In our Wonderwork series, CU Denver faculty, students, staff, and alumni recommend one book, movie, or podcast that deserves more attention. Our ultimate goal is to promote a diverse and inclusive book and media culture. June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, so we welcome work by or about LGBTQ+ individuals. Nominate your favorite Wonderwork by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or share it on social with #CUDenverWonderwork.
I’m recommending Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, a queer black woman who joined the YA world by social publishing via Wattpad and Swoon Reads. As someone who spent the entirety of my formative years devouring fandom culture on tumblr and Wattpad, the protagonist, a biromantic asexual named Alice, communicates in ways that punch straight into my little queer-internet heart. There’s a universality about the narrative. It isn’t wholly focused on her burgeoning romantic feelings for Takumi, who she describes as “the kind of gorgeous you’d stab your best friend of twenty years in the back, set her house on fire, and drive off into the sunset with her husband for.” Readers get to see Alice champion for control over her educational choices from her well-meaning but overbearing family, as well as her struggle to find purchase in a long-standing friendship with the engaged Feenie and Ryan.
Kann gives us a story that is honest; it includes instances of microaggressions against Alice’s blackness from characters that you hope would act better, and even discriminatory statements about her asexuality from those she considers her closest friends. Though Alice is grappling with the balance of all these relationships, the book feels light due to Kann’s quick-witted and personable writing style. There are enough late-night movie marathons and parenthetical asides to make any nightblogger feel at home.
I’d recommend this book for those of any background that are learning how to demand the respect that every identity deserves. This pride month, remember that the A in LGBTQIA+ stands for asexual, not ally!
Some Content Warnings: sexual harassment, racial microaggressions, mentions of drugs (marijuana), mentions of being high, alcohol being drunk.
– Sprout, Creative Writing ’19
Sprout graduated from the CU Denver Creative Writing program in 2019. They now work in education and dabble in candy-making (much to the joy of their fiancée).