[Reading Recs] #AroAceApril: A-spec Reading Recommendations

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This April, @athomeintheclouds and I are hosting a small follow-up challenge to our #fffebruaryreads. I feel like the title of this post is self-explanatory, but this time we’re encouraging you all to read books featuring a-spec characters!

Whether you’re here because you want to participate in the challenge (which is awesome, btw), or you just want reading recommendations, this post is intended to help everyone find a book which appeals to them – and which they’ll hopefully enjoy!

(If you’re here because you initially wanted some book recommendations and are now interested in partaking in the challenge, click here. Also there are prizes and it’ll be fun, so I really urge you to!)

For organisational purposes, this blog post is split into genres. And if you know of a book that features an a-spec character that is not listed below, please let me know by sending me a message (ideally in the comments here, or through Instragram), and I will happily add it. We want this list to be as holistic and as diverse as possible, so this list will be constantly updated with new suggestions as they come in. (And thank you to every single person that has got in touch with me & Kelsea so we could build this list; we love you!!)

This list may seem a little long, so it to search for a specific genre, just use crtl + g and put in a genre or title; there are broad classifications for contemporaryfantasysci-fihistorical and mystery/thriller.

*Also, I just want to note than we’re not actual book slayers, and as such have not read all of these. I’ve done research to try and ensure they all include a-spec representation (either protagonist or side character) in an evident way (if not explicitly stated), but if they should not – we’re sorry, and just let us know so we can remove it from the list ❤

**the [OV] tag stands for a-spec ownvoices, but most of the books on here do have authors on the LGBTQ+ spectrum even if they’re not a-spec

***I’ve added in brackets to some books bios to indicate the exact kind of rep featured; some descriptions say ‘on-page’ which indicates whether a specific word such as “asexual” or “aromantic” is used on-page to clarify the character’s sexual orientation

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Contemporary

Image result for radio silenceRadio Silence by Alice Oseman [OV]

A gorgeously emotional UKYA contemporary novel about youth and identity. Frances is dedicated to working hard, but when she meets Aled, she opens up and is unafraid to be herself – and she discovers that there are some really beautiful friendships out there. (On-page asexual deuteragonist in Aled)

Image result for summer bird blue Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman [OV]

After her sister dies, Rumi is sent away to live with her aunt in Hawaii. With the help of the “boys next door” – a surfer named Kai, and an 80-year old called George Watanabe – Rumi finds ways to move on and heal. (A-spec heroine)

Loveless by Alice Oseman [OV]

This one isn’t out yet, but I wanted to feature it just so everyone was aware of it! It’s an #ownvoices novel from Oseman, and it’s all about an asexual girl learning to love herself and removing the fear that she is ‘loveless’. (A-spec heroine)

Thaw (Seasons of Love, #2)Thaw by Elyse Springer

Abigial, a librarian, somehow ends up at a swanky auction, where she meets and dances with the most glamorous woman she’s ever met. When a romance seems on the cards, she’s worried that her asexuality might spell the end.

Let's Talk About LoveLet’s Talk About Love by Claire Kahn

After telling her girlfriend she was asexual (which resulted in a breakup), Alice has decided her whole summer is going to be tv marathons and food buffets. But when she meets Takumi, her plans change. (On-page asexual heroine)

Tash Hearts Tolstoy Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Tash loves Tolstoy. And after a shoutout from a superstar vlogger, Tash finds her amateur web series – based upon Anna Karenina – thrust into the limelight. She’s even nominated for an award, which brings its own complications. (On-page asexual heroine)

Seven Ways We LieSeven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Everyone has something to hide. When a school scandal starts to boil over, and rumours of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame.

Eliza and Her Monsters Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

In real life, Eliza is friendless. But online? She’s famous, the creator of a wildly popular webcomic. But things get sticky when a fanfic writer for her own webcomic transfers to her school. (A-spec heroine)

How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1) How To Be A Normal Person by TJ Klune [OV]

Gus is not normal. And he’s cool with that. But then Casey, asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. And for some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever.

The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1)The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s also the runaway son of a crime lord known as The Butcher. Neil knows signing with the team isn’t wise – it’ll bring publicity he doesn’t want or need, and could get him killed.

The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con, #2)The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

When two look-a-likes – a fan, and an actress – meet, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for a new blockbuster leaks, they must team up and find the person responsible. (Jess is very likely demisexual a-spec)

Image result for the meaning of birdsThe Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown

When Jess’s beautiful girlfriend Vivi dies, she spirals into grief. After getting into a fight, she ends up at school for delinquents and starts learning blacksmithing as part of the school’s programme to teach students a creative trade – and it helps her start to heal. (On-page aromantic secondary character)

That's Not What HappenedThat’s Not Wanted Happened by Kody Keplinger [OV]

It’s been three years since the deadly high school shootout at Virgil County High School. Six survivors all have different stories on what happened, and each is trying to make their story the lone truth.

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Fantasy

Beneath the Citadel Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria [OV]

In the city of Eldra, everything is ruled by prophecies. A group of youths discover the secrets of the labyrinth beneath the citadel, and realise there’s a different future for them all. (Alys, one of the leads is on-page a-spec)

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire [OV]

An excellent novella (and perfect for the novella part on the bingo board), this is a story about all the wayward girls and boys who’ve been tossed out of their fairytales. In addition to an ace heroine, there’s all other kinds of rep too! (Asexual heroine, on-page)

Sinners (The Fae Feast, #1)Sinners by Eka Waterfield

Basically, the quick and simple selling line is: “An asexual drug lord fae (or specifically, sidhe) uncovering the schemes of Winter Court.” So yeah. Essentially, fae and narcotics?

Sawkill Girls Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Girls have been going missing for years on the island of Sawkill Rock. When new girl Marion arrives, she teams up with the local queen bee and the daughter of the police chief to investigate. (One heroine is asexual, on-page)

The Perfect Assassin (The Chronicles of Ghadid, #1)The Perfect Assassin by KA Doore

Amastan, the newest member in a family of assassins, is hesitant about taking a life. But when killing contracts start drying up and someone starts murdering their own marks, he’s put to the test and sets about investigating the string of murderers.

City of Strife (City of Spires, #1)City of Strife by Claudie Arsenault [OV]

When one of his friends is accused of murder, Arathiel sets out to prove his innocence. He appeals to an old elven family who have their own problems, and who wish to enlist Arathiel’s help in return for their own. (Mostly everything by Claudie Arsenault has a-spec rep!)

Clariel (Abhorsen, #4) Clariel by Garth Nix

Clariel is not adjusting well to the city of Belisaere. She misses the forests, and feels trapped within the city’s stone walls. But when a dangerous magic creature is found loose in the city, Clariel realises she has a chance at escape.

The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #2)A Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan 

The second book in the Lady Trent series. Accompanied by an old associate and a runaway heiress, Lady Isabella Trent ventures to the war-torn continent of Eriga to study the dragons that live there. (A-spec side character in Natalie Orscott)

Beyond the Black DoorBeyond the Black Door by AM Strickland

Kamai and her mother can step into other people’s souls whilst they sleep. And in every soul Kamai visits, she sees the black door. And though she knows she must never touch it, a tragedy forces her to open it. (A-spec heroine)

Dread NationDread Nation by Justina Ireland

In a world where the dead roams across the United States, Jane is a student at a combat school where she learns to put down the dead–for good. But when families begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens her life.

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Sci-fi (inc. Space Opera)

Vicious (Villains, #1)Vicious (& Vengeful) by V.E. Schwab

A gorgeous, morally grey and provoking read (it’s one of my favourites and I recommend it to everyone). Two best friends invoke NDE’s to earn superpowers, but when they get them, they go down two very different paths. (Asexual hero in Victor)

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1)Once & Future by Cori McCarthy & Amy Rose Capetta

A scifi retelling of King Arthur & the Camelot tale, this novel features not only a secondary a-spec character but also a central f/f romance, a gay Merlin, a nonbinary character and shovel-loads of other diversity! (On-page asexual side character in Jordan)

Hullmetal Girls Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

Unable to afford treatment for her plague-afflicted brother, Aisha volunteers to become a genetically modified cyborg. She crosses paths with another cyborg called Key, who ends up as her main rival for top placement.

Dare Mighty ThingsDare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski

The rules are simple: you must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty five. You must be willing to accept the dangers you face if you win. If you comply? You’ll get the opportunity to travel to space.

At the Edge of the UniverseAt The Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. But then Tommy vanishes – disappearing from the minds of everyone who knew him, and it seems as if he never existed in the first place.

Daughters of Forgotten LightDaughters of the Forgotten Light by Sean Grigsby

In a floating prison in space, Lena “Horror” Horowitz leads the Daughters of the Forgotten Light, one of three vicious gangs fighting for survival. But when a fresh batch of prisoners arrives, no one is expecting the new surprises: a drone, and a baby.

Tarnished Are the StarsTarnished Are The Stars by Rosiee Thor

Anna has a secret: her heart is clockwork, and it is illegal. She works under the moniker “Technician” to supply black market medical tech to the sick and injured, against the law. Which may get her in trouble, sooner rather than later.

Quicksilver (Ultraviolet, #2)Quicksilver by RJ Anderson

Once, Tori had everything – money, beauty, popularity. Now she’s on the run, hunted by an ex-cop turned investigator who wants to capture her for a genetics lab that intends to investigate her unusual talents.

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Historical 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Determined to be educated after being rejected by the medical school in Edinburgh, Felicity Montague travels to the Continent to study under her idol. However, she gets caught up in an illegal sea dragon trade and makes solid female friendships on the way. (A-spec heroine)

The Spy with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #2) The Spy With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

Two twins with the ability to work magic are blackmailed by the government to work for them during WW2. One lends their abilities to America’s newest weapon – the atomic bomb – whilst the other goes behind enemy lines to sabotage Germany’s nuclear weapons programme.

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Mystery / Thriller

Before I Let Go Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp [OV]

Two best friends are separated when one moves away. When one is due to come back for a visit, things are thrown off by her abrupt death. But something is wrong – the town is keeping secrets.

SwitchbackSwitchback by Danika Stone

When two friends (a nerd and a social reject) go on a school camping trip, they expect it to be a joke. Instead, a freak snowstorm separates them from the rest of their class. Alone and lost, they have to use their wits to survive and make their way back to society.

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Further Materials:

Author Claudie Arsenault has an amazingly detailed database HERE

Also checkout this very in-depth list of a-spec books HERE 

17 thoughts on “[Reading Recs] #AroAceApril: A-spec Reading Recommendations

  1. This is such an awesome idea! I always try to find books with ace rep but I rarely find ones with aro rep. Could you tell me which of them have specific aro rep?
    I can only recommend the Perfect Assassin; I read the arc and really enjoyed my time. And I have another book for your list: Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson (Scifi).
    But I have to admit that I am a bit confused by Eliza and her monsters on this list. I don’t remember there being any of that rep in there… do you have any other informatin on that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, I admit most/all of the books on this list that I’ve read personally feature more asexual rep than aromantic – a little search online suggests Clariel and a few others, but I don’t think any of those have the explicit aro rep you’re searching for. I’ll keep looking, and let you know, though! (Also, there may potentially be stuff on Claudie Arsenault’s database which is linked at the bottom?)

      As for Eliza & Her Monsters, I haven’t read it but the author herself has stated on her website that to her Eliza is on the asexual spectrum, and had she written the book slightly later, she would’ve mentioned it in-text. It’s also own voices for the author herself who is on the spectrum.

      And thank you for the recommendation of Quicksilver! I’ll add that when I can ❤

      Like

      1. If you do take a look, I would love it if you’d let me know whether you think it’s actual rep or not? I have a feeling it might’ve been just someone interpreting the protagonist as on the spectrum.

        Like

  2. huh, I’ve been looking forward to The Princess and the Fangirl forever, but had no idea it had an ace character in it. I kinda want to research more to find out, buuut maybe I’ll wait and be surprised.

    I DNF’d Brightly Burning, again, had no idea there was an ace character in that. I need to find out more, although I don’t think I can get back into that, lol.

    Dare Mighty Things is my personal favorite, it’s definitely my top 5 YA books, not just for the ace protagonist, but everything about it is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I knew it was f/f but I didn’t know it had ace rep? I’m reading it soon so I’ll be able to verify/have a look for myself, but it was on an aro/ace list online 🤔

      And also, same! It also doesn’t seem like the kind of thing to have ace rep, so frankly I’m treating it with caution & I’m going to do a little more research when I have time and I may later remove it if there’s not enough material to confirm that it is/isn’t. It might just be that someone interpreted a background character as ace.

      And yesss! I’m so excited to read that one, personally ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t wait for you to read Dare Mighty Things, it needs more love! my precious underrated fave ❤

        I just finished Once & Future and technically there is an ace character, but it's not stated til basically the end of the book and they're a very minor character, so I'm not sure about it being on the list? if any rep no matter how minor is fine, then all good, but just don't want people to go in expecting too much.

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      2. Oh woohoo! If you really love it that much, I must ❤

        And yeah I know exactly what you mean; I've read it too and admit the rep isn't that evident. At the moment, this list is comprised of books that feature a-spec characters regardless of whether they're protagonists or secondary characters, as I wanted to have a wide range and include books people were likely to have heard of/had on their TBRs, which is why I kept Once & Future. (I also found that if I narrowed it down solely to a-spec protagonists, the list was sadly really short and full of niche stuff that I feared wouldn't catch the interest of those who wanted to stick to well-known titles they'd already heard of?) I do however want to develop on this list when I have time and clarify where the representation is in each book, and also make one separate list exclusively for books led by a-spec characters!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. absolutely not! Your expertise knowledge is ALWAYS appreciated ❤️ And you know what – I thought so too? But I saw it on an a-spec list online, which is interesting. I’m reading it very very soon though so I’m going to do a personal check but I have a feeling we’re right and there isn’t one and someone’s just interpreted a background character in a certain way.

      Like

    2. (Okay small update, but I just thought it worthwhile to say I’m reading it through at the mo and I’m like 95% sure that Jess is demisexual? It’s never on-page explicit but there are a few paragraphs at page 194 that seem to indicate it)

      Like

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