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Let's Talk About Love: 02/17/18
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann is about Alice. She's recently broken up with her girl friend and moved in with her two best-friends (who are now a couple). She works at a library and is avoiding telling her parents that she doesn't want to be a lawyer. She's asexual, bi-romantic, and lives in the Bay Area. She's also one of my all time favorite YA protagonists.
Alice rates everything in her life by the Cutie Code. Everyone and everything that interests her gets a color. The top of the chart is red. It's not an "I want to bang that list." It's an aesthetic list — a how long she finds herself staring at that person or animal or thing. As an awkward starer at people, animals, and things — I completely relate to the Cutie Code.
Enter Takumi into her life. He's working part time at the same library and he breaks the Cutie Code. As he's the newbie and she has rank and experience, she gets stuck training him. It makes things really awkward.
I really went into this book expecting to not like Takumi. He does come off weird in his intro but so does Alice in her reaction to him. I would say that both crossed the line into harassment those first few days at work. But they work it out by actually communicating.
Takumi steps up after Alice is ditched (or not ditched depending on who you ask) at a costume party. It is after that they they genuinely start to become friends. Mostly it stems from Alice wanting a safe place to be because she's now in the middle of a fight with both roommates.
The middle of the book settles into three different story lines. There's Alice and her parents (and her older siblings) all who want her to declare law as her major. There's Alice in therapy where she tries to come to terms with being asexual and her inability to out herself beyond the three people she's told (her two roommates and her ex-girl friend). Finally there's the relationship between Alice and Takumi.
The book is rather episodic. I mentally read it as a series of short stories or short situations that were linked across a larger arc, rather than in one single novel. That style of narration won't work for everyone but I liked it because it kept any one scene from getting too long.