Book Recs: Amazing Romances & Books with Ace Representation

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.

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7taht

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

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bloodlines

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

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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

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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

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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.

So friends:

  • 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?
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40 thoughts on “Book Recs: Amazing Romances & Books with Ace Representation

  1. I’m so excited for Tash Hearts Tolstoy coming out in a few months with an ace protagonist! And I LOVED Every Heart a Doorway. For NaNoWriMo I have an idea brewing about a cute NA book where some high school friends move out together for uni, and my MC is going to be ace and I can’t wait to write it omg. But yes, we definitely need more ace/aro/agender/non-binary representation!

    • Hi Emily!
      Oooh I’ve never heard of this book, but thank you so much for telling me about it!!

      OOOH that’s amazing!! I know I may not be able to offer TOO much insight because I’m demisexual!! so!! If I can help with anything, please let me know! <3

  2. I really want to read more stories with ace rep. I’m disappointed about the whole Jughead thing, I don’t understand why writers/producers feel that erasure is better than representation.

    On another note, I love Sydney and Adrian, their relationship was swoon worthy because it was such a slow burn and not just sex which is never the part that interests me.

    Awesome post! I’ll be adding some of these to my TBR 😊

    • Hi Steff!
      I am too. And seeing the amount of hurt it’s causing… yeah, the writers/producers need to do better.

      AHHH yes yes yes! I loved the slow-burn and it’s probably one of the best developed romances I’ve had the pleasure of reading! It was just sooo ahhhhh. <3 <3 I remember reading the books on release day and then suffered knowing I'd have to wait for another nine months!

  3. Thank you so much for these lovely recs! I’m really, really interested in the first books, Seven Tears at High Tide, will add it to my TBR right away! Thank you so much! <3

    • Hi Amylee!
      You’re very welcome!! Every Heart a Doorway is fantastic – so different to what I expected, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I hope you enjoy it if you get around to picking it up!

  4. These ace recommendations were greatly needed. I think I’ve only ever come across one ace character and that’s Raphael in the Mortal Instruments. I loved his character but it’s disappointing that he’s the only ace character I’ve ever read about. Hopefully we’ll get more representation soon, in both books and on screen.

  5. Awesome rec post :D I’ve heard about Every Heart a Doorway so many times, definitely need to get to it, and Seven Tears at High Tide sounds so interesting; I’m still in the very early parts of reading Not Your Sidekick but it does make me want to pick up more of CB Lee’s books ^_^

    • Thank you Wendy!!
      Hehe, me too! It was different to what I expected, but such a great read. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic!!

      Seven Tears of High Tide is sooooo wonderful. I hope you pick it up. It has the charm and sweetness that Not Your Sidekick has too! <3

  6. I’ve still not read any books with ace characters – really got to work on that. I recently read A Boy Named Cin which was a romance between a trans man and a genderqueer person, and that was lovely. It had all the classic tropes of romance whilst staying (to me, a cis female) true to trans and genderqueer experiences. It’s an own voices, too! I’m also about to start The Melody of You and Me which is a F/F romance with a pansexual MC, I believe. Very excited about that! :-D

    I always thought that I didn’t like romance, but I’ve realised now that I just don’t like mainstream white heteronormative romance. I’m really looking forward to finding all sorts of diverse romance – I do love a good happily ever after :-)

  7. I’m going to have a look at that C.B. Lee book. It sounds very interesting. Thanks for the rec.

    I’m just thinking of which books I’ve read that have ace and_or aro rep. All of the ones below are #ownvoices:

    City of Strife – Claudie Arseneault Which is my most fave book of the moment, and I CANNOT WAIT for book 2. It’s a fantasy novel with the main theme of political intrigues. There are some aroace characters, and some ace characters. Not all of the characters’ orientations are explicitly stated on page but confirmed by the author. There’s also a lot of rep for other marginalisations: POC, non-binary, homosexual, come to mind. The marginalisations are not the focus of the story. Sorry for this huge description but I love the book! My review is scheduled for next week.

    Chameleon Moon – RoAnna Sylver This felt more like a sci-fi and superhero novel and again has rep for several marginalisations. It’s a lovely story and really fun to read. I’ve got a review if you’re interested.

    Sea Foam and Silence – Lynn E. O’Connacht This was an amazing novel and my introduction to verse novels. Come for The Little Mermaid retelling, stay for the awesome descriptions about dance (at least that was my case). It’s beautifully written and an interesting analysis of love. Got a review for this as well.

    Hello World – Tiffany Rose and Alexandra Tauber A hacktavism novel. I am liking it so far. It’s one of my current reads, thus I can’t say anymore.

    Claudie Arseneault also started a database for people to find books with aro and_or ace rep: Aro and Ace Speculative Fiction Database.

    Sorry for this absolutely long argument. I got rather excited…

    • Hi Sinead!

      Oh goodness, thank you so much for the comment – it’s such a gold mine of information.
      I’ve never heard of the books you’ve recommended but thank you SO SO much for recommending them! (Expect some notifications on Goodreads!!)

      City of Strife sounds particularly interesting – I love fantasy with political intrigue, so sign me up!!

      And ohh thank you so much for sharing the database! I’ll have a look and make sure I read more books with Aro and Ace rep! <3

  8. I really like what you said in the beginning of this post, about how the romances you enjoyed were ones with a strong emotional connection between the characters. You basically summed up how I have felt for years: I can’t stand InstaLove because it doesn’t compute to me; it doesn’t match up with the way I am in relationships. I don’t always read romance, but when I do, I read the ones with super strong friendship – because I hate how friendship gets totally downplayed in romantic plots.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I look forward to discovering more books with ace characters!

    • Hi Christine!
      Oh, I’m so glad that I mentioned that then! I didn’t know why I couldn’t relate to my friends for years, but later discovered that I was demisexual, which really really helped me understand why I feel that way about romantic relationships!

      I wish there were more books that showed how strong friendships can become romantic ones, or more explicit demisexual representation!

      Thank you! I look forward to it too – I definitely need to read more; two recommendations isn’t enough!

      • I agree! I didn’t really date in high school so I felt very left out of those books. When I was a teenager, friendship was hands down the most important thing in my life, but it was also dramatic and complicated and messy. I wish there were more books that talked about that. And we 100% need more Ace rep: for the kids who haven’t seen themselves represented before, but also for the folks who don’t understand what it’s like. And now that you mention it I can’t think of a single book with Demi rep and that’s something I’d reeeeally like to see. It doesn’t get talked about outside of certain enclaves on the internet but everyone deserves to be able to read about characters similar to themselves.

  9. I absolutely love your rec posts! I haven’t read any of these books but I really want to read books with asexual representation because I have to be honest and say that it’s an identity I don’t know much about. I’ll definitely check these books out and I can’t wait to see what else you recommend moving forward :D

    • Hi Sara!
      Aw, thank you so much!
      I understand that. I think asexuality doesn’t get enough rep, so I have my fingers crossed that we’ll see more of it in the future.

      Aww thank you!! I’m recommending diverse middle grade books next and I cannnoooot wait to share that post with everyone. <3

      • I definitely it will get more accurate rep in the future because everyone deserves that. I’m still wishing for a Venezuelan-American main character in a book but that’s very far off haha.
        That’s awesome! I don’t read as much middle grade as I want to so I can’t wait to see your recs :D

  10. I’ve only read We Awaken out of these, so I’m definitely going to devour the others! I haven’t read Vampire Academy though, do I need to read that to read Bloodlines?

    • Hi Michelle!
      Ooh, I absolutely recommend Every Heart a Doorway. I had heard how so many people loved it and, after, I totally understood why!

      I think you should, only because you’ll come to appreciate Bloodlines more. But, I know people who have read Bloodlines and enjoyed it anyway, so I guess it’s up to you! :D

  11. Can I just say how much I absolutely LOVE your posts? You always have so many great recommendations and after reading your posts I’m always left with so many great books to add to my TBR. Thanks for putting this together – I can’t wait to check these all out! <3

  12. Wonderful post CW! I will be the first to admit that I am not familiar with asexuality, or the ACE spectrum… so thank you for bringing this gap in my reading to my attention! Ironically enough, I just participated in T5W today and the theme was LGBTQ+ reads… I now wish I would have read this post BEFORE I wrote that one. Every Heart A Doorway has been on my radar, but now I am definitely going to add it to my TBR for the asexual representation alone!

    • Hi Amanda!
      I understand that completely. I didn’t know what asexuality was until I stumbled upon it on Tumblr (back in the day!) and discovered that I fell in the ace spectrum a few years later! We’re all going through this process of learning, I suppose! :)

      I hope you enjoy Every Heart a Doorway! I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic – very very well done and well-narrated! :D

  13. *adds all the books to my TBR* I am disappointed in myself for not going out to research about asexuality and I’m definitely going to be reading these books, especially We Awaken, since you say it explains it too. Of course I’ll do some research about the ace spectrum because I am confused about it when I see it pop up on Twitter but I’m too nervous to ask anyone about it aha

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