBTG+ SUPPORT SISTEM ALL QUEER BEANS SHOULD HAVE!! Empower and support each other because we are already being hurt by the outside world we shouldn’t hurt each other too.

        Oh wow I thought my eyes couldn’t roll harder well now they did – HOW IS A PERSON THAT LOVES YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE (and you includes your asexuality duh) A FANTASY AND NOT REALISTIC?? Like I may not understand romantic love but I think that’s what all those heterosexual movies and books preach right? Unconditional love?? Then what’s so unbelievable about it when it happens to a queer character?

        Yesss go live your life and prioritize whatever you want because it’s YOUR life!! I am so frustrated because I’m constantly getting asked about boyfriends or how many babies I want when I grow up and I’m only a teen I can only imagine how bombarded you must be with annoying heteronormative questions 😂

        Like

  2. Ilsen Leon says:

    Great review on the book! Omg that other review is terrible. Saying only asexuals can relate to this book and it’s a romantic fantasy??? Asexual can go with sexual. It’s not impossible. People do it all the time. I definitely agree with you. People should do their research or tread carefully so they don’t insult a whole minority of people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ilsen Leon says:

      That always so terrible. I remember something similar happened but with Inkmistress saying it’s not really bisexual and it’s like what? Those reviews are always so hurtful. I hope she got reprimanded for that.

      Like

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