5 On My TBR is a weekly meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. Every week, we get the chance to rave about 5 books on our TBRs that fit the prompt, and this week’s prompt is…
That’s just it. Love. I love (haha) how broad this one is, and I’m very excited to dive in. In fact, I won’t wait another moment!
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Not all love is sexual! This is YA asexual romance with a Black protagonist named Alice. Alice’s girlfriend broke up with her when Alice came out as asexual, and Alice has given up hope of ever being her authentic self in a relationship — until she meets a guy named Takumi at her local library and falls for him. Hard. Hard enough that, in spite of her fear, she’s willing to try again. It is incredibly important to spread the message that sex isn’t a necessity for a happy, healthy, and loving romantic relationship, and that asexual people are not “broken” or doomed to be alone forever because of their sexuality.
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
Not all love is romantic! In this post-apocalyptic novel, a woman named Myra is grieving the loss of her kidnapped firstborn daughter, Row, as she raises her second-born daughter, Pearl, alone. When Myra receives news that Row is alive somewhere far to the north, she sets off on a perilous sea voyage with Pearl to reclaim her lost daughter. Along the way, she befriends the crew of a larger ship and forms a family with them. As the waters beneath their ships grow doubtful and dangerous, Myra must decide how far she will go and how deeply she will endanger this new family for the sake of finding Row.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Not all love is romantic or familial! Frances is having an existential crisis as she realizes that she has spent all of her teenage years studying for a college degree she doesn’t really want, and takes refuge in her favorite podcast. She meets the podcast’s creator, Aled, who is struggling with depression due to past abuse. Together, they help each other work toward a better future. They love each other, but are not in love. A friendship can be just as deep and meaningful as a romantic relationship, and (in my opinion) too much of the media we consume treats friendships as inferior to romance when it really isn’t.
The Seep by Chana Porter
Not all love lasts. It’s the sad truth. In this sci-fi debut, Trina Goldberg-Oneka, a trans woman, is living with her wife, Deeba, in the aftermath of a nonviolent alien invasion. The alien(s), known collectively as The Seep, have completely eradicated the boundaries of what science can accomplish… which seems all well and good, until Deeba decides she wants to be reborn as a baby with no memory of Trina or her past life. Grieving, alone, and drinking to cope, Trina meets a young boy untouched by The Seep, one whom she is determined to save from its influence.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Not all love is cisgender! Felix Love is a seventeen-year-old trans man who is publicly outed by a classmate during his senior year of high school, and in-between dealing with the horrendous aftermath and plotting his revenge he finds himself tangled up in a love triangle. I am usually deeply averse to love triangles, but I’ve heard this is one of the good ones. This isn’t a YA rom-com, though, (don’t let the flower crown on the cover fool you) and delves deeply into questioning one’s identity and defining oneself for oneself, rather than for the convenience of others.
And that’s all! I really enjoyed this 5 On My TBR post, since I have opinions about how love in media is all too often neatly packaged into this easy-to-consume, white, heteronormative, happily-ever-after narrative that is as fake and boring as plain white bread.