Review: Alice Oseman – Loveless

Buckle up, because this is going to be a long one. I dove into Loveless by Alice Oseman right when it came out, and I wanted to write an own voices review of this own voices aroace coming out novel!

Loveless was my single most anticipated release of 2020, so on release day, I sat myself down with the audiobook and dove right in. I was fully intending to read the entire book on release day, but it actually took me a few days to read it because I needed time to process.

I listened to the audiobook and read along in the ebook, which was such an immersive experience. The audio was great – the narrator captured the tone of voice of the novel very well.

I live-tweeted some of my initial reactions to the book as well.


Goodreads Synopsis

The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

This wise, warm and witty story of identity and self-acceptance sees Alice Oseman on towering form as Georgia and her friends discover that true love isn’t limited to romance.

Loveless


Review

I’ll delve into the aroace rep later, but I can also confirm this is a really fun story as well: they’re putting on a play of Shakespeare’s “greatest hits”! And I absolutely loved the characters:

  • Georgia, of course, who’s my questioning aroace baby and who basically *is* 17-year-old me (she’s 18 though!)
  • Pip, Colombian lesbian who feels cursed to fall for straight girls, funniest character, doesn’t like to be called Felipa
  • Jason, the literal chillest dude ever, Token Straight, has two dads, Scooby-Doo stan, owns the cosiest teddy coat which is a recurring theme and a literal metaphor for how warm he is as a person
  • Rooney, sex-positive pansexual extrovert who’s fast friends with just about anyone, but do they truly know her?
  • Sunil, ultra-confident Indian gay asexual non-binary person and Georgia’s “college parent”, who fights all the gatekeepers and is always oversharing

I don’t know how she did it, but Alice Oseman seems to have reached into my brain and written a book about me. This book was almost too relatable for me, and it was at times a painful experience reading it. Starting out, this book deals a lot with internalized aphobia – feeling like there’s something wrong with you for not experiencing sexual or romantic attraction. The way this was done spoke to me so much, it was like seeing my own experiences as a teenager reflected back to me. This made it an incredibly healing experience right from the start.

The first couple of chapters discussed how Georgia feels like she should be kissing someone, and how she’s sure she will one day fall in love, it will just happen if she waits, because she just loves romance so much. This is EXACTLY how I felt as a teen; I had the same experience of never having had a crush and not really understanding why people were kissing each other, but being so sure it would happen for me eventually, something would click and I’d find The One.

Like Georgia, I was also this hopeless romantic who spent much of their time daydreaming about romance, often fictional. I still am. I actually read a comic by Alice Oseman before that captured this feeling so well – how at odds you can feel with yourself if you love romance but you know it will never happen for you. This comic was actually the reason I had such high hopes of this novel.

Of course there’s a lot of internalized aphobia here, and there’s nothing wrong with being aromantic, but it was just so amazing to see this journey represented. Because it can be painful to know you’ll never experience this thing you know brings so much happiness to people. And the thing is, I don’t want to. The thought of having someone romantically attracted to me makes me very uncomfortable. But sometimes it still hurts, because I love romance in theory, and our society is really built to make everyone want romance in their life – you get conditioned to want it for yourself from such a young age.

The story starts off with Georgia experiencing internalized aphobia and wanting to “fix herself” so she doesn’t end up alone. So she sets off on a mission to find romance. While I found her self-hatred sometimes hard to read as an aroace person, the reason for that was that it was just extremely relatable and it forced me to address this within myself. And honestly, Georgia’s mission to find romance is also quite comedic, just like the moments where she’s starting to figure out her identity. For instance, she finds herself googling “am I gay”, which is probably relatable for many LGBTQ+ people who have questioned their identity.

Georgia’s actual questioning arc kicks off when she has a discussion with Sunil where they explain what asexuality is and what it means for them to be ace. And throughout the story, Georgia researches asexuality and aromanticism, and talks to several people about it, and this helps grow more certain and more comfortable in her identity.

This book has been hyped for a long time for being an aroace coming out story, and to me, it did an amazing job and it made me feel very seen. Initially, the plot felt secondary to the rep for me, because the representation was so important to me.

But the story really drew me in as well. I think this is Alice Oseman’s best book so far in terms of technical stuff like plotting and characterization. All the important characters were fully fleshed out, and there was a steady, well-plotted storyline that sort of followed the “recipe” of a romcom but with best friends instead of a love interest.


Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR?

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17 thoughts on “Review: Alice Oseman – Loveless

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  1. Ahhh yes yes yes, I felt exactly the same way about this book!! 💜 It’s the first time I’ve accurately seen myself and my experiences of internalized aphobia while figuring out my identity, and that just felt so special to read. I was already a huge fan of Alice Oseman before this book, but I remember seeing that comic too and knowing that this book would make me an even BIGGER fan.
    That feeling of Alice Oseman reaching into my brain and writing a book about me is so real. Georgia was sometimes painfully relatable. And yes, I agree that this book did such a great job with plot and secondary characters and technical stuff too! I adore Sunil, and the subplot with Shakespeare soc was so entertaining. Basically, I love this book a lot, and I loved reading your review 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved reading your review! I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out and it’s great to know that OV readers can relate to it so well. I haven’t read a book with aroace rep yet but this one seems perfect to start. I’ll give it a try soon in the future🙆🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I JUST finished this on audiobook and its now probably my best book of the year. It had me crying twice (at least), and I was so completely into it. I also felt SEEN and ?! I cry. Aniously waiting for the paperback to read my country because I NEED IT.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am on the waitlist to get this book from the library and I cannot wait to read it! It sounds amazing and eye-opening. Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful review for this book, and I am thrilled that this book made you feel so seen. You deserve it!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great review!
    I read this book recently and I loved it! It’s my favourite of Alice Oseman’s books so far and it has made me think about myself a lot as well. I also really loved the characters! The fact that friendship is so important in a YA is pretty rare and I loved it a lot. A great book overall💜

    Liked by 1 person

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