Happy International Asexuality Day! Today we’re celebrating books with main characters all along the ace spectrum, so check out these titles and find your perfect next read! As usual, all links are affiliate and earn a percentage of income for the site, so please use them if you can!
Please note this roundup only features titles that were not previously featured [with covers] in past International Asexuality Day/Ace Week posts, so make sure to check those out too for even more recs!
Books to Read Now
A Furry Faux Paw by Jessica Kara
(Maeve is ace-questioning.)
Online, MauveCat (a cool, confident, glittering pixie cat) has friends and a whole supportive furry community that appreciates her art. At home, Maeve Stephens has to tiptoe around her hoarder mother’s mood and mess. When her life is at its hardest, Maeve can always slip into Mauve, her fursona, and be “the happy one,” the bubbliest, friendliest artist in her community—it’s even how she made her best friend, Jade.
With graduation around the corner, Maeve is ready to put her lonely school days behind her and move on with her life. And while her father hasn’t been home since the divorce, he does offer her a dream come true: an all-expenses paid trip to the regional furry convention.
Furlympia will have everything Maeve’s been missing—friends, art mentors, and other furries! So when her mother forbids her from going, Maeve decides to sneak out on her own.
Between hitching a ride with Jade, getting a makeover from a young furry she inspired, and connecting with an art idol who could help Her get into her dream school—the furcon is everything Maeve hoped for and more. A single weekend away shows Maeve how wonderful her life could be, but breaking free of the hoard means abandoning her mother, just like everyone else in their life. And Maeve isn’t sure if she can—even if it destroys her, too.
Scoreless Game by Anna Zabo and L.A. Witt
At nearly thirty-one years old, Pittsburgh Griffins captain Elias Karlsson’s hockey years are numbered. Everything is changing around him, including his eleven-year friendship with Nikolai Sidorov. Elias would give anything for Nisha to be a permanent part of his life, but their once bedrock-strong bond has broken into a million pieces, and Elias doesn’t know why. More than anything, Elias wants his friend back, but if that isn’t an option, maybe it’s time for him to look outside of hockey for someone to be there with him when hockey isn’t an option anymore.
Nisha’s world is splintering apart. He’s been in love with his two best friends for years, but now one of them has someone. The other, Elias, is searching for everything Nisha wishes he could give him… but he’s looking for it in anyone but Nisha. The farther his friends slip away, the deeper the loneliness sinks in and the bleaker his empty future looks. What can he do but numb the pain in the only ways he knows how?
On the eve of the season opener, Nisha’s unexplained absence threatens the cohesion of the team and puts him and Elias on a collision course of strong wills, broken hearts, and shattered trust. In the end, they may lose the very thing that matters most to them both: each other.
Buy it: Amazon
Rising From Ash by Jax Meyer
Phoenix Murray has had enough. Enough of her incompetent boss. Enough of her addict father always asking for money. Enough of the struggle to survive. So when her aunt offers her a job as a cook at the South Pole, she jumps at it. Even when she’s asked to avoid casual sex to keep the peace in the tiny community.
Astrophysicist Ashley Bennett can’t wait for her year at the South Pole. Not only will it allow her to focus on her PhD research, it’s a key step in her plan to become a Mars colonist. Avoiding the complications of dating in a society that doesn’t understand asexuality is a bonus.
When Phoenix and Ash meet, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought.
Buy it: Amazon
The Heartbreak Handshake by J.R. Hart
Paxton McKee, Clover Hill’s rideshare driver and handyman, is known by his customers as responsible, dependable, and loyal. On first dates, though, he’s known by another word: boring. His dates never seem to appreciate his in-depth knowledge of famous aviation disasters or his LEGO expertise. His book club buddy, Mrs. Sawyer, keeps trying to set him up. But after so many failed dates, Paxton’s given up on finding someone who can accept him, special interests, stims, and all.
Hand-crafter Remi Sawyer put Clover Hill in their rear-view mirror to sell at craft fairs across the country. But being a traveling artisan is harder than Remi thought. With mounting bills, they’ve ended up back home. Being in their old teenage bedroom is weird. Weirder, their mother keeps trying to set them up on dates, even after they’ve made it clear the homecoming is temporary.
To get Mrs. Sawyer off their backs, Paxton and Remi agree on a scheme: they’ll go on three dates. When it’s over, Paxton can pretend to be heartbroken, and Remi can get back on the road. They even shake on it. But awkward dates lead to the realization the two have a lot in common. Kissing is gross? Check. Spending quiet time doing projects together is enjoyable? Double check.
But Remi is still hell-bent on leaving Clover Hill again, and Paxton is dead-set on staying. Can they find a new vision that doesn’t involve Remi leaving their kindred spirit behind, or are they both destined to lose the person who might be their perfect companion?
Buy it: Amazon
Ace of Hearts by Lucy Mason
Hesper Stallides and Felix Morlan have been best friends for as long as they can remember, bonding over their troubled home lives. When a horrible sports injury derails Felix’s promising career and results in the loss of his scholarship, Hesper offers a proposition: a year-long marriage of convenience so he can get free tuition at the college where she works.
It isn’t supposed to be complicated…until they fall in love for real. When Hesper reveals that she’s asexual, Felix must reassess everything he thinks about love, and ask himself what he’s willing to sacrifice for a future with Hesper—before the past she’s spent her life running from can take her away from him forever.
Buy it: Amazon
Tell Me How it Ends by Quinton Li
(Marin is aroace.)
Iris Galacia’s tarot cards do more than entertain gamblers.
With the flip of her fingers she can predict the future and uncover a person’s secrets. Under the watchful eye of her mother, she is already on thin ice for pursuing a passion in the family business, but then cracks start to form, and eventually she falls through.
She is given an ultimatum: earn a thousand coins or leave the business, and the family.
Enter Marin Boudreau, a charming young person who can scale buildings and break off doorknobs, who comes for her help to rescue a witch who’s been falsely imprisoned in Excava Kingdom.
And Marin is willing to pay a high sum for her talents.
But saving a prisoner from royal hands isn’t easy, nor is leaving home for the first time in eighteen years.
Now Iris must learn to trust in herself, Marin, and this new magical world, while racing the clock before the royals decide the fate of the witch, and before any secrets catch up to her.
Buy it: Amazon
Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown
Everything you know about sex and asexuality is (probably) wrong.
The notion that everyone wants sex–and that we all have to have it–is false. It’s intertwined with our ideas about capitalism, race, gender, and queerness. And it impacts the most marginalized among us. For asexual folks, it means that ace and A-spec identity is often defined by a queerness that’s not queer enough, seen through a lens of perceived lack: lack of pleasure, connection, joy, maturity, and even humanity.
In this exploration of what it means to be Black and asexual in America today, Sherronda J. Brown offers new perspectives on asexuality. She takes an incisive look at how anti-Blackness, white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and capitalism enact harm against asexual people, contextualizing acephobia within a racial framework in the first book of its kind. Brown advocates for the “A” in LGBTQIA+, affirming that to be asexual is to be queer–despite the gatekeeping and denial that often says otherwise.
With chapters on desire, f*ckability, utility, refusal, and possibilities, Refusing Compulsory Sexuality discusses topics of deep relevance to ace and a-spec communities. It centers the Black asexual experience–and demands visibility in a world that pathologizes and denies asexuality, denigrates queerness, and specifically sexualizes Black people.
Books to Preorder
You Don’t Have a Shot by Racquel Marie (May , 2023)
Valentina “Vale” Castillo-Green’s life revolves around soccer. Her friends, her future, and her father’s intense expectations are all wrapped up in the beautiful game. But after she incites a fight during playoffs with her long-time rival, Leticia Ortiz, everything she’s been working toward seems to disappear.
Embarrassed and desperate to be anywhere but home, Vale escapes to her beloved childhood soccer camp for a summer of relaxation and redemption…only to find out that she and the endlessly aggravating Leticia will be co-captaining a team that could play in front of college scouts. But the competition might be stiffer than expected, so unless they can get their rookie team’s act together, this second chance―and any hope of playing college soccer―will slip through Vale’s fingers. When the growing pressure, friendship friction, and her overbearing father push Vale to turn to Leticia for help, what starts off as a shaky alliance of necessity begins to blossom into something more through a shared love of soccer…and maybe each other.
Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See (June 6, 2023)
Less than a year away from graduation, seventeen-year-old Joy is too busy overachieving to be worried about relationships. She’s determined to be Caldwell Prep’s first disabled valedictorian. And she only has one person to beat, her academic rival Nathaniel.
But it’s senior year and everyone seems to be obsessed with pairing up. One of her best friends may be developing feelings for her and the other uses Caldwell’s anonymous love-letter writer to snag the girl of her dreams. Joy starts to wonder if she has missed out on a quintessential high school experience. She is asexual, but that’s no reason she can’t experience first love, right?
She writes to Caldwell Cupid to help her sort out these new feelings and, over time, finds herself falling for the mysterious voice behind the letters. But falling in love might mean risking what she wants most, especially when the letter-writer turns out to be the last person she would ever expect.
The Siren, The Song, and the Spy by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (September 26, 2023)
This is the companion to The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
By sinking a fleet of Imperial Warships, the Pirate Supreme and their resistance fighters have struck a massive blow against the Emperor. Now allies from across the empire are readying themselves, hoping against hope to bring about the end of the conquerors’ rule and the rebirth of the Sea. But trust and truth are hard to come by in this complex world of mermaids, spies, warriors, and aristocrats. Who will Genevieve—lavishly dressed but washed up, half-dead, on the Wariuta island shore—turn out to be? Is warrior Koa’s kindness toward her admirable, or is his sister Kaia’s sharp suspicion wiser? And back in the capital, will pirate-spy Alfie really betray the Imperials who have shown him affection, especially when a duplicitous senator reveals xe would like nothing better?
Meanwhile, the Sea is losing more and more of herself as her daughters continue to be brutally hunted, and the Empire continues to expand through profits made from their blood.
This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson (September 26, 2023)
The Rusel family is famous throughout Enderlain as breeders of enchanted horses, but their prestige is no match for their rising debts. To save her family’s ranch, Mikira Rusel is left with only one option: enter the Illinir, a cutthroat, cross-country horserace known for its high death rate as much as its flashy prize money.
To have any chance of success, she’ll have to recruit Arielle Kadar, an unlicensed enchanter who creates golems in place of enchanted animals, and Damien Adair, a lord in the midst of a succession battle. Both her accomplices have reasons of their own to help Mikira – and their own blood feuds to avenge.
In a world as dangerous as this, will hidden agendas and conflicting desires butcher their chances of winning the Illinir. . . or will another rider’s dagger?
Being Ace ed. by Madeline Dyer (October 10, 2023)
Discover the infinite realms of asexual love across sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary stories
From a wheelchair user racing to save her kidnapped girlfriend and a little mermaid who loves her sisters more than suitors, to a slayer whose virgin blood keeps attracting monsters, the stories of this anthology are anything but conventional. Whether adventuring through space, outsmarting a vengeful water spirit, or surviving haunted cemeteries, no two aces are the same in these 14 unique works that highlight asexual romance, aromantic love, and identities across the asexual spectrum.
Wren Martin Ruins it All by Amanda DeWitt (November 7, 2023)
Now that Wren Martin is student council president (on a technicality, but hey, it counts) he’s going to fix Rapture High. His first order of business: abolish the school’s annual Valentine’s Day Dance, a drain on the school’s resources and general social nightmare—especially when you’re asexual.
His greatest opponent: Leo Reyes, vice president and all-around annoyingly perfect student, who has a solution to Wren’s budget problem. A sponsorship from Buddy, the anonymous “not a dating” app that’s swept the nation. The theme: 21st Century Masquerade. Suddenly, Wren’s plan for a dance-less senior year has turned into heading the biggest dance Rapture High has ever seen. He’s even secretly signed up for the app, determined to make good on his promises to improve the school, even if that means going into the belly of the beast.
When Wren accidentally starts up a conversation with one of his matches, he realizes things might be getting out of control. He never meant to like his anonymous match, and he certainly didn’t mean to develop a crush on him. Wren decided a long time ago that dating while asexual wasn’t worth the hassle. With the Valentine’s Day Dance rapidly approaching, Wren isn’t sure what will kill him first: the dance, his relationship drama, or the growing realization that Leo’s perfect life might not be so perfect after all.
For Never & Always by Helena Greer (November 28, 2023)
(Levi is demisexual.)
Hannah Rosenstein should be happy: after a lonely childhood of traipsing all over the world, she finally has a home as the co-owner of destination inn Carrigan’s All Year. But her thoughts keep coming back to Levi “Blue” Matthews: her first love, worst heartbreak, and now, thanks to her great-aunt’s meddling will, absentee business partner.
When Levi left Carrigan’s, he had good intentions. As the queer son of the inn’s cook and groundskeeper, he never quite fit in their small town and desperately wanted to prove himself. Now that he’s a celebrity chef, he’s ready to come home and make amends. Only his return goes nothing like he planned: his family’s angry with him, his best friend is dating his nemesis, and Hannah just wants him to leave. Again.
Levi sees his chance when a VIP bride agrees to book Carrigan’s—if he’s the chef. He’ll happily cook for the wedding, and in exchange, Hannah will give him five dates to win her back. Only Hannah doesn’t trust this new Levi, and Levi’s coming to realize Hannah’s grown too. But if they find the courage to learn from the past . . . they just might discover the love of your life is worth waiting for.
Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao (April 16, 2024)
Sophie Chi is in her first year at Wellesley College (despite her parents’ wishes that she attends a “real” university) and has long accepted her aromantic and asexual identities. Despite knowing she’ll never fall in love, she enjoys learning about relationships and putting that research to use to help people. And what better way to do that than by running an Instagram account that offers advice to the students at her college, somewhere in between classes, morning runs, and extracurriculars? No one except her roommate knows that she’s behind the incredibly popular “Dear Wendy” account.
Meanwhile, Joanna “Jo” Ephron is also a first-year student at Wellesley but when they create the account “Sincerely Wanda” to show one of their roommates why she needs to dump her boyfriend, they don’t expect it to amount to anything more. After all, Jo’s account isn’t meant to be serious—not like Dear Wendy’s. But it seems more and more students appreciate her humorous answers to followers’ dilemmas, and she may end up encroaching on Wendy’s territory a little. And now the two accounts might have a rivalry of sorts? Oops. As if Jo’s not busy enough having existential crises over the fact that she’ll never truly be loved or be enough, gender, and her few friends finding The One and forgetting her!
Tensions are rising online, but Sophie and Jo start getting closer in real life, especially after they realize their shared aroace identity. As their friendship develops and they work together to start a campus organization for other a-spec students, can their growing bond survive if they learn just who’s behind the Wendy and Wanda accounts?