Review: “As Autumn Leaves” by Kate Sands

The cover of "As Autumn Leaves" by Kate Sands

This is part of my series of reviews of fiction published by Harmony Ink Press featuring asexual characters. You can find the introduction here.

What Is This Story About?

Kayla love dancing. She used to be a cheerleader, but after she started dating the popular athlete Jason, and then he asked her for sex, she said no, they broke up, and she then decided to quit cheerleading too. Many of the other cheerleaders – and other girls at her high school – are calling her the ‘Ice Queen’ because she would not have sex with the super-hot Jason. And Kayla believes that she is broken because she cannot accept sex.

At least Kayla has figured out who is willing to be her friend anyway, and because she has so few friends now, she does not dare lose them. And when she learns that one of her very few remaining friends is a) a lesbian and b) has a crush on her, things get really, really awkward.

What Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Have, If Any?

There is kissing, and discussion about Kayla not wanting sex. I do not recall anything violent happening in the story.

So, Asexuality?

On the asexuality content scale (1 = ‘By the way, I’m asexual’ and asexuality is never mentioned again, 10 = a story all about asexuality and little else) I would rate this story as a 8. That is because, if you took the asexuality out of this story, there would be so little remaining it would be incoherent.

Kayla’s problems all stem from her refusing to have sex with her ex-boyfriend (which is why he is an ex-boyfriend), and she refused basically because she is a sex-repulsed asexual (the term ‘sex-repulsed’ is never used in the story, but it’s implied by her actions). She feels that she is broken, and that she could never have a successful close relationship with anybody, and that even her few remaining friends might leave her if they really understood that she is not into sex.

Quite a bit about the story is about Kayla and her mother, and how her mother reacts to Kayla’s (a)sexuality. An example is here:

“What, would it make it better if I said he was a dickbag who was trying to pressure me into sex and I didn’t want to, so I broke up with him?”

“He didn’t do anything, did he? Hurt you, or force himself—”

“Mom, no,” Kayla said. “I’m a virgin, okay? I will probably be one for a very long time, boys don’t interest me, and neither does sex! I don’t want it!”

The room fell silent, so quiet they’d be able to hear a pin drop as loud as a booming crash. They stared at each other, and Kayla’s cheeks warmed with embarrassment. She wished the floor would open and swallow her whole. This discussion was the last thing she wanted to have with her mother.

“I understand that you’re a late bloomer,” her mom started slowly. “And no mother in her right mind would have an issue with their daughter not rushing into sex. But I want to make sure you fully understand what it entails—”

“I’m sixteen! I know what sex is.”

“I’m sure you think you do, but at your age—”

“We had this talk when I was fourteen and it was the most embarrassing conversation on the planet, I’m not doing it again.”

Hmmm, so we have the following bingo squares filled out: a) “late bloomer” b) did something happen to you? c) it’s great that you’re saving yourself and d) you’re too young to understand.

Also, there are all of Kayla’s peers bullying her for not wanting to have sex with the hot jock they wish they could have sex with. That is not presented much on-page, but it is referenced many times.

There is, of course, more, but I think I am near the limit of what I can say without getting into spoiler territory.

Tell Me More About This Novella.

I honestly do not have much more to say. It was hardly the most gripping story I ever read, but I found it very readable, and it didn’t have any particularly glaring flaws either.

Was This Written by an Asexual?

I don’t know.

Hey Sara, Do You Like This Novella?

Yes, I do.

Where Can I Get This Novella?

I got it from the Dreamspinner Store. One may also get it from the Harmony Ink Store (note: the Dreamspinner Store often has sales, the Harmony Ink Store not so much), and from various eBook retailers.

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4 thoughts on “Review: “As Autumn Leaves” by Kate Sands

  1. Pingback: Reviewing Asexual Fiction Published by Harmony Ink Press | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  2. So, I went and bought this. Because of the high asexuality content score, and because I prefer realistic dramas. My impression (halfway through) is that it’s a nice coming out story. Nothing amazing about it nor anything I dislike. The relationship with her mother is definitely the highlight for me, with all that irony of being out but not out.

  3. Pingback: The Most Different Kinds of Ace Characters I Can Think of | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

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