Loveless by Alice Oseman
Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books (2020)
Angie: 4.5 Stars
I didn’t realise Loveless was the kind of book I needed until I read the first few chapters. Full of love and wisdom, Oseman brilliantly manages to portray the experience of a young woman walking into adulthood and (re)discovering herself. Georgia’s ace/aro experience is authentic, and I was able to revisit my own with better hindsight. The characters are lovable in their imperfection and truly funny to read! The story is genuine, heartfelt and, at times, heartbreaking, always bearing a close resemblance to what it means to be LGBTQIA+ in this century. Oseman doesn’t shy away from tackling aro/ace folks’ struggle coming both from within their families and the queer community itself, which I believe is a very important statement made against these identities’ erasure. I do think some instances of plot development were somewhat rushed, but I acknowledge that this book may have been written for a younger audience. I’m so happy young readers today have this kind of queer representation in literature and here’s to much more to come! Much love for Loveless.
Ella: 4.5 Stars
Although YA isn’t usually my go-to genre, I was pleasantly surprised when it came to Loveless. This book brilliantly captures what it means to be a nervous university fresher who feels completely out of their depth. Admittedly, I found the language slightly simplistic at times. Still, I’m not necessarily the intended audience for the book, and I know that when I was, I wouldn’t have been able to put it down because the queer representation is fantastic.
Oseman explores issues of asexuality and aromanticism in a nuanced and rarely seen way which I found to be incredibly enlightening. She also very successfully includes completely natural instances of queer representation that accurately mirror real life. Revisiting YA did make me feel slightly older than I would like for only being 21. However, it was deeply refreshing to see how societal perceptions of what it means to be LGBTQ+ have evolved and how this had translated into the YA fiction that I was desperately looking for when I was a queer teenager.
Lorna: 5 Stars
I’ve been following Alice Oseman’s writing career since the publication of her first novel, Solitaire, in 2014 and it has been such a joy to read her novels and see her grow as an author. Loveless is Oseman’s best work yet and continues her streak of novels tackling underrepresented subjects and promoting diversity as we follow protagonist Georgia on her journey through coming to terms with her aromantic/asexual identity. This is absolutely the book I wish I had as a university fresher – many of Georgia’s struggles with adjusting to a new situation and grappling with the idea of ‘doing it right’ rang extremely true for me. For a story that was, ostensibly, all about love, I was thrilled with the focus on friendships and the suggestion that they should be viewed as just as important as romantic relationships.
Oseman writes scenes that are both laugh-out-loud funny and absolutely heartbreaking – sometimes almost at the same time. There is so much compassion and care evident in her writing. I adored this book, and I’m so happy that it is out there in the world for those who need to see themselves represented.
Nina: 3 Stars
Loveless was an interesting read, tackling an issue that is normally underrepresented in the book world. The writing style is at first quite basic, though it is saved by the pacing of the story and the gripping narrative. As the subject of the aromantic/asexual identity is one that not many people have a good understanding of, Oseman does a great job of illuminating it. However, at times the explanations veer off too much from the storyline, causing clunky breaks in the narrative.
This, paired with some of the characters like Sunil, who are one-dimensional and repetitive, is where the faults in this story lie. Yet overall, the story is transfixing, bringing light to something oft not talked about.
Sofia: 4 Stars
I’ve been keeping my distance from YA books in the past few years, as nothing ignited my interest and everything sounded like something I’d already read a thousand times before. Hence my scepticism when I first approached Loveless. However, I was pleasantly surprised to realise this book was relatable and unique. I had only read academic literature on queer theory before because I was desperate for real validation as a member of the LGBTQ+ community; I didn’t need a fairy tale. Alice Oseman managed to make me love a story that is clichéd in many ways but desperately needed to realise that not only it’s okay to be yourself; you can decide what you are without having to conform to existing labels. Georgia’s internal conflict with herself reminded me of my own experience with figuring out my sexuality and made me accept that it’s okay to constantly question your identity. It’s okay to be fluid and experiment at any point in your life; it’s okay to be angry about it all sometimes. Masterfully written, although at times simplistic, and laugh-out-loud funny, Loveless is the book I wish I had had when I was growing up but is also a book that is never too late to read.