The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Over the past year, Alice Oseman (she/they) has become one of my favorite authors. I first came across them from their popular Heartstopper webcomic series, mainly thanks to the upcoming Netflix adaptation coming out in 2022. However, this year I decided to give her novels a shot, since I had not heard much buzz about them. I am so glad that I did because her books are some of my favorite reads of this year. They have a way of perfectly describing the 21st-century young adult experience in a way that I’ve never read before, with a refreshing focus on friendships and platonic relationships over romance. I truly believe that there is an Alice Oseman story for everyone — it’s just a matter of finding the perfect book for you!
The winter after tragedy struck her family, Solitaire tells the story of Tori Spring as she returns to school. She begins to notice an anarchist club, called Solitaire, that seems to be targeting her. Despite her introverted nature, Tori teams up with an unlikely ally to figure out who is behind Solitaire, and what exactly they want from Tori.
If you are an eldest daughter, or relate to the eldest-daughter-syndrome, this story is for you. Solitaire was the first full-length novel I picked up by Alice Oseman, and it absolutely blew me away. Tori can be compared to Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. She is cynical, but she has a reason for it. She can also be unreliable at times, which made the story even more intriguing. However, Solitaire is a book that does discuss mental health very openly, and it could be triggering to some readers. I would highly recommend checking out the list of content warnings for it on Oseman’s website before picking this up.
Solitaire can be purchased on Amazon or on websites for kindly-used books!
Radio Silence follows Frances Janvier during her senior year of high school. Frances has always been at the top of her class, and has big dreams about going to a top university ever since she can remember. As her senior year becomes increasingly more stressful, she turns to a science-fiction podcast about university to seek comfort. After becoming friends with Aled Last, the creator of the podcast, Frances realizes how much she’s missed out on by focusing on her studies. But with new friendships comes new secrets, and Frances isn’t sure she can confess her guilty past to Aled. At least, not yet.
This novel was written for people who relate to “this is me trying” by Taylor Swift. It’s a novel about friendship, gifted-kid-burnout, and how fandom/fan culture is a coping mechanism for some people. The central love story in this novel is the friendship between Aled and Frances, their mutual love for Aled’s podcast, and the fandom that supports it. Not only is fandom culture described so perfectly in this novel, but so are the conversations about how a fandom can impact and even change the course of someone’s life. The writing was so well done.
Radio Silence can be purchased at Barnes and Noble.
Loveless is about a girl named Georgia Warr during her freshman year of university. Unlike her friends, Georgia has never fallen in love with anyone before, but she is confident that she will find someone to love at university! As she is adjusting to her new life and making new friends, she begins to realize that she is not attracted to people the same way her friends are. After joining her school’s Pride Society, Georgia is introduced to new identities such as asexual and aromantic, and it makes her question herself even more. Will Georgia ever experience a romance like the ones she reads about? Or is she doomed to be loveless forever?
If you are a fan of the found-family trope, please pick Loveless up. Out of all of the books on this list, Loveless is definitely the most light-hearted. Georgia is one of the most relatable YA protagonists I have ever read, and her journey of self-acceptance was so heart-warming to read. The side characters in this novel are delightful as well, and the running theatre-kid gags make it all the better.
This book, single-handedly, changed the way I view the world, and the different attractions a person can feel towards others. I just recently finished reading it, and I know the impact it will have on me will last for a very long time.
Loveless is actually not out in the United States yet! The US edition will come out on February 1st, 2022. However, the UK edition has been out for over a year now, and is available to purchase on Amazon and Book Depository.
These books have changed my life in so many ways, I can only hope they leave a similar impact on you. Whether you see yourself in Solitaire, Radio Silence, or Loveless, I hope that somewhere on this list is the Alice Oseman book for you.