14 Feb 2017

#Discussion: 5 Books with Asexual Characters + #INTERVIEW with Kathryn Ormsbee

Today I'm talking about five books with asexual representation that I think you should read. There's a reason this is done on Valentine's Day, corporate America's "EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP AND HAVING BABIES." In fact, IKEA even gives you a discount on baby cribs if you have a baby within 9 months of Valentine's Day. So I think it is important to highlight the asexual spectrum on this day that celebrates basically everyone else. Some of these books are already out and some are forthcoming, but all have been vetted by those who identify as asexual.

Keep scrolling to learn about these books and see an interview with Kathryn Ormsbee, whose book TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY has an asexual main character!


Author: Alice Oseman
Series: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 28, 2017

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


Author: Riley Redgate
Series: N/A
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.


Author: Laura Nowlin
Series: N/A
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Bandmate, best friend or boyfriend? For Ramona, one choice could mean losing them all. 

Ramona and Sam are best friends. She fell for him the moment they met, but their friendship is just too important for her to mess up. Sam loves April, but he would never expect her to feel the same way--she's too quirky and cool for someone like him. Together, they have a band, and put all of their feelings for each other into music.

Then Ramona and Sam meet Tom. He's their band's missing piece, and before Ramona knows it, she's falling for him. But she hasn't fallen out of love with Sam either.

How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?


Author: Lyssa Chiavari
Series: The Iamos Trilogy #1
Publisher: Snowy Wings
Publication Date: December 29, 2015

IAMOS, S.C.D. 8378
Nadin's planet is dying. As its atmosphere drains away, her people are forced to live huddled in domed cities for protection. With only enough resources to support the population for one more year, time is running out. Nadin thinks she's found a way to save Iamos, but it will mean defying the planet's rulers, the geroi—and betraying the geroi could cost her everything.

When a strange boy from another world appears out of nowhere outside the citidome's glass walls, Nadin knows for sure that her plan will work. But to build the device that can save her people, Nadin must first find the legendary city of Elytherios. And to do that, she'll need the help of the mysterious alien boy named Isaak.

MARS, 2073 C.E.
All Isaak wanted was to get through his senior year at the Academy in one piece. Everything would have been fine if he hadn't found that ancient coin among his missing father's possessions. The coin seems to have a strange connection not only to Isaak's family, but to Mars' ancient past.

But how is that possible, on a planet that was supposed to be dead until just forty years ago?

Now Isaak's got agents of the Earth's government on his tail and a deranged factory worker stalking his every move. Everyone is desperate to get their hands on something called the Key. And the only way to escape is to unlock an even bigger secret, one that could change his life—and the fate of Mars—forever.


Author: Kathryn Ormsbee
Series: N/A
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?
I also have the wonderful Patty Blount here for an interview so you can learn more about the book I am reading this week!

Describe TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY in 10 words or less.

Kathryn OrmsbeeBudding filmmaker loves Tolstoy, explores identity, goes viral. 

How long does it take you to write first drafts?

Kathryn OrmsbeeIt depends on the book! Some first drafts have taken me over a year, others a few months. Tash Hearts Tolstoy was by far my shortest drafting period—about ten weeks total. I will say, talking first drafts is a bit deceptive, because my books really come together through revisions, and those take about a year.

What was the hardest scene for you to write in your novel?

Kathryn OrmsbeeHonestly, the everyday life scenes were hardest for me. I love writing dialogue and emotion-packed passages, so I looked forward to writing the heaviest emotional peaks and dips of the book. But those “in-between” scenes are just as important, because they develop personalities and relationship dynamics and subplots. It takes me a while to balance necessary plot movement with the reality and fun of a scene.

How does ANNA KARENINA play a role in the novel? Why does Tash choose this to create her YouTube serialized show?

Kathryn OrmsbeeAs the book’s title not-so-subtly suggests, Tash hearts Tolstoy to pieces; he’s her literary love. She gets bored in her high school English class and decides to pick up some classics to read on her own. One of those classics is Anna Karenina. As Tash puts it, it’s “love at first line.” This part is a little autobiographical, because I picked up Anna Karenina on my own in high school and really fell in love with the story. I just wasn’t quite as obsessed with it as Tash is. 

Tash wants to one day be a professional filmmaker, so she and her best friend Jack hatch a plan to produce an Anna Karenina-inspired web series. This bit was inspired in part by The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and the slew of classics-inspired web series adaptations that followed. I personally would still LOVE to see a modern Anna Karenina web series adaptation, however ambitious an undertaking it might be.

What was the most rewarding part about writing a novel with an asexual main character?

Kathryn OrmsbeeOh gosh, there’s so much I could say here. While I don’t ID exactly like Tash, I wrote her story to be the book I really could have used in high school. Mainstream entertainment is pretty sex-saturated, and while I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, it can be an alienating experience for someone who isn’t very sexually motivated, or doesn’t experience sexual attraction at all. 

I loved having the freedom to delve into frank discussions of asexuality on the page, and I was lucky to have a supportive agent and editor for this project. The writing process itself was great, but the most rewarding part of publishing Tash so far has been the revisions. I’ve learned so much and had so many great conversations with my sensitivity and beta readers who ID as ace. There is a ton of wisdom and acceptance and understanding in the ace community, and I’m grateful to have experienced that throughout Tash’s publication. 

What do you hope readers take away from TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY?

Kathryn Ormsbee Every reader’s experience with a book is (and should be!) different, but I’d love for readers to take away encouragement for their own creative projects. More than anything, I hope many readers can see their personal experience reflected on the page, through Tash, and gain assurance and confidence from her story. I stick to that old quote “we read to know we’re not alone.” There’s nothing so empowering as thinking you’re alone for so long, only to find yourself and your feelings in a fictional character. I really hope there are some readers who can experience that with Tash. 
Kathryn Ormsbee writes books & songs in Nashville, TN. Her debut YA, LUCKY FEW, published June 2016 with Simon & Schuster. Her next YA, TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY, comes out June 6, 2017.
Kathryn also writes Middle Grade fantasy novels as K.E. Ormsbee. She is the author of THE WATER AND THE WILD series and the upcoming standalone THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD (Chronicle Books, 2018).

In her wild, early years, Kathryn taught English as a Foreign Language, interned with a film society, and did a lot of irresponsible road tripping. Nowadays, she teaches piano lessons, records a weekly true crime podcast with her sister, and runs races she never wins. She likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. She is from the 90s.

Connect with the Author:

What are your favourite books with asexual representation?


  1. I actually haven't read any books with ace rep yet, but I'm excited to read Tash Hearts Tolstoy and Radio Silence :) I'm aromantic and ace, and this post means so much to me today. Thank you :)

    My blog is www.thesebookishadventures.wordpress.com

  2. I've added a bunch of these to my GR and will totally check them out once they release!

  3. Radio Silence is amazing. I love it. Can't wait to read Tash Hearts Tolstoy!

  4. Excellent post...I don't know much about the ace community so I would love to read Tosh and understand a little more about it.
    Your friend TeacherofYA


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