Book Review | Loveless (ARC)

I may not know much, but I do know that I want to fangirl about Much Ado About Nothing with Alice Oseman.

I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Loveless by Alice Oseman. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.

In Loveless, Georgia feels as if she’s failed at being a teenager. She hasn’t gone on a date or slept with anyone. She’s never even had her first kiss. So when she sets off for her first term at Durham University, she decides to travel the path everyone else is on, steps ahead of her. But the more she tries to find love, the more she starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t have those feelings at all.

I’ve never read a book that features a character like Georgia, at least not a book that explores this identity with such frankness, and it was really wonderful!

First off, I love Georgia. Her journey is organic and messy and sometimes frustrating, but excellent. She’s full of personality, of quirks and flaws in equal measure, and her choices make sense, even if they’re not right in the end. Watching her go from frustration to confusion to sadness to acceptance about who she is was quite a ride, but a rewarding one.

I also really enjoyed the other characters. From Rooney and Pip’s banter and playful antagonism (see, this is where the Much Ado element comes into play), to Jason’s earnestness and Sunil’s insightful care, there’s a lot of heart in these characters. The way they interact and change over time is well written and well paced.

This book isn’t so much driven by the plot as it is by the characters. Georgia’s journey, as I mentioned, is center stage. This is a coming-of-age novel, through and through, as we see through her eyes what it means to discover your sexuality isn’t what you thought it was—and it’s even something she didn’t know existed. There’s so little representation, and less understanding, of what asexuality and aromanticism mean in this world. No matter who you are, you’ll walk away from this book feeling more informed, and hopefully more accepting, of people who don’t feel and express love the way most others do.

Oh, and a content warning: This book features more than one discussion of sexuality, including what sexual and romantic attraction is like and conversations about self-pleasure. There are also mentions of toxic, though not outright abusive, relationships.

In the end, Loveless is a great book. It’s obviously a labor of love on Oseman’s part. The characters are vivid and the relationships between them full of nuance. The actual story is sometimes put on hold for explanations and definitions, and I occasionally wished that we could see more of Georgia’s emotions expressed rather than simply hear about them in her head, but overall this book is rife with feeling. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes melancholic, sometimes painful, sometimes uplifting. It ends with hope, as the best books do. And for those who have never seen themselves reflected in a novel before, this book is priceless.

Overall rating: 8.7/10

Loveless has been published in the UK for some time, but it will be available in the US on November 2nd, 2021!

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