I’m so excited to kick off pride month with an aro ace debut author’s cover reveal! Other People’s Butterflies is a story about Gwen, and her (mis)adventures before learning she’s aro ace. I deeply wish I had this book in high school. But so happy I can be a part of hyping it now. This cover is so sharp and bright.
Gwen Foster has never been kissed. But when she gets the chance to finally see what all the hype is about, it’s with her best friend’s crush. Embroiled in relationship drama she doesn’t understand, and ostracized from her friend group, Gwen escapes the angst by using her favorite femme fatale as a role model… and makes snooping on her classmates her new pastime.
Gwen’s detective work appears to be going well, until an unknown social media account starts spilling all the scandalous personal details she’s uncovered. Now this wannabe spy must stop whoever is behind it before everyone’s dirty laundry is aired, and Gwen is forced to finish high school without any friends.
Other People’s Butterflies is a coming-of-age contemporary mystery about not needing to find your first love – but yourself – and how to mend the relationships that matter to you.
Greeting Friends! I wanted to make a post with all the discussion questions and a sample schedule so anyone can start reading whenever they were able. For February, Amy featured Our Bloody Pearl. So brew up some coffee and let’s dive in!
The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear. — That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs. [Full Blurb]
If you want to participate, we’ll be reading the following each week:
One: Chapters 1-3
Two: Chapters 4-8
Three: Chapters 9-12
Four: Chapters 13-16
Use #GreatAceClub for updates and to see what other people are saying about Our Bloody Pearl. Add your own thoughts any time, about this book, other features, or books you’d like to see featured next.
Our Bloody Pearl Discussion Questions
Week One Questions:
Have you ever read other books about sirens or mermaids? What sorts of background understanding are you bringing to Our Bloody Pearl?
Siren songs are usually about wanting, luring people to the depths with longing. Often in popular culture, the songs have a sexual nature. What other types of longing do you think could lead people into the sea?
How does Perle match up to what you believe about sirens?
There is definitely a power dynamic at play; while Dejean doesn’t want to hurt Perle, he still has power over them. How do you see that power dynamic at play? Do you think he is actually kind or just wants to be? Can a person who inflicts violence to get what they want inherently be a good person? What about a person who keeps another hostage?
How does the sirens’ song and behavior match up with your background thoughts?
Perle says the sea rejects them; why do you think this is so? Do you think Perle is right, that they are rejected, or that Kian did something to them?
The conflict between humans and sirens seems to be at least partially due to a miscommunication. Do you think that the two can reconcile that?
What have you enjoyed the most about these opening chapters?
How do you feel about the representation in the book so far?
Week Two Questions
With the book being first person, we get to be a part of Perle’s thoughts and feelings about the tank that Dejean built for them; How do you think Dejean feels about it? Do you think he feels like he is helping Perle? Does Perle feel helped? How is this a microview into the larger miscommunication between humans and sirens?
What do you think Dejean dreams about?
How did what Kian do to Perle affect them? Is it a physical issue, as in Kian physically did something to Perle to make them not able to function as a siren should, or a mental issue, reacting to the physical and mental abuse? Do you believe it is something Perle can get over on their own or will they eventually need Dejean’s help to confront Kian? Why do you think that?
What can you tell about Murielle and Simone’s relationship based on her interaction with Perle? If you develop any headcanons, please share them!
Murielle and Dejean’s offer to help Perle with their tail brings to question how Sirens handle injuries in their own societies. In what ways are Perle’s reactions an indication of their experience with other injuries like theirs? How do you imagine Sirens handle their brethren becoming disabled or being born with a disability? In what ways could you imagine Sirens creating assistive devices to swim for Sirens who are injured?
Do you relate to Perle and Dejean’s discussion about gender and pronouns? How did Bryn pull from our world to describe Sirens’ genders?
In what ways are Perle and Dejean saving each other?
Is what happened to Storm justified? What does this mean for Perle?
Do you have any predictions about what will happen with Kian? Perle and Dejean think that the blocker she developed could die with her, do you agree?
What other predictions do you have?
Week Three Questions
How has being around humans changed Perle? How might cooperating change all the sirens? Would those changes be for the better or worse, in your opinion?
Perle talks about wanting to change the system rather than changing the individual. In what ways is this reflective of our society as a whole? What would you want to change about society?
Are the other human’s reactions to Perle justified or no? Why?
Sirens, specifically Perle, have their own ways of showing love, which Perle is learning to meld with the humans in their pod. In what ways does Perle show Dejean, Murielle, and Simone love? How do they show love in return?
Bryn makes a point of showing various sides of humanity; how do you feel about these depictions? What does the humans’ reaction to Storm and Perle say about humans in general? What about Dejean’s reaction?
How are Kian’s blockers worsening the relationship between the sirens and humans? If another human had made that discovery, do you think that the outcome would be any different?
How can Dejean and Perle fix the damage done by Kian? Do you think they can heal the rift between sirens and humans?
Do you have any predictions about the final week of reading?
Week Four Questions
How would you describe Perle at this point in the book? Stubborn, loving, willing to learn? How is that different from the beginning of the book?
How does Perle’s growth help them fight Kian?
Do you think Kian is a good villain? What makes her a good villain or a bad villain?
Do you feel Perle offering the choice was the right thing to do? Is it possible for monsters to change?
Now that we’ve finished the book, what are your thoughts and feelings about the representation? What might you want to see expanded on in any future books?
Our Bloody Pearl deals a lot with themes of change, forgiveness, and what makes a monster. How did you see each of the characters grow and change? How did forgiveness, or lack thereof, play into their characters?
What makes a monster? Are humans inherently monstrous? Are sirens? Is it possible for a perceived monster to be anything else?
Share any and all feelings you have about all things Our Bloody Pearl!
Be sure you tell us your thoughts and consider leaving review, especially if you liked this book! It helps authors and readers and only takes a minute or two. And PS GreatAce.Club’s next feature will be announced soon!
Words like “aspec” and “allosexual” were born or popularized on tumblr from disabled activists speaking up. The phrase “A is for Asexual, Aromantic and Agender” were not common until “a bunch of tumblr aces” told GLAAD that one of their campaigns would harm our communities. GLAAD agreed.
Big 5 ace books used to be from a very allo pov. Written about how aces were weird to be with. But tumblr bloggers keep collecting our history. And books over the next years turned into ace written stories. Even two of these new novels mentioned what it felt like to first see themselves via a tumblr post. There’s been a literal explosion of asexuals canonically in fiction around this time as well.
What caused the erasure of Tumblr Aces?
After the community stopped out from AVEN’s forums to more shared spaces we gained a visibility that was consolidated before. Tumblr allowed aces to be in spaces shared by everyone, instead of their own niche spaces online.
“Mirco-labels” are a common tumblr thing. Because they were labeled as such as a push back against those communities were gathered socially and publicly on tumblr. The queer theory written about them furthered that lexicon both on and off tumblr.
What community popularized allosexual? Tumblr aces. I was actively there for, and debated on which label should be use and why and what all the nuance of that specific choice and others should mean.
What community re-popularized the split attraction model and saved the gay history behind it? Tumblr aces. It allowed for an more open and sure complex discussion on how we are the same and how we are different but how we are still one with not only ourselves but the wider queer community.
“Ace-spec” and “A-spec” were also coined by fyeah mods because it was a reaction making sure the whole of the community feels seen.
The aphobic push back spread just as far as people using the term.
“Inclusionist” started to be used specifically to allow aces and any one else others targeted by Trans Exclusionary Radical Fems. In 2018 if someone said “They are an exclusionist” probably mean they are an acephobic. In 2020, they may use it more widely, but its use is still heavily a-spec leaning. It was indeed the opposite of the E from TERF. Because it phrasing was popularized by trans aces.
Making fun and shunning tumblr has always been about attacking the ones most vulnerable in a fight about respectability politics. “Those non-binary colored hair queers with micro-labels.”
So my question about even the phrasing of “tumblr aces” or “tumblr queers” as an insult is this: Do we want to be a community that fights oppression wherever we see it. Or do we want to remake Mean Girls one tweet or post about superiority over those who debate and advocate? What happens when people on tumblr even start saying “Oh those parts of ace tumblr” vaguely without context what is actually being discussed?
There’s no citizenship under a platform. The fact that tumblr is supposedly full of “cringe kweers” is and always was ableism mixing with racism and transphobia to create new brand acephobia that eats at ace history and those who laid the bedwork of everything that is commonly found across all ace spaces.
Tumblr’s power, and fyeah’s contributions, and the contributions of all “tumblr aces” is the same that was AVEN’s before they came so allo facing. It’s decentralized, allows for anonymity to safely join, no one’s opinion was inherently worth more simply because they aren’t public facing or a “celebrity”.