Loveless: A Review and Discussion on ‘The One Aroace Experience’

Hey everyone! So, one of my favorite books came out in the United States finally, a few weeks ago, and so in honor of this I wanted to formally write a review of this book on my blog, but not only that, I want to do a little discussion on this book as well. Let’s get into it!

Loveless | Alice Oseman

Published March 1, 2022

432 Pages | Hardcover

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Summary from goodreads

Loveless is a book that means a whole lot to me, and rereading it just made me love it all over again. I got the questioning, the self-doubt, the awesome friendships all over again, and it just reminded me how much I love this book. This is a story of messy teens (first year university students, actually), questioning, and friendship. A whole lot of friendship.

I wanted to zoom in on that word ‘messy’ because I think that is truly the best way to describe these characters, and especially Georgia. There are fights in this book. Georgia does some really awful things, and sometimes her friends do awful things. There are times when you might be worried about the turnout of something, or even frustrated with how Georgia handles things. That’s okay.

Georgia is one of the most relatable characters to me that I have read. I definitely am not a fan of all the same things as she is (I’ve basically never read a fanfic in my life?) but the way she feels about her sexuality and about her friends is just so similar to me. I also want to call out the fact that Loveless highlights self doubt and the feelings that might come with being aroace, at least for some people (obviously, there are so many different aroace experiences). After Georgia first realizes that she may be aroace, and first starts to think about it, she’s just upset and down on herself. We are raised in a world where romance is so highly praised, it’s just everywhere and so often the ‘final goal’ in life. And that can be really hard as an aroace person. Knowing that you’re never going to experience this ‘magical experience’ that everyone else has. Knowing that your friends are going to fall in love and put you second for the rest of your life because everyone just says that romance. Is. Better. To see a character in a book who thinks the same way, and to see a book that actually talks about that? Amazing. I think that often, it can be hard for authors to write books where characters of marginalized identities are down on themselves because of their marginalized identity, since there’s that pressure to show happy people of that identity. Authors don’t want to write a book where a main character just hates their identity because it’s like it reflects that any people of that identity are not happy, when obviously we know that’s not true since everyone has different experiences. But it’s still important to show these things, like being down due to your identity, so that people in the real world who might be experiencing the same things know that they’re not alone in feeling that and often the book can help you get through or at least accept that feeling more.

I also wanted to discuss something I’ve seen pop up in a lot of reviews: the ‘one aroace experience’ idea. First of all, just as a disclaimer, everyone is entitled to their own opinion obviously. By writing this, I am not trying to insult or undermine what anyone who believes this is saying, but simply offering my own opinion on the topic.
Many reviews make the argument that Loveless gives a singular aroace experience and makes it seem like everyone who is aroace follows this experience. And yes, it is true that Loveless does give a single (of many different) aroace experience, due to the fact that it follows one person going through her own experience, and probably also largely reflects what the author themself went through. However, I do not believe that this book should have the responsibility of showing so many different aroace experiences. It’s one person, it’s one experience. There are so many books out there about gay teens, and so many of them have so many different experiences, but almost all only represent one singular of the many experiences. And I really think the difference between those books and Loveless is that there are so few aroace books out there that people just believe this book should embody all aroace experiences, and for those who don’t know much about the aroace community, they may believe that it DOES embody all aroace experiences. But we cannot expect to relate to every single character of our same identity that we read, and I am sorry if Loveless was not a book that you could relate to as much as you might have hoped you could have, but I still do not believe that it is a problem that it shows a singular aroace experience. It can definitely be disappointing to find a character of such a little-talked about identity and not feel like you can connect to them – for me, Agatha in Ophelia After All is a great example of this – but yeah, aroace people do have quite a few different experiences, and unfortunately a singular book cannot cover all these experiences.

I have no idea if any of what I just said made any sense, and I wrote like half of it directly after I’d finished the book, right before I was about to go to bed, but this was something that I’d been thinking about for a while and I really wanted to address it in my post.

Have you read Loveless? What were your thoughts on it? Do you agree with what I said?

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Four Popular Authors and Series That I Have Yet to Read

I have seen a post like this on a few other blogs and thought I’d try it out! There’s a lot of authors and serieses out there that I have yet to read but I thought I’d make a list of four of them that are very popular whose books I have never read! Get ready to be shocked because Phoenix is very behind on reading all of the authors that everyone else has.

1) Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, ACOTAR, Crescent City)

No, your eyes hath not decievethed thou (bow down to my stellar Shakespearean English. I know, top notch). I have never read a book by Sarah J Maas.
I’m also a great liar 🙂
Okay so I did read the very first book in the Throne of Glass series several years ago (smol me actually read through this book, yes). But I never tried to read the rest of the series. I think both the size of the books and the size of the series intimidated me–and from what I’ve heard goes on later in the series, I am very thankful for young me putting down those books after reading the first one.
I do not remember much of what happens in that first book and it was several years ago so I’m barely counting that. I’ve never read another book by SJM. I’ve also heard many many mixed reviews about these books and given some of the things I’ve heard…I will probably not pick them up for a while longer. There are just so many books that sound better to me that I want to read first.

2) Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices)

Yet another absurdly popular YA author whose books I have never read. And I’m not lying this time, I have never touched a Cassandra Clare book except maybe that time that my friend asked me to hold the book for her while she tied her shoe.
There was one time when I was interested in maybe reading them. I’d seen a lot about them and they were these giant books and a long series–just so much to read! But there are a lot of books out there and, like the SJM books, these just don’t seem like they should be my top priority of books to read. They are still giant fantasy books and there are a lot of them but…they just seem like sort of the same. The same thing that a lot of fantasy books are. More and more books are being written today that are different, that are diverse, that are just more interesting.

3) VE Schwab (Shades of Magic, Villains, Addie La Rue)

I LITERALLY CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVEN’T READ A VE SCHWAB BOOK YET.
I have heard SO, SO MUCH about VE Schwab and her books and I just NEED to read them. I cannot count the number of reviews I have read of The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue and every single one of them are glowing. I actually haven’t heard as much of her other books–I think because Addie La Rue was just published and there’s a lot of hype surrounding it. But really, I’m excited to read any of Schwab’s books and will hopefully have done so by the end of the month.

4) Alice Oseman (Heartstopper, 4 individual books)

Alice Oseman is another author whose books I really need to read. Another author who I CANNOT BELIEVE I’ve never read. I have heard SO MUCH about her books. They sound awesome and adorable and SO DIVERSE and I just–I need them! I was really looking to read Loveless this year because there aren’t many books about ace/aro characters and I thought this story especially sounded really interesting since it’s sort of a self discovery story…but it’s not out in the US yet!!!!
I’ve also heard a lot about Heartstopper. So many people love it and want to read it. It sounds interesting. It sounds cute. But (*cue the gasp of everyone reading*) due to recent experiences with graphic novels that include adorable mlm ships (*cough* Fence* *cough*) I’m probably not going to pick it up.
*My recent experience with Fence was that I got so obsessed that I couldn’t really do anything else. And I really don’t want that to happen to me again because last week was not a fun week to be around Phoenix unless you ONLY wanted to talk about Fence EVER.

I was debating whether to make this a post of well known serieses* that I haven’t read but decided against it because it was mostly, well, SJM and CC. Schwab and Oseman’s books don’t really have serieses or if they do they’re not, in my opinion, as well known as the authors themselves. There are, however, a few serieses that I thought I would tell you I haven’t read just because.
*I am convinced that serieses is the plural of series and it makes sense if you think about it. The word bus, plural, is buses. The word mess, plural, is messes. For a singular noun ending in s, to make it plural you add es. You’re welcome for the grammar lesson. Maybe one day I’ll do a post on the word series. But probably not because that sounds weird.

1) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I’ve seen a lot about Shatter Me around, some people hate it and some people love it. I’ll probably never read it because it seems kind of big on the romance and sort of just…not the kind of book that I’d like. I’ve seen VERY mixed reviews on this, with a lot of different opinions but really, it just seems like a regular YA dystopian romance and I’ve found, especially in the recent weeks (read: after reading Fence, when my reading preferences went wack) that I don’t enjoy dystopian much any more.

2) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Well, I’ve heard a lot about this book as well. Including the fact that this is, like Shatter Me, a typical YA dystopian romance.
From reading reviews of this book, I’m going to admit that this sounds a little better than Shatter Me. Possibly, it’s because there’s a little more action? And maybe less romance? I don’t know, I’ve never read it and most of my opinions come from this review from Sofia on goodreads. (do check it out, it’s hilarious)
But also I’ve seen a lot of reviews that say it’s just typical YA which…I’m not exactly looking for.
Also, the tropes. Not like other girls and a love triangle? No, thank you.

3) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Raise your hand if you are surprised that I’ve never read Twilight. After having read my thoughts on the last two books, how could you be surprised? Twilight is literally the definition of a typical YA book. In fact, this book might be the book that created the definition of a typical YA book. Which might have made it atypical when it was one of a kind. But not anymore.
Sorry, I’m not big on straight romance. Vampires sound cool but not ones in love. And just…I don’t want to read four books (five now, right?) on a girl in love.
(I will say one thing: I’ve read the first two pages of Twilight and Bella is right about the fact that Forks, Washington is in fact in the middle of nowhere. There’s nothing to do there, but the beaches are nice. And now, after Twilight is based there? Their only claim to fame is Twilight. It was EVERYWHERE.
No offense to anyone living in Forks, I’m sure that there’s plenty to do there if you live there. I mean, you cannot fall in love with a vampire around where I’m from.)

4) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

This one I actually want to read, mostly. I’ve seen a few good reviews of it and it sounds interesting. I very recently read April Lee’s review of it on her blog and it seems like she enjoyed it! Unfortunately, it’s not very high on my tbr (I gotta get past all the VE Schwab and Alice Oseman books first!). So hopefully I’ll read it eventually. We’ll see when that happens. (*adds to long list of books to read in 2021)

Well. That was a long post that people might get angry at me for! Because these are a lot of popular authors/serieses that I know people really enjoy! If you have opinions for what I should read first of these or want to try to convince me to read one of the authors/serieses that I said I didn’t want to read, I look forwards to your arguments. I’m hard to sway.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! I always love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as it’s respectful, so please leave a comment or two! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!