An Ace Love Story? Reviewing "Perfect Rhythm" by Jae

"Perfect Rhythm" was the last book from my book mail with books containing asexual characters that I bought in September. Even though, I hope it is not going to be the last.

This novel follows a rather simple plot: Leo is an international superstar but when she hears that her estranged father had a stroke and returns to Fair Oaks. Their relationship is strained and Leo's memories of Fair Oaks are mostly bad, she is also not willing to return to her stressful and draining pop star life. Instead, she finds herself falling in love with the home nurse: Holly.

Perfect Rhythm by Jae
Story wise, the plot follows the classic trope of "the girl next door." Holly is the cute girl next door while Leo is the superstar returning back home. There she finds herself again and in doing so, learns to appreciate the town, her life and conveniently falls in love with a cute woman as well.



The love story is not rushed. The built up left nice and even natural. It was believable and started as tentative, until a cold war pact seemed to be established and then slowly trust and friendship is built. At least, until this turns into more. Throughout the story, the trust between Holly and Leo is almost never shattered and even in a time of crisis, they leave their relationship issues aside to be there for one another. Thus, building a strong relationship that naturally develops over the course of the book.

However, you can tell where the story is going next. When Leo and her father had a heart to heart, I already guessed what was going to happen next. And I had been correct. The same can be said for the ending, which was rather fairy tale like: in the end everything magically works out, and not only all right or well but amazingly good. Since this is a feel good novel, one can let it pass.

The reason why I picked up "Perfect Rhythm" was not for the mushy feelings of women love women but because of the asexual character: Holly.

Jae was motivated to write such a story because there was no love story between a lesbian and an asexual woman available. Even to this day, the range is small. She even added a disclaimer that the asexual community is varied, and Holly is only one small part of it.

With that being said, the story provides a good and positive portray of asexuality. It is mostly aimed at someone who only has a vague idea what this is about, and the reader learns everything about it alongside Leo. Meanwhile, Leo gets everything explained from the source: Holly. This clearly makes her experience into a personal one and, unlike in "Let's Talk About Love", Holly is not contradictory and very confident in her sexuality.

From the books I read so far, Holly seems to be the best asexual character. She is not the "only" asexual in the area and is actively shown to interact with the community. She even has close friends who are asexual. Furthermore, her "learning about asexuality" is the most realistic: she read it on the internet and then found a home on tumblr as well as AVEN.

While her asexuality is part of the plot and needs to be navigated and worked into the romance, Jae handled it delicately and sensibly. She did not only write about Holly The Asexual, instead Holly also compared her experiences with others, giving a wider picture.

However, what had not sat well with me was the explicit sex scene. While there is a disclaimer before the chapter and you can easily skip it, I simply could not shake the sour taste. The whole book, it had been talked about how Leo was going to be fine with not sleeping with Leo. The relationship was well established and all was good, and suddenly BAM let's have sex. It had a wiff - even if faint but still a wiff - of "if you just wait patiently, you can even shag the asexual." In fact, I would have preferred to leave this part of the relationship open to interpretation, if Jae thought it so necessary to include something along those lines.

This is also the reason, why I am deducting a flower from the otherwise full score that "Perfect Rhythm" would have gotten. In the end, it is a lovely romance novel that deals with the topic of asexuality very gently and well. At the same time, the relationship develops naturally and it is a cosy read for an afternoon.




Perfect Rhythm edited by Jae
Published2017by Ylva Publishing
Pages:320
ISBN13:978-3955338626
Goodreads:Add to shelf


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*please, mind the pun in the title

13 comments :

  1. Great review, not a book I've heard of before. Looks good.

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  2. I definitely want to read this. I need more asexual rep. Thank you for your honest review.

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    1. Finding more books with ace rep was also my goal. Hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. It's new to me!

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  4. Interesting, but not a book I would readily pick up.

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  5. Great honest review, I'm glad that overall you enjoyed reading this book. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

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  6. I am glad the topic of asexuality is becoming more openly discussed and accepted rather than considered an oddity

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  7. Love ace representation! My childhood best friend is ace and we are always happy to see it represented in media.

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    1. I am always here for some good ace representation. Say hi to your friend for me :)

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