Real rating 3 1/2. This is another book that I have had preordered for a few months and seriously built up in my head.
Let's Talk About Love is the story of nineteen-year-old college sophomore Alice trying to figure out exactly which direction she wants her life to go in. She is also black and asexual. Yes. You read that right. I almost sprained a finger I preordered so fast. I can't speak about the representation nor do I know if this book is #ownvoices. I can also say that it felt authentic and respectful. I can't ignore the fact that this book has THE MOST AMAZING COVER EVER. The joy and the freedom on the cover models face, the dress, her hair. It is perfection. The book itself isn't as breezy and light as the cover would suggest.
Alice. Honestly, there are a whole lot of things about her that I related to. She writes academic essays about TV shows for God's sake. She overthinks. She occasionally makes things more than she should about herself. But she took me a long time to warm up to. I think that some of it has to do with the distance that a third person POV causes. Would first have gotten me into her head earlier? I don't know. She does mention that she "isn't much of a reader" and is fairly extroverted so I am not sure that if we met in some alternative universe that we would be more than surface friends. But the more I got into the book, the more I feel like I understood and liked Alice. Eventually, ALL of Alice's foibles and weakness are addressed.
It was a seriously smart move by Clain Kann to have the book take place during Alice's second year of college. High school YA is still very much about figuring out who you are. Alice is passed all that and is now figuring out how who she fits in with the rest of the world. Alice is taking her first baby steps into adulthood. It is sometimes messy, and she isn't always successful but reading about her figuring it out was refreshing.
I thought that the writing and the plotting were quite good and although the characterization wasn't as strong, it also held up. I wish there was more about her family and Feenie and Ryan. I could even have done more with Takumi (the rather dreamy love interest). There are a bunch of genuinely funny lines particularly parts of Alices' inner dialogue. I came feeling that the plot, characterization, and the writing were all a bit separate and didn't enhance one another even though they were strong. Maybe it is me? Or maybe it is the fact that this is Claire Kann's debut novel. I have a feeling that the slight roughness here will be smoothed out in her next book (#fatgirlmagic if you are interested. I am.) If you are looking for a fast-paced, warm-hearted book with a black girl main character (who happens to be asexual), this might just be right up your alley.
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.