There needs to be more YA stories that take place during college. Plain and simple. It’s as if when you graduate high school you go straight into the smutty/romance novels of New Adult. Your journey in finding yourself doesn’t stop when you leave those high school halls.
One of the reasons why I connected with Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is because at the time when I first read the book, I was a young college student, feeling all the feels. I really came of age more so in college than in high school. I learned about the kind of person I wanted to become, about the people I wanted surround myself with through life. But where are the books that represent that time in life?
I just finished reading Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann and I was completely blown away. I obviously can’t comment on the representation of asexuality because I don’t identify that way, but the story as a whole felt very real and authentic. We follow the main character Alice through the summer after her freshman year at college. She has just moved in with her two best friends who also happened to be engaged. A new boy, Takumi, starts working with her at the library and she’s experiencing some very different kind of feelings—especially because she is asexual. She begins to question everything about her sexuality, something that she thought she had pretty narrowed down. Is it adoration? Is it sexual attraction?
What I really loved about this book is that it didn’t play into the trope of “the boy can change you (sexuality)”. As the reader you never get the sense of Takumi trying to change Alice in any way. I actually think Alice took quite a long time to examine her feelings by spending time with Takumi in a friendship kind of way and also going to see a therapist to help make sense of those feelings.
I really appreciated this story and I hope this is a step in the right direction for more college aged stories that don’t skip substance and go straight to the smut. And can you just take a look at that cover? Gorgeous!