”Our troupe consisted of two star performers who both wanted to be in charge, one girl who threw up every time she acted, and one boy who might possibly be the love of my life.
It was going to be an absolute disaster, but that wasn’t stopping any of us.”
I guess, Georgia wasn’t all too wrong with this assumption but damn did all the drama and confusion make for a great book. If you’ve followed my reviews closely you’ll have noticed that this was actually the last full-length Alice Oseman book I haven’t read yet and I’m so glad I finally managed to pick this one up. It’s very rare to read about aro/ace reps in books because I think our heteronormative brains are just wired to read about attraction and romance and if a book doesn’t have that people tend to be sceptical. I’m not judging here, I’m merely stating the facts because I’ve read about a gazillion of reviews that mentioned that people didn’t like that there was almost none/no/little romance in book “X” and that’s why they didn’t enjoy it as much as other books. If you’re that single one person who has never ever read a review like that please raise your hand (or write me a comment) because I’d really love to know how you did that. *lol* Anyway! Back to my review!
”I knew what it was like to feel bad about not having kissed anyone.
And to feel pressured into doing it because everyone else was.
Because you were weird if you hadn’t.
Because this was what being a human was all about.
That was what everyone said.”
This book was so real and threw so many facts in my face; to read this was actually almost painful at times. And boy, could I relate to so many of the characters! Honestly, there were about a gazillion of quotes that made me think: “Oh gods, I’m so glad this is written in here because: Same!” I’m not aro/ace but I’m demi and that’s an identity which can be found under the aro/ace umbrella. So it probably shouldn’t have surprised me that I could relate to Georgia’s and her friends feelings, but for some reason it still did?! Truth be told, “Loveless” actually made me question myself once again, but I think that’s good. If a book makes you think that’s always a good thing and yes, I know this is a very personal review so far but for me reading is also a way to learn and to grow and that’s exactly what I did when I read “Loveless”. It’s never too late to learn new things about yourself. 😉
”Almost seven years later, I’d never actually talked to Tommy. I’d never even really wanted to, probably because I was shy. He was more of an abstract concept – he was hot, and he was my crush, and nothing was going to happen between us, and I was perfectly fine with that.”
I mean! THIS!! That was basically me in my teens. I was what people would call a “late bloomer” and I had my first kiss when I was 16 and first real bf when I was 17. Yes, this was considered late in my youth because I had school friends that had their first kiss with 11 or 12. *lol* And I had some crushes but just like Georgia I was totally fine with them just being my crushes. I didn’t feel the need to be with them and never really wanted to end up with them if that makes sense? I only ever got together with boys/girls I knew for a very long time and had a close friendship with before we started dating and a lot of people thought that this was weird. XD I never understood why this felt weird for them and I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of just having sex with someone for the fun of it without any deep feelings involved. Like how do people even have one-night stands? I could never. Love, mutual respect, trust, that’s what I need in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I was always good at innuendos, easy banter and flirting, I still am, but that doesn’t mean I have to actually go through with it with a stranger. It’s more about the intellectual challenge than about actually going through with it.
”People are really out there just … thinking about having sex all the time and they can’t even help it?” I spluttered. “People have dreams about it because they want it that much? How the – I’m losing it. I thought all the movies were exaggerating, but you’re all really out there just craving genitals and embarrassment. This has to be some kind of huge joke.”
Georgia’s struggle felt very real and even though I couldn’t relate to everything, I still understood where she was coming from when she said things like the quote above. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that everyone always thinks about having sex (but maybe that’s just my demi behind?!) but a lot of people do and the concept of being aro/ace would be as foreign to them as sexual attraction is to Georgia. For me it was really interesting to see love and romance the way Georgia experiences it and I loved that Rooney, her roommate, was so open-minded and didn’t judge her for any of her actions. They were complete opposites when it came to love but they still accepted each other the way they were and that was a truly beautiful thing.
Rooney paused. “I think it’s pretty amazing that you haven’t felt peer-pressured into doing anything by now. You haven’t made yourself do anything you didn’t want to do. You haven’t kissed anyone just because you’re scared of missing out. I think that’s one of the most mature things I’ve ever heard, actually.”
The strong friendships and the found family trope was in general something I enjoyed about this book and even though the story started slow at first it totally had me hooked by the halfway mark. I think that’s something typical for Alice Oseman’s books, at first they don’t seem to be magical or special but the longer you read, the more you get immersed into the world and by the end of the book it feels like you’ve won a couple of new and amazing friends. Am I the only one who feels like that or are there other people out there who experience Alice’s books the same way?
”They were all just themselves.
I don’t know how to explain it.
There was no pretending. No hiding. No faking.
In this little restaurant hidden away in the old streets of Durham, a bunch of queer people could all show up and just be.
I don’t think I’d understood what that was like until that moment.”
Another thing I always love about Oseman’s book is the diversity we get! I mean just in the small group of Georgia’s friends we have so much diversity bursting from the pages it was a real pleasure just to read about it. (Wordplay not intended. *lol*) Jason has two dads, Sunil is non-binary (he/they) and an asexual homoromantic, Pip is lesbian and Latinx and Rooney her roommate is questioning her sexuality in the book and figuring it out by the end. (Not gonna spoil anything! ;-P) I have no idea if Jason is part of the LGBTQIA+ community as well, but I got certain vibes from him so I guess the reader is allowed to question his sexuality. I just love that about Alice’s books and I’ll never get tired of seeing so much representation. Also can we just acknowledge the mood of the book, because damn that entire book is such a #mood and for me personally, Sunil was THE MOOD! *lol*
”Sunil had already volunteered to be Viola, saying, “Just give me all of the roles that mess around with gender, please.”
”I feel like I’m going to cry,” Sunil said, and then stuffed three more pieces of popcorn into his mouth.
I mean! THIS!!! I loved Sunil so damn much and he was my favourite character in the entire book. I could relate to his character and I lived and breathed for every little Sunil snippet I got. Sunil was the perfect mixture of serious and funny and wow, I loved that mouth he had on him. The way he put Lloyd in his place and cared about Pride Soc and all of its members! Definitely one of my new book love-interests. <333
”Is it stressful? Being the president?”
“Sometimes. But it’s worth it. Makes me feel that I’m doing something important. And that I’m part of something important.” He let out a breath. “I … I did things on my own for a long time. I know how it feels to be totally alone. So now I’m trying to make sure … no queer person has to feel like that in this city.”
Also I can’t thank Alice enough for showing that even members of the LGBTQIA+ community can discriminate and exclude other LGBTQIA+ identities. I wish I could say this isn’t a thing and that everyone is always inclusive, but being a part of the community I’ve seen it happen way too often and even experienced it myself. So Alice is brave for tackling this topic in her book and I’m very thankful she didn’t shy away from showing a realistic and sometimes hurtful part of our community. I really liked how this was addressed in the book and the speech Sunil gave Llyod will forever live in my head rent-free! Sunil got fire!! Loved that about him! ❤ And when I’m already talking about Sunil there’s something I need to speak about too. Sunil is introduced as non-binary with he/they pronouns but Georgia only seems to use he/him pronouns whenever she thinks about Sunil. As someone who’s gender-fluid I couldn’t help but wonder if that was on purpose? I mean I know pronouns are tricky and it’s not easy to know which pronouns to use for someone who uses more than one, but usually people who use more than one tend to let people know which ones they are currently using? I dunno. I was just very confused about the fact that I can’t remember a single scene (and maybe that’s just my tired brain) in which Sunil was addressed with they/them pronouns. Just something to think about. 😉 (It’s why I always used he/him pronouns when I spoke about Sunil in this review too.)
”I was angry at the world for making me hate who I was. I was angry at myself for letting these feelings ruin my friendships with the best people in the world. I was angry at every single romance movie, every single fanfic, every single stupid OTP that had made me crave finding the perfect romance. It was because of all of that, no doubt, that this new identity felt like a loss, when in reality, it should have been a beautiful discovery.”
I felt this quote in my bones because I’m sure everyone who’s ever been or felt like a lonely teen can relate at least a little bit to the way Georgia felt. And I loved how Alice Oseman was able to convey all those expectations we grow up with. It’s not easy being a queer kid or adult because just by being yourself you already don’t fit into the heteronormative narration you’ve been raised with your entire life. It’s a way of thinking that’s so ingrained in us, it’s hard to overcome it.
I mean alone the way people think about my kid is interesting and could already be a social experiment. I don’t mention my kid very often when I’m online but when I do I just say “my kid” or “my child”. I almost never mention the gender. Yet that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. Which is very interesting. When I mention that my kid is ill and that this is the reason I wasn’t online on IG I automatically get messages like: “Oh no, I hope your son is doing better now.” Or “I’m sending your daughter all the healthy vibes.” Why do we jump to conclusions so easily? Why do people automatically assume my kid is a boy or a girl? Just with this little social experiment, you can see that we’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to change people’s heteronormative perceptions for the better. And yes, my dear reader, when I spoke about my “kid” which kind of conclusion did your brain come to? Did you automatically think it’s a girl/boy? I’m very curious what you thought. 😉
Anyway! You can already see Alice writing “Loveless” is a very thought-provoking impulse to think outside of the box. To question things, to think about why all of the fantasy books of my childhood had straight OTPs and why so many well-known fantasy authors still write only m/f relationships and queer bait us with side-characters that barely get any page time. It makes you wonder why almost every story has to end with an OTP, why friendships aren’t considered to be as important as relationships. Lovers come and go, but true friendships, they will stay with you until you’re old and wrinkled. Why is this considered less important in society than having a husband/wife and starting a family of your own? Who said we have to find that one true love and that this is the only thing that will give our life purpose, meaning and fulfilment? Who makes all those rules that cause us to almost break under the pressure and expectations of others when we’re different than the norm? Who even decides what the norm is? Who has the right to tell us what to do with our lives?
No one. We should all live our lives the way we want to and find happiness in whatever way feels good and right for us. Because we are the ones who live our lives and no one else can live our life for us. See, what I mean!? I love the way Alice’s book caused me to think so much!
This said I think “Loveless” is a masterpiece! It might not seem to be one when you start reading it, but the more you think about the story and the characters, the more you’ll find out about society and yourself. Georgia’s journey and the journey of her friends is important. The representation and diversity in the book is amazing and the way it makes you question things, well it’s perfect! Add to this a lot of confusion, a found family, strong friendships and lots of heartbreak and you have the perfect recipe for chaos! It’s a good kind of chaos, though! Promise! If you haven’t read “Loveless” yet, you definitely should give it a try! The world needs more books like this. 😉