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The Romantic Agenda
Cover of The Romantic Agenda
The Romantic Agenda
Borrow Borrow
One of...
NPR's Books to Celebrate Pride Month
Buzzfeed's Most Anticipated LGBTQ Reads of 2022
Goodreads' Most Anticipated April Romances
Betches' Books To Add To Your Spring 2022 Reading List

Joy is in love with Malcolm.
But Malcolm really likes Summer.
Summer is in love with love.
And Fox is Summer’s ex-boyfriend.
 
Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he's met the love of his life—and no, it's not Joy—she's heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.
 
Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?
One of...
NPR's Books to Celebrate Pride Month
Buzzfeed's Most Anticipated LGBTQ Reads of 2022
Goodreads' Most Anticipated April Romances
Betches' Books To Add To Your Spring 2022 Reading List

Joy is in love with Malcolm.
But Malcolm really likes Summer.
Summer is in love with love.
And Fox is Summer’s ex-boyfriend.
 
Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he's met the love of his life—and no, it's not Joy—she's heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.
 
Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    One

     

    Thursday

     

    Dreams are such strange things to have and to hold.

     

    They can be as big as wanting to be the next Naomi Campbell-the bougie-on-a-budget version. As outrageous as hoping to find true love in a seven-billion-person haystack. Or even as innocuous as hitting that fabled Inbox Zero before the end of the workday.

     

    Forty-seven emails to go.

     

    Joy doesn't know what happened. One second, she was wasting on-the-clock time by searching for and deleting junk email, and the next, she'd become intensely obsessed with seeing the number in the red notification bubble drop lower and lower and lower . . .

     

    Her intercom beeps, breaking her concentration. "Joy?"

     

    "This is, and you're bothering me," she answers playfully, holding the phone between her ear and shoulder to keep her hands free. Forty-three emails now.

     

    "It's Meg. Do you think you could come to my office for a second?" Her voice sounds too high and strained.

     

    Joy frowns, but says, "Be right there."

     

    Down the hall and five seconds away, Megan sits at her desk, face crumpled in despair as she stares at a pile of papers. Her office is a mirror image of Joy's-from the slate gray pair of chairs for guests to the corny-as-hell inspirational wall art. Most employees at Red Warren added personal touches to make the space theirs. Megan brought in her adorable cross-stitch creations, displaying them everywhere.

     

    Hanging on to the door jamb, Joy says, "You rang, my dear?"

     

    "I did." She looks up-her hazel eyes dominate her light brown face, with her patchy freckles coming in a close second. As if she isn't already cute enough, loose brunette curls cascade over her shoulders like a Rapunzel in training. "Is that a new outfit?"

     

    Joy twirls into the room, ending in a pose. "New-ish." She'd bought the chic olive green pantsuit-flared high-waisted slacks and sleek blazer, both tailored to perfection, and paired with a tasteful plaid crop top-a few months ago, but this is the first time she's wearing it to work.

     

    "Special occasion?"

     

    As far as Joy is concerned, fashion is life, but Megan clocked the situation correctly. Her hopes are sky-high for something about to go down, most likely in the next hour. It's why she abruptly decided to devote her immediate future to securing Inbox Zero.

     

    Approximately sometime around two hours, thirty-seven minutes, and twenty-four seconds ago, her focus had shattered from anticipation after her boss, Malcolm, sent a short email.

     

    He asked if she had plans for the holiday on Monday.

     

    He hinted about clearing everything from her calendar for Friday and the following Tuesday.

     

    He needed to talk to her about something important.

     

    "Hopefully?" Joy answers. It's a miracle her heart hadn't spontaneously combusted after she finished reading the email because her brain moved at the speed of light, jumping to the only possible conclusion: her time has finally come.

     

    A reluctant laugh bursts through Megan's stress. "Well, I'm rooting for you, whatever it is. Come look at this, please." She's holding a signed contract with some questionable language around distribution and follows it up with pictures of the product itself:a line of craft beers with an explicit NSFW label.

     

    "Huh." Joy's eyebrows are nearly at her hairline. The image is so realistic, she can't tell if the model's 3-D or not. If she's real, despite her...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 7, 2022
    Kann (The Marvelous) steps out of the YA sphere with this glamorous contemporary romance, featuring another unforgettable Black asexual protagonist. Joy loves fashion, puns, her cat, and most of all, Malcolm, her boss and best friend since college. She’s sure there will never be anyone else for her—but he has his eye on Summer, and has planned an elaborate weekend getaway to impress her. There’s only one problem: Summer is bringing along her friend, and ex-boyfriend, Fox, so Malcolm asks Joy to come along too, to meet Summer and to keep Fox company. Joy is crushed but finds an ally in Fox, who doesn’t think Summer and Malcolm should be together either, and agrees that he will help Joy show Malcolm what he’s missing. But as putting on a show with Fox turns into something deeper, Joy starts to see what she’s been missing as well. Joy’s relationship with Fox is (perhaps necessarily) less intense than her devotion to Malcolm, which somewhat dulls the happy ending, but it still leaves everyone moving toward better things. The heroine is, well, a joy, and Kann admirably portrays a distinctively asexual experience of attraction, dating, and romance on a deep level. This is a love story of a different and important type. Agent: Carrie Pestritto, Laura Dail Literary.

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2022

    In Kann's (Let's Talk About Love) adult debut, Joy has known and loved Malcolm since college, but they've never dated. Instead they have become inseparable best friends. They have such a close relationship that Malcolm's girlfriends often get jealous, so Joy is surprised when he asks her to come away on vacation with him; his new girlfriend, Summer; and Summer's friend Fox. Fox quickly surmises that Joy has feelings for Malcolm and confides that he doesn't think Malcolm is good enough for Summer. He proposes a fake relationship that will provoke Malcolm into breaking up with Summer and declaring his love for Joy. But as Joy lets down her guard and begins to trust Fox, she discovers that her heart might have enough room for more than one person. This well-written contemporary romance features a strong, likable heroine and an adorably grumpy hero. The story is told from Joy's point of view, and her anxiety and insecurities, her asexuality, and her dreams for the future provide believable motivations for her actions. VERDICT The novel has a complex and layered plot, making for a slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance readers won't want to put down. Recommended for general purchase.--Heather Miller Cover

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Romantic Agenda
The Romantic Agenda
Claire Kann
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