A Review of "Loveless" by Alice Oseman Rating: 4.5/5
Graphic by Grace Kauder.
Written by the author of the popular graphic novel “Heartstopper,” “Loveless” follows the journey of Georgia Warr as she heads to college without a first kiss. She makes it her mission to begin the romance phase of her life– a first kiss, a first time, a first partner– at her new school, with her two best friends and a new roommate at her side. Oseman does a fantastic job portraying the questions, frustrations, occasional self-hate, and the “want to want more” - a fitting phrase from author Angela Chen in her book “Ace” - that many asexuals and aromantics feel as they begin to understand and accept their identities. The book also highlights a range of identities within the LGBTQ+ community alongside Georgia’s journey, with an overall emphasis on celebrating all kinds of love, but especially the platonic love that keeps each one of us going no matter our romantic and sexual identities. While Georgia’s journey is unmatched in its honesty about the aro/ace experience - its loneliness, confusion, and invisibility - it is also unique in the surprising wit and humor with which Oseman presents Georgia’s experiences. However, it remains a member of the queer novels that tend to underrepresent or ignore the “after” of a character’s coming out. It leaves me wondering a few things: What does the future hold for Georgia? What does the life of a middle aged aro/ace spec person look like? Will these golden friendships hold up like we hope? How does one move forward amidst all this fear of loneliness and otherness? Moreover, the novel fails to adequately address the aphobia that is so rife within the LGBTQ+ community, except for a few brief moments acknowledging its existence. Despite this, the novel is one of only a few that truly capture the experiences of aro/ace individuals. And as someone who recently finished out their freshman year of college, I couldn’t help but relate to, laugh along with, and feel for Georgia’s experience in her first year: the year-long sexuality crisis, the magic of finding new friends and assured platonic love in such a short period of time, coming home and feeling like a whole new person - all of these things just made me love Georgia all the more. More importantly, it made me feel seen and human in a way no other book has. This relatability and the hilarious incorporation of Shakespeare quotes and plays that parallel our characters’ relationships prove for a fast-paced, addicting novel for any reader. While it may gloss over some concerns, “Loveless” is a marvel in the way it tells an aro/ace story– among other queer journeys– with such genuine joy and love.