Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Published: 4th June 2019 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Square Fish
Pages: 281
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★ – 1 Star

Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop 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.

I picked this up after the praise it got for being a good asexual book but it’s not great on a lot of other fronts. I know I am probably disliking a book based on character behaviours which are valid and not every character is perfect or likeable, but there are also structural and plot issues too.

I stopped and started a lot, there was a lot of eye rolling, and general confusion about the story. I don’t know what I thought this was going in, but it’s not what I expected.

In terms of the rest of the writing, it’s jarring – too many side comments in brackets, which obviously I do myself so I’m not faulting them, but there were a lot to the point of disruption. Plus a lot were less for commentary and more for things that either could have been explained better in narrative or were obvious and didn’t need additional clarification. I’ve seen a few comments that it might be the third person writing when it should be first which might have helped it flow a bit better, especially if Kann wants to include so many of Alice’s thoughts and opinions.

The repetition and overuse of “cute” makes Alice appear naïve almost childlike, and her dialogue is annoying in other ways as well. Whether it was because she was questioning her sexuality or lack thereof she couldn’t be mature, she needed to be regressed in some way and naïve I don’t know; even if it was unintentional that is how it came across.

I didn’t really care about any of the characters, except maybe Ryan and Feenie but they are side characters to Alice and the little bits we get are nice but only liking side characters isn’t really a wining feature of a book.

Alice is from a rich family but wants to make it on her own. Her family is overbearing and her mum uses her siblings to manipulate her into doing things she doesn’t want to do which is terrible but brings a nice complexity to the characters when there is little substance elsewhere.

Takumi is super sweet, perfect looking, and health conscious bordering on annoying if Kann hadn’t restrained herself. I took it as a character choice and judged Takumi A LOT but I accepted his unconventional behaviour. But as the story went on there were a few scenes that became so incredulous I felt Kann took Takumi’s philosophies too far in unrealistic and absurd directions.  I am unreasonably including his disrespect of Winnie the Pooh in my otherwise reasonable dislike of this book.

Far from the weird asexual rep, let’s discuss the bad library rep. Alice mentions the library she works at is better than the industrial boring academic library because it has wonderful nooks and colours and feels cosy. And then not long after Head Librarian Essie and her discuss how it’s boring and nothing is happening and she hates having a boring job. Can I say, no matter what level you’re at, there is always something to do in a library. Stop perpetuating these bad myths I beg you. Yay for librarian characters that aren’t old women with glasses and cardigans but stop saying the job is boring.

My second issue is having a head librarian who seems to dismiss any form of communication that is not library related because they’ve “clocked on” (I mean having to remember to clock on and off each day even at lunch sounds nightmarish let alone the ban on normal conversations during worktime). Plus watching a staff member do storytime and be chastised for it seems unfair.

Frustrated librarian opinions aside, it’s possible a lot of this is my early dislike of this book and I kept finding fault everywhere that no one else has even noticed. I struggled to get into this book from the start and essentially skimmed the last 100 pages. It clearly wasn’t meant to be with this story which is a genuine shame. It’s been listed on so many book lists for good Ace representation it must be deemed enjoyable to those who read it and find it good representation.  However, this is the eighth book I’ve read that has asexual characters in it and even those that don’t have their asexuality as a focal point portray a better asexual person than Kann has with this.

You can purchase Let’s Talk About Love via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Book Bingo 2021: Triumph

I will admit triumph may be a big word to use but given the circumstances and the difficulties (can we call them that?) of the previous couple years I think having most of my card filled in is a triumph. Though looking at the last couple years an almost filled card seems to be as far as I go, I haven’t had a filled card since 2018 but whether officially a win is getting a line or a full card who knows what’s right and what isn’t. My card my rules I think at this point; a win is what I decide it is and to be honest I think I change my own rules every year.

I came close with to a few bingos and managed one which is pretty good. I used to think I should try and plan to read books that fit these boxes but that never works out despite that being the entire point of a Book Bingo. I was, however, once again quite delighted to see how many I managed to fill in without any actual trying on my half. I like that I read books with such wide genres and characters that I could easily have many choices for a lot of these boxes. I’ve listed which books fall under which category below and I’m quite keen to start up the 2022 card and see what different categories I can include. Maybe this year I will do it properly and actively read books that fill the categories.

Did you partake in any book bingos last year? Are you doing one this year? Let me know in the comments.

Reread Between The Lives by Jessica Shirvington

2021 Realease The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Debut Author Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Transgender MC Being Emily by Rachel Gold

Anthology All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell

POC Author The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

Own Voices Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

Fairytale Retelling Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Free Choice Loveless by Alice Oseman

Non Fiction You’re Not Broken: Break free from trauma and reclaim your life by Sarah Woodhouse

Gay MC History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Finish A Series Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Lesbian MC The Flywheel by Erin Gough

Classic retelling Sword in the Stars by A. R. Capetta

Movie The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan

Non Human The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

TBR Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Classic The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolken

 

 

AWW 2021 Wrap Up

So my AWW plans for 2021 derailed so far there isn’t even a good analogy or example to describe how badly it failed. NEVERTHELESS! Originally I thought I only had 7 but I went through my reads of last year and found a few more bringing it up to a grand total of 14. Yay… They’re also mostly picture books which is a weird one, wasn’t expecting that. But from my plan of reading 40 and reviewing 35 I am just glad I’ve gotten something. It was a shame too because 2021 was the last year of the challenge (the official challenge, you can still do your own AWW challenge) and it would’ve been nice to go out on a win. I have included some that were read previously but I reviewed in 2021 so blurring some lines there but at this point I need to take what I can get.

Coinciding with, but not as a result of, the AWW ending I’m pulling back my challenges this year. I’ll still have my bingo card, but a less official AWW, plus I’m going to see how long I can go not having a Goodreads challenge and try not to stress myself on my reading habits. Even though having these challenges has helped my reading, I am curious to see how I go without them.

So many unread Aussie women are on my shelves and I have got to find the push to make me pick them up. It frustrates me so much to have the desire but never actually picking them up. I think it’s still the fact reading a physical book seems harder than audios, but even they have fallen by the wayside of late. Who knows! But enough depressive talk, these are my beautiful 14 books I read for AWW 2021.

 

AWW 2021 Books Read and Reviewed

Heart and Soul by Carol Ann Martin

Hello to You, Moon by Sally Morgan

Hello, Honey Bee by Felicity Marshall

The Artist by Alison Binks

Joey and Riley by Mandy Foot

Who Cares? by Krista Bell

Alphabet Dating by Monique McDonell

The Flywheel by Erin Hough

Rusty by Chrissy McYoung – Review

The Fire Wombat by Jackie French

Theodore the Unsure by Pip Smith – Review

Darkest Place by Jaye Ford – Review

Meet Me at the Intersection ed. Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina – Review

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil – Review

 

 

And the Winners Are…

It’s time to announce the winner of my 9th blogiversary giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered, I wasn’t expecting many given my long break but you proved me wrong again so thank you for your ongoing support.

The winners were drawn via Rafflecopter and I’m very pleased to announce that the winners are

Jess

Nancy P

The winners have been notified by email.

Congratulations!

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran

Published: 18th August 2021 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing
Illustrator: Michelle Pereira
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

When Zimdalamishkermishkada starts a new school, he knows he’s got to do something about his long name. ​

When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim—but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamishkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his long name. ​

A warm and uplifting picture book that encourages young readers to celebrate their individuality, and shows how no-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.​

This is a wonderful book. It is sweet and lovely but at the same time has an important story about being your true self.

The story is filled with metaphors but they don’t distract from the story instead it allows you to see similarities, something helpful for younger readers who might understand the reference better. The comparison of practising skateboard and slowly learning the name is beautiful and while it would be easier for people to have a short name (easier for who I would argue), it is unfair to make people change who they are to make things simpler for other people.

The illustrations are a great mixture of muted colours without making it dull and lifeless. Pereira does a wonderful job illustrating each page so we see a visual of what is happening with the story and see the progression of learning Zim’s real name.

The book is told compassionately and with no judgement which is excellent. There is no criticism of not being able to pronounce Zimdalamishkermishkada instead it becomes a place to learn.

You can purchase The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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