“Who needs kissing when you could share oxygen?” ~Victoria, (We Awaken)
Release Date: July 14th 2016
Author: Calista Lynne
Genre: YA Magical Realism; LGTB+ Romance (asexuality)
Summary: Victoria has isolated herself after the death of her father and her brother going comatose due to a brutal car accident. She’s re-centered her life around her dancing, until one night in her dreams she meets Ashlinn. Ashlinn brings Victoria hope and messages from her brother. During their nightly meetings the two girls grow close and Ashlinn guides Victoria in her discovery of asexuality. But when Victoria needs Ashlinn’s help, rules are broken and the world hangs in the balance.
My Opinion: Elegant. This story is completely elegant. From the lovely characterization, lyrical descriptions, and a wonderfully executed plot, this book flowed and left me in quiet awe and gratitude. Four and half stars!
I nearly fell out of my chair and I did indeed squeal very loudly when I was offered the ARC to read. Asexual girls loving girls? Oh yeah! I’m down for that. And frankly, this was the first time I have ever heard of asexual girls loving girls. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was excited for it, even if I was a bit nervous about how it would be executed. I shouldn’t have worried. Victoria’s self discovery of her asexuality was so organic and true to so many people’s experiences. I found this incredibly comforting and validating.
Lynne does an excellent job at showing the struggles people face when they’re learning about their asexuality. Dealing with friends who just don’t get it and think that it’s stupid and wrong, the doubts you have about yourself, the mixed emotions. Lynne also does a wonderful job of showing that there is a spectrum of asexuality; some people are going to be very into cuddling and kissing, others are not. No matter where you fall, you are still an asexual, and your preferences are completely valid.
The only flaw in We Awaken for me was that at times it read a little bit like an asexual handbook. As someone who is an asexual and has known that about themselves for quite some time, some parts made me feel like I was getting a course in “Asexuality 101.” For people who are curious about asexuality or who think they might be asexual, this is absolutely wonderful and I can see it being incredibly helpful. For me though, not so much. Thankfully the way the information was presented was very organic and didn’t slow down the plot.
Not going to lie here, the plot surprised me. There were some lovely twists, and while the book is completely upfront with the importance and focus of asexuality, there’s so much more to it. This is truly a romance novel, a contemporary filled with believable magic. The importance of magic is such a lovely touch, and a driving force in the story making this book so much more than what it seems.
The character development, the diversity of characters (we have asexual girls, straight girls, and WoC), and the perfectly paced plot are really what makes this book so beautiful and worth reading. Victoria’s struggles were real and relatable, and the lyrical descriptions made me even more invested. There were numerous times where I gasped because a turn of phrase was so lovely.
TL;DR: No matter your sexuality or your gender, this is an elegant book that deserves high praise. The lyrical descriptions, world building, the organic romance, and diverse characters means that there’s something in this book for everyone. If you’re familiar with asexuality some parts might read a little bit like “Asexuality 101” but for those who are curious or just learning about asexuality, this book is a wonderful starting point. For me this book became an instant favorite and I know I’ll enjoy re-reading it many times in the future.