This review is part of the series of reviews of asexual fiction which I am doing for Asexual Awareness Week.
Hey, You Said You Were Going to Review How Not to Summon Your True Love First.
I did. I changed the plan for a few reasons:
1) I still have not received the paperbacks I ordered from Less Than Three Press. I’ve already read (and written reviews for) the eBooks I bought from them, but I can’t review the books I ordered as paperbacks this week if I don’t get them in time.
2) I took advantage of Dreamspinners’ 30% off sale on everything to buy a bunch of novels with asexual characters, including We Awaken.
3) By making this the first review, I am buying an extra day for the LT3 paperbacks to arrive. I hope I will be able to review some of them this week.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the review!
So, What Is This Story About?
Victoria is a ‘lesbian’ but not very good at it (hint: she is actually asexual, but she doesn’t know that at the beginning of the novel), and her best friend, Ellie, gives her grief over that. Her father and brother were in a car crash; her father died, her brother is in a long-term coma. She focuses on dance because she wants to get into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory.
Then Victoria meets the girl of her dreams … literally. Because this is magical realism. And a female/female romance story.
What Kind of Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Have, If Any?
Ellie shares a sex story, but it’s not that graphic (well, I suppose it depends on one’s standards, it involves a butter knife), and there is a nightmare sequence where someone is sexually molested (the description is brief – only about a sentence long). There is a shower scene where two women are naked and wet together, but both of the women involved consider that to be non-sexual. As far as violence … aside from the nightmare which contains sexual molestation, there is also a nightmare about the car crash which killed Victoria’s father and injured her brother. I’m not sure if this counts as violence, but someone also gets a painful tattoo with needles at some point in the story.
Tell Me More about This Novel
My section was the Manhattan sequence. It was ridiculous in a good way.
Another highlight was, mmmm, Ashlinn is generally a mysterious character, but there is one scene where we get a real glimpse of her inner self. That was powerful.
I felt that all of the characters were as developed as they needed to be. Victoria’s grief affects her a lot without turning into a flood of angst.
For a while, I was concerned that there was going to be a lack of obstacles and that that characters would get everything they wanted too easily … ha ha ha, no, the characters do not get what they want THAT easily. In fact, some serious choices have to be made.
This novel is elegant, quiet, and sweet – until it’s not.
On the asexuality content scale I described in the introduction, I would say that this story is a 6. A significant portion of the story is about Victoria coming to terms with her (a)sexuality. There is also a subplot around trying to explain asexuality to Ellie. I really like the scene where Victoria gets fed up with Ellie’s anti-asexual crap – I suspect a lot of asexual readers enjoy that part. There is more about asexuality in the story than that, but I do not want to enter into spoiler territory. I will say that I generally felt that this novel handles asexuality very well.
Was This Written by an Asexual?
According to this interview:
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Not absolutely positive. At the moment I have three groups of people calling me three different sexualities, none of which are asexual, and they’re all wrong. I’m hoping it becomes clearer to me with time- my goal was that I’d figure it all out in London although that hasn’t happened yet- but I believe I’m somewhere along the lines of gray-Ace.
Hey Sara, Do You Like This Story?
YES! I liked this a ton! It is so satisfying to have such a good story which focuses on asexuality. Even ignoring the asexuality part, it’s a good novel.
You can buy it here at the Dreamspinner website or at various book retailers. If you buy it today (October 23) through the Dreamspinner website, you get a 30% discount off of cover price. If you buy it tomorrow (October 24) you can buy it at full cover price.
Tomorrow, I am going to post the next review, which is finally going to be about How Not to Summon Your True Love by Sasha L. Miller.