Hello friends! I hope all of you are well. ❤
Originally, I was going to do a whole book recommendation post on amazing and well-developed romances. But then, while creating the post, I realized that I don’t actually like that many romance books. As someone who falls under the ace (asexual)-spectrum, it was like the stars aligned in my mind: I only like romances that have a close friendship or strong emotional connection preceding the romance – it had never occurred to me before that.
So rather than recommending only romances (which, by the way, the ones I’ve recommended have that emotional connection that I love and I can identify with), I also want to recommend books that have ace protagonists. This is for my fellow ace friends whose identities have been erased by Jughead’s representation in Riverdale. I’m sorry that our identities have been erased. I haven’t forgotten about us; our identities matter.
SEVEN TEARS AT HIGH TIDE BY C.B. LEE
My first recommendation for books with a well-developed romance. This book melted my heart and turned it into rainbow, sweet goo. Seven Tears at High Tide is just so wonderful and lovely.
- An adorable love story about a heartbroken boy and his unexpected visit from a Selkie; tropes are subverted and the light touch of fantasy was just right.
- One of the most heartwarming and heartmelting romances I have ever read – the romance is so pure and beautiful. I felt the emotional connection between the two boys shine through the narrative. I may have squealed.
- The protagonist is a bi Chinese human boy and the love interest is a human and Selkie. Also features many other characters with a diversity of identities!
- Explores safe sex in a very safe and positive way, and ultimately asks what it means to love.
Find Seven Tears at High Tide in Goodread
BLOODLINES SERIES BY RICHELLE MEAD
My second recommendation for books with a well-developed romance. The spin-off series of Vampire Academy! I don’t talk about this series often, but it’s one of my favourite YA book series of all time. I haven’t read the series for years now, but I may do a re-read it sometime this year!
- Has the ‘star-crossed lovers trope – the protagonist is an Alchemist, humans who are religious and taught to hate all Moroi (vampires), and the love interest is – surprise surprise! – a Moroi.
- The romance that builds between the two characters is one that builds and develops over three books. I loved that. I loved how Mead took time to explore the conflict that comes with ‘forbidden love’, the friendship they had despite, the chemistry between them, and immense love the two have for each other. This was one of the first romances I genuinely understood and had feelings for.
- The plots of each installment may feel a little repetitive, but if you ship the two characters, then the rest will be history. (On that note, I never ever ship but these characters are my #1 OTP.)
Find the Bloodlines series in Goodreads
WE AWAKEN BY CALISTA LYNNE
My first recommendation for books with asexual representation. This was recommended to me because it had asexual representation, and this book represents asexuality wonderfully.
- Perfect for people who are not familiar with or want to learn more about asexuality. It has great asexual representation and explicitly explains what asexuality is through the lens of the protagonist (who is asexual).
- Gorgeous and dreamy writing which is befitting of the story’s themes and tones.
- However, the story is lacking and under-developed. But, I absolutely recommend this book nonetheless. Read this story for the representation and to learn more about asexuality.
Find We Awaken in Goodreads
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY BY SEANAN MCGUIRE
My second recommendation for books with asexual representation. I heard all the high praises for this book – and it is absolutely justified. This book is incredible.
- Not only does it have an asexual character (who explicitly states that she is asexual too!), there is a diversity of characters in this lovely book.
- Takes a trope we are all familiar with (children who discover magical worlds), and gives it a somber and melancholic tone.
- Incorporates elements of mystery, fantasy, and paranormal, and explores friendship, belonging, and ‘home’.
- The writing is fantastic; sometimes creepy, sometimes beautiful, always magical.
Find Every Heart A Doorway in Goodreads
I was originally going to do two separate posts: four book recs for romance and four book recs for books with ace representation. However, I had this terribly unreasonable expectation of myself that I could read four books with aro and ace representation in under two weeks and — that never worked out (because I forgot that I read slow)!
But, I do need to read more books with ace and aro and agender characters. Because ace, aro, and agender representation matters and we need more.
- Do you have any recommendations for books with good asexual, aromantic, and/or agender representation?
- And while I want the discussion to focus on LGBTQIA+ representation, if you don’t know any, what are some of your favourite romances – and why?
- Or! Do you know any books with asexual/aromantic/agender representation that is also a good romance?