Black girl with natural hair, smiling with eyes closed as if she's dancing. Tagline:

About the Book

Title: Let’s Talk About Love
Published: 2018
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Happy Dance
BFF Charm: Platinum Edition
Talky Talk: Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About
Bonus Factors: Diversity, New Adult, Best Friends, Pop Culture References
Relationship Status: Head Over Heels

Cover Story: Happy Dance

A joyful and radiant Black girl on the cover of a book? HELL. YES. And that tagline! I could nitpick about the dress (top?), but you know what? She’s rocking it anyway. 

The Deal:

After getting burned too many times in relationships — most recently when she (sort of) confessed her asexuality to her now ex-girlfriend — Alice is done with dating. She’s just going to live with her best friends and work at the library over the summer after her freshman year of college. But then she meets Takumi and develops full-blown, all-consuming feels for him. As the two of them grow closer, will Alice risk her heart again for the possibility of finally being in a relationship on her terms? 

BFF Charm: Platinum Edition

BFF platinum charm

Sometimes you find a kindred spirit in the literary world, and it’s like OMG YOU ARE SEEN. Alice and I have so many common interests (read: fave TV shows), as well as common bad habits like hiding from problems. She had me saying “It me” so much that I wondered if I should be worried that I find a fictional character ten years my junior to be so relatable. (The answer, of course, is NAH.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

It’s rare for a love interest to reveal themselves as off-putting as Alice’s ex-girlfriend, Margot, does in a scant five pages, but she pulled off the feat anyway. 

Luckily, Takumi fares phenomenally better; he’s cut, he cooks, and he even shatters Alice’s patented “Cutie Code™” for assessing, well, cuties. And they meet through working together at a library, SWOON. Although I do have a little side-eye for the four-year age difference when one person is a still teenager and the other is not (19 and 23). However, a reference to Black women and Asian men being ranked lowest in online dating made me realize that the central pairing of the book—the potential couple that’s serving up the butterflies—is defiantly refusing its status as the most ‘undesirable’ combination, which is pretty freaking rad. And if anyone thinks that having a protagonist who’s uninterested in sex precludes the story from being swoonworthy: Well, you’d be very, very mistaken.

Talky Talk: Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About

Dreamy and romantic, Kann’s prose deftly balances lightness and substance. When I wasn’t swooning or fist-pumping in agreement, I was probably snorting with laughter ’cause this book has plenty of LOLZ, too. (Parenthetical statements are also liberally deployed, of which I obviously approve.)

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Faces of all different races, ethnicities and genders.

Alice’s personal experience shows how both asexuality and bisexuality coexists for her, as well as demonstrate the unfortunate lack of understanding that can happen when people don’t know what it means to be with somebody who’s ace. Plus, the cast of characters is racially diverse, with white characters actually being the minority. In fact, I can’t even recall any significant white dudes in the book. 

Bonus Factor: New Adult

Jenna Rink dancing to Thriller from movie 13 Going on 30

No, not the subsection of grownup romance novels starring early 20s-ish characters. That has its own appeal and audience, but I’m talking about a slightly more mature version of Young Adult that deals with navigating roommates, frat parties, and scary career choices that’ll dictate the rest of your life, as Alice is doing so in college. 

Bonus Factor: Best Friends

Group of friends having drinks at the night club party

Alice has always third wheeled harmoniously for her lifelong best friend, Feenie, and Feenie’s boyfriend, Ryan. But that dynamic is shifting, between Takumi entering the picture and Feenie and Ryan planning for their future together as a couple. 

Bonus Factor: Pop Culture References

A certified TV aficionado, Alice writes lengthy essays about her favorite fandoms and ships for fun. Her tastes also skew a little further back in time aka perfect for those of us a little less Y and a little more A (which I’m choosing to attribute to the influence of her much older siblings). Alice, can we hire you at FYA?!?!

Relationship Status: Head Over Heels

Sigh, THIS BOOK. Try as I might to keep a level head, it didn’t take long for me to be a goner. And now I want to tell it to everyone that I know: HEY, FRIENDS—let’s talk about how much I love Let’s Talk About Love

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Swoon Reads. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Let’s Talk About Love is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.