Learning Curves – a queer romance exploring asexuality and ADHD
This is a slow and sweet self-published novel that depicts a growing relationship between Elena and Cora, two college students who are accidentally thrown together when Cora needs to move her seat in class. This is because a distracting classmate is making her focus on his singing rather than the teacher, due to her ADHD.
What I loved most about this book is that it softly educates the reader about different marginalisations, particularly asexuality and ADHD. However, Ceillie does this without depicting homophobic or bigoted comments or actions, which I really appreciated. For example:
“…it’s unfortunately common for ace, aro, bi and trans folks to be shut out of their own communities because we weren’t the “right” kind of queer,” Cora said sadly.
Cora and Elena then go on to have a discussion about Cora’s asexuality, and whether that means she is sex repulsed. Cora explains that she’s sex indifferent, and that asexuality often means different things to different people.
There’s a level of communication between the two women that I thought was really valuable to represent. And even when one does wrong by the other, they actually talk about how they’re feeling, and apologise. As romance is a genre that often uses miscommunication to further the plot, I really enjoyed that this trope was subverted here.
The book is only 96 pages, and I would have liked a little bit more of their romance, mainly because it was so sweet! And, like many self-published books, I feel that it could have been edited a little more. However, Learning Curves is so soft and delightful, I honestly didn’t mind that at all.
I would definitely recommend this short and sweet novel to anyone looking for asexual and ADHD representation in particular.
Ceillie has also written two Learning Curves holiday-themed sequels – The Ghosts of Halloween, a short story collection, and Wrapped Up In You, a Christmas novella), as well as a more fantastical novel, An Unexpected Invitation.
Trigger warnings: depiction of anxiety/panic, outing of Cora as having ADHD without her consent (discussed).
About the author
Ceillie Simkiss is a queer and neurodivergent author and freelance writer based in southern Virginia. She has bylines in the Danville Register & Bee, Culturess and Global Comment. She blogs regularly on CandidCeillie.com and is the owner and editor of LetsFoxAboutIt.com.
She loves nothing more than curling up in bed with a book and her many furry creatures, but playing silly video games is a close second, even though she’s terrible at them. It is easiest to reach her on Twitter. She would love to hear from you!