Around this time of year, it is not uncommon to find the Grinch and Scrooges of the romantic variety. Their sometimes-seeming abundance is easy to understand with a certain pink and red February holiday. And while I’m not here to debate which side is better of the divisive celebration (though what can be bad about celebrating love of all kinds?), I think it’s important to remember those that don’t readily fall onto either side. Here are some book picks for lead or important characters that are either asexual, aromantic, or both.
A quick primer, in case you’re unfamiliar with the terms:
Asexuality: People who identify as asexual experience little or no sexual attraction to others. Asexual people, or “aces,” often experience attraction that includes emotional and/or romantic attraction.
Aromantic: People who identify as aromantic do not experience romantic attraction to any gender. So while romantic attraction refers to a desire to have emotional contact and interaction with a partner, aromantic people lack that interest.
A person can be both aromantic and asexual, or one or the other.
YA novel: Alice is an asexual college student who has sworn off love after her girlfriend broke up with her after Alice confessed she was asexual. That’s until she meets Takumi, who becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge. Now she has to decide if she's willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated-- or understood.
YA novel: Rosiee Thor stated about the book that she wrote it “for the teen version of myself who didn’t know she could be aromantic, asexual, and also queer.” A sci-fi romp in a speculative fiction world with a steampunk vibe, there are multiple queer characters, but Nathaniel is both asexual and aromantic.
YA series: Technically the second in the series, I’m featuring this one because Felicity is the confident ace and aro heroine you’ve been looking for. It’s the sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which is also an LGBTQ story, though not in the parameters of this list. Still, a good read!
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
YA novel: Sal is an asexual, fully autonomous robot. Perfect for anyone who struggles with feeling out of place, Sal meets Clara, an AI technician, this is a warm, cozy read for the steampunk loving bookworm. A story about artificial intelligence and real kindness, about love, and the feeling of watching steam rising softly from a teacup on a bright and quiet morning.
Adult novel: The only adult novel on this list, The Romantic Agenda is by the same author as Let’s Talk About Love, Claire Kann. Joy is asexual and in love with Malcolm. Malcolm really likes Summer, who is in love with being in love. Joy sets out to show Malcolm what he’s missing, but when she meets Fox, she realizes it’s her who might have been missing something.
The following books are a list of non-fiction books about asexuality. Some are graphic novel memoirs, and other are just in-depth explorations by the authors as they navigated life and growth as asexual people. While as of yet there aren’t any non-fiction books specifically on aromanticism, some of these titles do touch on the topic.
(NOTE: Other formats (print, audiobook, etc) are available for most titles in our catalog. Click the title in the entries above to see all formats)