Saying that I love Loveless doesn’t come close to how deeply I feel about this book. If you know me at all, you’ll know that Alice Oseman is one of my favorite writers, and though I’ll read absolutely anything she writes, her fourth prose novel is a showstopper in more ways than one.
Georgia Warr is a typical relatable teenager. Just entering university, she’s never kissed anyone, maybe never even had a crush if she thinks about it hard enough, but she’s obsessed with love and romance. But wanting romantic love isn’t the same as experiencing it, and as Georgia encounters new ways to describe the way she feels — or doesn’t — she starts to wonder if everything she’s been taught to believe is actually a massive lie, and if romance is really all that it’s chalked up to be.
When Scholastic reached out to me asking if I was interested in reviewing Loveless in anticipation of its US release, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to neglect my ever-growing TBR and experience this incredibly comforting, affirming story again. I rarely reread books even one time, but I read Loveless for the third time for this review. Even on my third read of this book, I found more to love about it that I hadn’t noticed before. Little moments that my eyes had skipped over — lines that I read differently now that I knew the story so well.
Alice Oseman is so skilled at encapsulating the queer teen voice in prose format (as well as comic format, but you can read my Heartstopper review for more on that). Reading Georgia’s journey to self-acceptance touches me in a way that most other books don’t; rather than being escapist fiction that I know I’ll never experience for myself, Loveless is a pointed and sometimes uncomfortable examination of an identity that I am all too familiar with. Loveless is an inspiration for me as a writer, as an aroace person and as a college student who’s still trying to figure herself out a little.
And I can’t wrap up this review without dedicating some time to the setting. Loveless is a rare YA book that takes place in college, and it has to be, for the story it’s telling. That period of sudden independence for a young adult is when countless people come into their identities for the first time, including many of my own friends, and including Georgia and her roommate Rooney. Honestly, for this story to have taken place in Oseman’s usual secondary school setting would’ve done an injustice to the narrative, and I’m thrilled that Durham University is where Georgia finally finds herself.
Ultimately, Loveless is the celebration of found family and platonic love that queer Gen-Z teens need in our lives. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Georgia doesn’t find herself loveless at the end of this book. She’s far from it. We all have tons of love in our lives, stretching beyond the bounds of the societal ideal of a romantic soulmate, and Georgia’s story is a constant reminder (to me, at least) that your life will be full of love and fulfillment no matter what kind of love you’re capable of feeling.
Loveless will be released on January 4 from Scholastic Press in the US and Canada (and it’s already out in the UK). I seriously think everybody needs to read this book, and I’ve thought so well before writing this review, but I did receive a copy from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.
Correction: an earlier version of this article stated that Loveless would be released on December 28. The release date has since been pushed back.