What it SeemsWhat it Seems by Sydney Blackburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore this story with every fiber of my being. Darcy is asexual and Michael is straight; at least, he claims to be. Michael becomes infatuated with Darcy and can’t get Darcy out of his head. The kicker is, Darcy is a guy but Michael thinks he’s a girl. Fate intervenes and they run into each other a year after Michael’s first spotting of Darcy. Michael makes his moves and discovers Darcy isn’t the woman Michael thought Darcy was. Throughout most of the story, Michael maintains his “straightness” even while he is drawn to Darcy. Darcy, meanwhile, has never been interested in anyone, male or female or in between.

They continue hanging out (dating, really, but neither is aware of it) and feelings develop on both ends. The author handles Darcy’s confusion and development of feelings for Michael in such a relatable way as a fellow ace.

I love how Michael, even when he staunchly maintains that he’s straight, just kinda accepts that he has romantic and sexual feelings for Darcy. And he never pressures Darcy, letting Darcy set the limits and boundaries.

“I love sex, I really do, but if I have to choose between it and you, I pick you.”

The characters’ internal discussions and conversations together are informative to readers who may not know or understand asexuality. Asexuality is a spectrum, and people who identify as ace have different experiences and may not completely relate to this author’s storytelling via Darcy. I, however, think the author did a bang up job creating an ace character and a non-ace love interest.

One of my favorite passages from the book that accurately describes sexual versus love/affection:

“‘Isn’t kissing sexual, though?’

‘Is it?’

Michael had always thought that love and sex were intertwined, in spite of the fact that he’d had many sexual relationships but very few girlfriends. Sex without love was one thing, but love without sex? If one was possible, the other had to be too.”

*****

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