Here at Bookstr, we’ve spent this Pride Month highlighting diversity in stories within the LGBTQIA+ community. Asexuality, however, is continually subjected to erasure and stigmatization in literature. Asexuality is placed on a wide spectrum and deserves as much nuance and compassion as every other sexual identity. Contrary to preconceived notions, it’s much more complex than a preconceived lack of sexual attraction, although the media we consume has continually failed to reflect that. Whether you’re looking for fleshed-out asexual characters, or just generally interested in a good read, we’re confident that these books will scratch that itch.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Originally published online, Let’s Talk About Love is the fun and lighthearted journey of Alice, an asexual, biromantic college freshman. When her girlfriend Margot dumps her after coming out as asexual, Alice becomes self-conscious that no one will want to be with her once they discover her asexuality. Fearful of being hurt again, she closes herself off to love. This decision is challenged when she meets Takumi, her kind and unassuming coworker. As their friendship develops and her feelings for him grow, Alice has to face her own self-doubts regarding her identity and the boundaries of her attraction. Full of sweet rom com moments and a diverse supporting cast of characters, it’s a refreshing take on different types of romantic love.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Tash Hearts Tolstoy is the modern tale of Tash, a teenage filmmaker with a unique love for Leo Tolstoy. When her web series adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina goes viral, Tash is thrust into online fame. Her newfound success disrupts her relationships as she becomes caught up excitement of it all. In the midst of juggling her friendships with social media fame, she develops feelings for Thom, an online vlogger who’s nominated for the same web award as her. Throughout all this, Tash slowly starts to explore and come to terms with her own asexuality. It’s a funny and entertaining coming-of-age tale with an online twist.
Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland
Beyond the Black Door is a fantasy novel about asexuality that defies expectations of a typical asexual narrative. Our protagonist, Kamai, is an asexual soulglider, meaning she has the ability to enter people’s souls and see their deepest thoughts and desires. The souls Kamai enters throughout the world are diverse within the gender and sexual identity spectrum. Strickland has received critical praise and attention for her novel’s nuanced approach to sexuality. The writing has a dreamlike quality and, more notably, Kamai’s asexuality is still treated with the same romantic voracity as any other character’s sexuality would. It’s a dark and romantic story tailor-made for fantasy-lovers. For more of Bookstr’s thoughts on Beyond the Black Door, check them out here.
Sea Foam and Silence by Dove Cooper
Sea Foam and Silence is a romantic retelling of The Little Mermaid that expands on the famous fairytale, with the minor caveat of an asexual mermaid seeking her asexual prince. This verse novel takes after the original (and much darker) Hans Christian Andersen fairytale rather than the popularized Disney version. Like in the original, Maris (our protagonist mermaid) only has a year to find love before she’s doomed to live the rest of her life as sea foam. This adaptation features an array of main characters all across the asexual and aromantic spectrum. It’s a welcome twist on the fairytale genre, which is historically rife with conventional and outdated heteronormative tropes.
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Before I Let Go is a contemplative look at grief, depression, and young sexuality within the backdrop of a haunting thriller. Set in wintery Alaska, this uniquely structured novel tells the story of Corey and Kyra, two best friends going through teenage angst together. When Kyra abruptly passes away, Corey is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious circumstances behind her death. The story’s perspective intertwines the past and the present, and the writing format switches between the narrative story, phone conversations, and letters—all of which help piece together clues in Kyra’s disappearance. Throughout Corey’s journey to bring Kyra restorative justice, she starts to learn more about herself, her past friendship, and her own asexuality.
If you’re interested in more diverse LGBTQIA+ recommendations this Pride Month, check out another list here!