I had meant to have this this piece up waaaaay earlier. Like, sometime in 2017.
I first read Tash Hearts Tolstoy last August. The book is, to my knowledge, the first YA novel published by Big Five imprint to feature an explicitly asexual protagonist. As an ace-spectrum/gray-ace person, I was curious to see how Tash’s asexuality would be portrayed, especially since the last book I read with an ace protagonist, Every Heart a Doorway, had people praising it ad infinitum for its representation of asexuality when, in reality, it sucked.
(Side note: I have no clue whether Tash Hearts Tolstoy is #ownvoices. I also don’t care that much whether it is or not, because Every Heart a Doorway was #ownvoices, and, well, see above. )
A quick summary: Tash is an aspiring film director who, along with her best friend Jack, is producing a web series adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina titled Unhappy Families, which has just gone viral thanks to a famous vlogger giving it a shout-out. Tash has also struck up an online friendship with Thom, a fellow vlogger, and soon they’re emailing and texting and bantering and flirting. Tash has the opportunity to meet him in person, thanks to the upcoming Golden Tuba web series awards, but now she’s facing the prospect of spending time with her crush in meatspace and feeling the pressure of whether to tell Thom she’s asexual.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy is an entertaining read overall. I especially enjoyed all the parts involving Unhappy Families and interfacing with fans and the Internet as content creators. My conclusion regarding the portrayal of Tash’s asexuality is that the book did a lot of things right, a couple things not right, and one thing that really ticked me off. The full breakdown of my thoughts is as follows: Continue reading