The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Edited by: Sahana Inuganti
Alice Oseman is an award-winning author of several queer love stories. She was 17 when Harper Collins published her first novel. Loveless is her fourth YA novel. It is a heartwarming story written with utmost honesty. At the heart of the book is college freshman Georgia Warr and her journey to understanding and accepting her queerness. The Goodreads page for Loveless is full of A-spec people who found in it a coming of age story that resonated with them.
As the book opens, Georgia is all set to start college with a theory that everyone fakes their crushes and conventional attractiveness is overrated anyway. She doesn’t mind not dating, but she does mind the odd and oddly sympathetic looks her dating life always seems to summon. And, after all, if all the YA novels and movies are right, her story won’t even begin until she falls in love.
Every single character in the book is well-rounded with a story of their own. There’s Rooney, Georgia’s roommate, who has a five-foot-tall fern (named ‘Roderick’) and a determination to set up a new Shakespeare society. There’s her best friend Pip who, in all seriousness, challenges Rooney to a battle atop a bouncy castle. There’s her best friend Jason who joins the newly formed Shakespeare society in a sincere attempt to support their shenanigans. And, my personal favourite for wholly biased reasons, Sunil, the head of the pride society and Georgia’s ‘college parent’. (Desi queer rep was an extremely pleasant surprise and it really made me love the book so much more)
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the human experience is that you can only ever guess if others experience it the same way as you. And learning how you see the world and how your view is different from others’ is an essential part of growing up. Oseman does a brilliant job of representing Georgia’s struggle to come to terms with her identity. The pacing of the book changes to reflect the shift from certainty to confusion and finally to acceptance.
Ultimately, it’s a book about the magic of platonic relationships. It does a brilliant job treating these with the respect they deserve. The seemingly ubiquitous emphasis on romantic relationships makes it very easy to forget that some of our dearest relationships are platonic ones. In addition to everything else, there’s the sheer brilliance of Oseman’s writings. Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book:
“In the end, that was the problem with romance. It was so easy to romanticise romance because it was everywhere. It was in music and on TV and in filtered Instagram photos. It was in the air, crisp and alive with fresh possibility. It was in falling leaves, crumbling wooden doorways, scuffed cobblestones and fields of dandelions. It was in the touch of hands, scrawled letters, crumpled sheets and the golden hour. A soft yawn, early morning laughter, shoes lined up together by the door. Eyes across a dance floor. I could see it all, all the time, all around, but when I got closer, I found nothing was there.”
“I’ve learnt some things. Like the way, friendship can be just as intense, beautiful and endless as romance. Like the way there’s love everywhere around me – there’s love for my friends, there’s love for my paintings, there’s love for myself.”
(sidenote: !!!!! how do you just do that with words???)
I read the book in a single sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. It is a rollercoaster of emotions- you’ll laugh and you’ll cry and you won’t stop till you turn the last page. It’s a story that will resonate with you so much it’ll always stay with you. Whether you’re A-spec or questioning, or just looking for a refreshing new story, Loveless is a great pick.
One last word about representation: This is by no means the definitive a-spec experience, nor does it claim to be. This is merely one account and must be read as such. The labels Asexual and Aromantic refer to a whole range of experiences, each as varied as it is valid. Stories featuring positive A-spec representation are only now coming to the mainstream, and it is only by engaging constructively with such media can we bring forward more and better representation.