How to Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess – Book Review

October 14, 2020 in Book Reviews
AD – I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. For more information, please read my Disclosure.


With Ace Week just around the corner, it’s time to talk asexuality. As you may already know, I identify as ace. And although, in hindsight, it’s been a part of my identity all my life, it’s something I’m still coming to terms with. So when this book popped up on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity to request it. And without further ado, here’s my review of How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess.

Many thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

How to Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess

How to Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess - Book Review

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Date of Publication: 21st October 2020
Genre: Graphic Novel/Non-Fiction (Memoir)
Format: eBook (184 pages)
Rating: ★★★★

Content & Trigger Warnings:

References to rape and sexual assault, harassment, death threats, aphobia, OCD, anxiety, panic attacks


Summary

In this graphic memoir aimed at teens, we learn about asexuality and mental health as told through Rebecca’s personal experiences.


My Review

We all want to see more of ourselves reflected in books, right? Well, this was that book for me. As an ace with anxiety and endometriosis, I’ve never seen so much of myself reflected in one book. And since it’s own voices representation, I can live knowing that someone out there understands. That’s kind of wonderful, you know?

Additionally, How to Be Ace is relatable, enjoyable, supportive and educational. It’s also incredibly inclusive! The author makes it explicitly clear that asexuality is a spectrum – not a one-size-fits-all. And within that, there’s a clear message that all ace identities are equally valid.

I also loved how relatable this was. From the amplification of sexuality at university to the raging aphobia that exists in our very sexual society, it’s all covered here. For example, it was refreshing to see the inclusion of the resistance that aces experience. It’s that little reminder that you aren’t alone and that you aren’t the problem. I thought this was handled very sensitively in that respect.

Personally, I wish this book existed in my late teens. It would have made the next decade of my life so much easier to navigate. It’s not preachy at all – just personal, relatable and supportive. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who thinks they might be on the asexual spectrum. There’s even a list of helpful resources at the end which is great. 

Highlights

  • Own voices representation for asexuality, OCD, anxiety
  • List of resources
  • Not overly educational
  • Relatable

Read this if you…

  • Are ace or think you might be on the asexual spectrum
  • Want to educate yourself on what asexuality is

So that’s my review of How to Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it! Please do pick up a copy if this has piqued your interest and let me know what you think if you do.

For more information on asexuality and support if you’re ace, check out the following online resources:

Let’s Connect!

18 Comments

  • Kelly Diane October 14, 2020 at 11:14 am

    This is such a great review. I love books that you can relate to on a personal level.

    • Hayley October 14, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Kelly Diane! 🙂

  • Jodie | That Happy Reader October 14, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    How refreshing it is to see books representing own voices! I appreciate the candidness of your review and I hope that we will continue to see more of these books, especially those targeted for the teen years.

    • Hayley October 14, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks Jodie! I completely agree with you. The way I see it is that if understanding is the first step towards acceptance then the more books like this that exist, the better. It could help a lot of teens come to accept their own identities. 🙂

  • Cassandra October 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Great review! I will keep my eye out for this book.

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Cassandra! 🙂

  • Ellie-M October 14, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing your review Hayley. My sister also identifies as Ace so I’ve sent her a link to your review. She’s also a bookworm and always looking for recommendations!
    Its so good to see more support becoming available for teens especially.

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Ellie! I hope she finds it as helpful and encouraging as I did. 🙂

  • Lindsey October 14, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    What a fantastic review. It’s always so powerful when you find a book that really speaks to you, isn’t it? This sounds incredible, thanks for sharing.

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Lindsey, it definitely is a wonderful experience! 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Bookfever October 14, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Amazing review, Hayley! I’m so glad you got to see yourself in a book. That’s so great and sounds like the rep is fantastic.

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Stephanie! The rep really was amazing! 🙂

  • Jaya Avendel October 14, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    I love books that help us reconnect with our younger selves or help us see our childhoods in new light. It is beautiful that authors are writing about topics that we may not have had access to in our childhoods.

    Hopefully, books like this will help struggling teens or people who just want to see their community reflected in writing!

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Completely agree, Jaya! It’s definitely great for teens but also a delight to read as an older ace. 🙂

  • Lucy October 14, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    I loved reading your review of this book Hayley, this does definitely sound like an interesting book to read which is clearly highlighting a lot of topics and issues we see in everyday life!

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Lucy! 🙂

  • Sarah October 14, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your review. I am glad to hear that you found this book relatable and that it did such a good job of representing ace people. Since I don’t know a lot about being ace and other lgbt+ struggles, I will be sure to check this one out once it’s released.

    • Hayley October 16, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Thanks Sarah, hope you find it helpful! 🙂

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    I'm Hayley - a 30 year old book blogger from the UK. Also: chronic overthinker, introvert, homebody and mum.

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