A year after an accident killed her father and put her brother Reeves into a coma, Victoria has a audition at an esteemed New York college for her ballet. Nights before she’s due to go, a mythical person named Ashlinn enters her dreams to give her a message from her brother.
Why this book?: We Awaken is well known for it’s flawless representation of a F/F, asexual romance.
The idea behind We Awaken is probably one of my favorites. A ballerina unsure of her sexuality, and a comatose brother that still haunts her. That’s what this book was promoted as, and that’s what I wanted. But obviously Lynne didn’t see this book as that. I can’t know what Lynne wanted this book to be, but it almost felt like she wanted both the ballerina story and the coming-of-age story to be one, but couldn’t exactly find the right way to mesh them perfectly together.
While that really dragged the story, what was worse that I really didn’t connect with the characters. Ellie wasn’t really given that good of an introduction, and Victoria never really warmed up to me. In fact, she just felt like any standard “girl”, with the added benefit that she realizes she’s asexual. I have conflicting feelings about Ashlinn, mainly because she almost seems like two people. The “sandman” aspect felt too underdeveloped and odd, while the human part just felt like another Victoria.
Probably the best part of this book was the representation. Two asexual girls in a F/F romance. Better yet, Ashlinn is described with dark skin. I loved that there was all this diversity within this extremely short novel, and that makes this an important novel. You can also tell how heartfelt the inclusion was, because so much detail was put into it. There was so much information in the book, with clear, concise wording when explaining asexuality was.
Going into the writing, I find it hard to describe. At some points it’s beautifully filled with figurative language that was simple and elegant. At other times it was simple and almost read like a middle grade novel instead of YA. Unfortunately, at times it also went too into depth about certain things that weren’t at all interesting, so I ended up dreading picking up the book again because the scene was at an odd place or uncomfortable situation.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
Despite this sincerely included diversity, I couldn’t help but notice everything that irked me. I didn’t connect with the characters, as I stated before, and the plot just seemed undecided. While the writing was beautiful at some points, it seemed to vary as well, which only made my feelings for this novel more confused.
Would I Recommend?
This is probably the only book I’ve heard of that deals with asexuality by name. So, yes. Read this novel. The writing/plotting/characters may not be the best, but obvious care went into We Awaken to make sure that asexuality was understood in simple terms.
Published: July 14th, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Page Count: 180
Synopsis: via Goodreads
One year ago a car accident killed Victoria Dinham s father, and now all that keeps her going is the hope of getting into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. That is, until an ethereal girl named Ashlinn visits her in her sleep claiming to be the creator of good dreams and carrying a message from her comatose brother. They meet in Victoria s subconscious, and over time they come to care for each other. Ashlinn is secure in her asexuality, but Victoria has never heard of it. Soon, however, she realizes she too must be asexual.
On the day of Victoria s big dance audition, her mother is unable to drive her to town so Ashlinn must turn human to help Victoria chase her dreams. While in New York City, Victoria and Ashlinn explore their affections for each other and try to understand what it means to be asexual teenagers. Unfortunately for the couple, Ashlinn cannot stay human forever, and humanity begins to suffer from not having her around to create pleasant fantasies each night.