To celebrate #aromanticawarenessweek, we asked our contributors (some of whom chose to remain anonymous) to recommend their favorite books with aromantic characters (some explicit, some implied).
Here are our 8 favorites!
Loveless by Alice Oseman
This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends.
Commit to the Kick by Tris Lawrence
For eighteen years, Alaric has lived under the cloying politics of family and his Clan community. His freshman year is supposed to be a chance to explore a world where Clan and his shapeshifting Talent isn’t central to his life. But when his inner bear bursts forth during his first football game, endangering those around him, Alaric realizes that it’s not so easy to ignore his past, or his own internalized anger.
In his quest for anger management, Alaric begins to train in taekwondo, and makes new friends in both sports. He finds that he is creating his own small community, where Clan, Mages, other Talents, and even humans come together and build their own found family.
When Alaric receives news that something has happened to his brother Orson, he must return and deal with his Clan and his place in their world. He discovers that old prejudices are still strong between Clan and Mage communities, but that both may be in danger from a creature long thought to be only a legend. Alaric must figure out how to move forward and prevent a war and protect both his home and newly built communities, his found family with him every step of the way.
The Graverobbers’ Chronicles by Xu Lei
Uncle Three loves good food, good booze, good card games, and bad women–and he’s never found a grave he wouldn’t rob. He can’t help it – it’s in his blood – grave robbing has been the family business for centuries. So when his bookseller nephew comes to him with a map to an ancient tomb, Uncle Three sets off to find it, in the company of some grave-robbing colleagues, his nerdy nephew, and a strange poker-faced guy that nobody can quite figure out. Uncle Three knows that the grave he seeks will lead him and his companions to “another kind of world,” but not even he could ever imagine what they are about to find. Lost in a labyrinthine cavern that is full of dead bodies, Uncle Three and his comrades fight for their lives as they come up against vampires, corpse-eating bugs, and blood zombies.
The Devil’s Luck by L. S. Baird
Years ago, a foolish wastrel once played a hand of cards with the devil… and lost. Now Frey has inherited his uncle’s double curse: the Devil’s claim written on his body in crimson letters, and the impossibly good luck that comes with it. Death is Frey’s only escape from his destiny, but not even Etienne, an expert assassin from the Order of the Crimson Seal, can defeat Frey’s luck alone. And when Etienne finds himself growing too fond of his victim, he doesn’t know if Frey’s good nature or the luck is to blame. However, Etienne will give his all to preventing the Archdemon’s return, even if his all includes wearing a corset, and killing a friend.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
In Good Company by Nicola Kapron
Haruki no longer remembered what had been going through his head the first time he’d killed. All he recalled was the sight of those he’d once loved with all the helpless force of a scared, scarred child covered in red and utterly still. He hadn’t felt grief or triumph when he realized they weren’t struggling anymore. He’d just felt—
Better to be hollow than to despair.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions–much good it did me.
So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on legends of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.
Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.
But as the evil from her childhood tales threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak–and what legacy she intends to leave behind.
Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
New Liberty City, 2134.
Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side.
Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame, SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal–looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.
Recommendations contributed by Nina Waters, softestpunk, Adrian Harley, and others.
Also: did you know? Duck Prints Press’s owner, Nina Waters, is aro! We’re an aro-owned company!
Who we are: Duck Prints Press LLC is an independent publisher based in New York State. Our founding vision is to help fanfiction authors navigate the complex process of bringing their original works from first draft to print, culminating in publishing their work under our imprint. We are particularly dedicated to working with queer authors and publishing stories featuring characters from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Love what we do? Want to make sure you don’t miss the announcement for future giveaways? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get previews, behind-the-scenes information, coupons, and more! Want to support the Press, read about us behind-the-scenes, learn about what’s coming down the pipeline, get exclusive teasers, and claim free stories? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi monthly!