Aahana reviews: Let's Talk about Love
I’ve recently been foraying into the LGBTQIA+ YA lit sector and have stumbled upon some gems. Unfortunately this was not one of them :0
Let’s Talk about Love follows Alice, a student in college living with her two best friends Feenie and Ryan (a het couple) and centres around her relationship with her work colleague Takumi to whom she finds herself attracted.
My main gripe with this book was the lack of depth of the characters, they all felt super 2D to me – especially the MC Alice – so I wasn’t really invested in her plight. She was quite whiny, and often acquiesced to the demands of her ‘best friend’ (resident a**hole imo) Feenie. Alice also acted like a literal twelve-year-old at times, not only immature but naive, unable to communicate her needs and desires, and literally crying over an attractive person that she SAW. Like c’mon, really? The perspective that Feenie perpetuated about asexuality, and about Alice’s feelings was honestly quite harmful imo and I felt like this should have been addressed at some point during the novel, rather than just being glossed over. Some of her comments to Alice were problematic as heck, bordering on ignorant and disrespectful. Ryan, on the other hand, seemed nice enough but again just seemed like a passive character who didn’t want to give his opinion on anything – him and Feenie were two sides of a spectrum and neither really helped Alice when she was struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.
All off the issues in this book stemmed from a lack of communication between characters, whether it was demonizing Alice’s ex for wanting more sex in their relationship, to the conflict between Alice and Feenie over the most trivial bs that could have been easily avoided had they just had a simple conversation. The writing felt childish and plain, and was written in third person with weirdly placed parenthesis for the MC’s inner thoughts – why not just write in first person? It was off-putting.
The friendship between Alice and Takumi didn’t evolve at all – it felt boring and like they didn’t connect on a deep level at all. Both Alice and Takumi’s ethnicities just felt like they were shoved in for representation’s sake, because instead of exploring the actual underlying stereotypes or slurs that POC have to deal with, the author seemed to think that one brief conversation sufficed. It’s like she’s acknowledging the issue is there, but instead of trying to further the important conversations, she’s just perpetuating the negative POVs. And the ace rep itself felt problematic; it never really talked about the nuances of asexuality or the ace spectrum, but merely took the label and slapped on the generic traits of what the average person would think asexuality is, onto it. I was looking forward to my views being challenged, and learning a lot more about asexuality through this read, but was honestly left more confused and my thoughts more convoluted than before.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. There is already such little representation out there for minorities, especially minorities within minorities, but I just couldn’t connect with the characters, or get over the problematic ace and race representation. Would love to know what you guys thought of the book/review down below 🙂