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?

Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Fire Becomes Her

Hey everyone! Today I’m here with an author who’ve I’d had visit my blog before – Rosiee Thor! The last time that Rosiee visited here, it was my very first author interview and we discussed their debut novel, Tarnished are the Stars. You can find that interview here. But Rosiee recently had another book published – their sophomore novel Fire Becomes Her came out on February 1, and today we’re here to discuss this new book! Let’s check out what Fire Becomes Her is about, first.

Fire Becomes Her | Rosiee Thor

Published February 1, 2022

368 pages | Hardcover

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

Summary from Goodreads

So first of all, just tell us a little about yourself!

Hello! I’m Rosiee, author of queer science fiction and fantasy novels. I have two published novels: Fire Becomes Her and Tarnished are the Stars. I’m also an avid gardener and mediocre gamer!

Fire Becomes Her is your sophomore novel, and it’s a fantasy, unlike your debut science fiction, Tarnished Are the Stars. What was different about writing a fantasy book this time, and why did you choose to do so?

It might be a little odd to say this but… not much was different. Science Fiction and Fantasy are really just two sides of the same coin. The difference is really just what you call it–technology or magic? So as far as genre, I still had a lot of the same considerations to make about how the magic/tech worked and how much of that was going to get explained. At the end of the day, it was more of a marketing decision than a clear distinction of genre, since they both contain elements of science and magic.

I think one of the biggest things in Fire Becomes Her was the extremely unique worldbuilding, as well as a government system that was a huge part of the book. The book centers around the use of magic called Flare. How did you come up with the idea of Flare and all its uses throughout the book?

Figuring out the magic system for this book was absolutely central to the world building. Basically, Flare is fire magic that you can drink, but it’s also so much more than that.

I wanted to play around with magic, but I wanted that magic to play a deep and inexorable role in the world. No one lives in that world without being impacted by magic in one way or another. I decided to tie it to multiple areas of society to make sure it was fully entrenched, so it’s the social equivalent of alcohol, the economic equivalent of oil, and the aesthetic equivalent of fire. This allowed me to play around with magic in every aspect of their society–wealth, status, politics, vibe…etc.

In FBH, you highlighted several different identities on the aromantic and asexual spectrums, and two of these characters also ended up in a queerplatonic relationship. Can you tell readers a little bit about these identities, and what it means for you to write them?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about a character discovering her aromantic identity and what it means to her, but I didn’t really know what that was going to look like until I started writing. Ingrid’s a lot like me and her experiences with relationships and the discomfort she feels in romantic situations is drawn directly from my life. When I first started writing stories, I didn’t think characters like her would be well received by publishing at all, so to have my editor give me the go-ahead to write the story the way I wanted to was such a freeing experience. I got to follow my own emotional logic instead of trying to piece it together based on how I assumed others might feel. I always knew I wanted Ingrid to make a big decision about her relationship to romance, but the idea to center a queer platonic partnership in the story didn’t occur to me until I was a bit further into the draft. Originally, I had planned to write a sequel which would allow more time and space for that relationship to form, but when my publisher only bought one book, I realized I didn’t want to leave it out in hopes I’d get the opportunity to write the sequel. I didn’t want to leave that up to chance and not get to write this relationship, so I reconfigured the story and gave certain characters more page-time to make sure they got the story I intended.

The first time I interviewed you, I asked how you grew through writing Tarnished Are the Stars and I want to ask you the same question again. Do you think you grew more through writing Tarnished or FBH?

I definitely grew a lot while writing Fire Becomes Her. As a writer, certainly, but also as a person. I always find things out about myself through writing that I don’t really anticipate. With Tarnished, I learned a lot about my own identity on the ace and aro spectrums, but with Fire Becomes Her I was surprised to find some of my own feelings about gender, pronouns, and perception echoed in one of the other characters in the book, Alex. I knew I was a lot like Ingrid and her journey would mirror parts of my own, but I did not expect to see myself in him and his non-binary experience. It forced me to think a lot about myself and my relationship to gender in ways that deepened my understanding of my own identity. 

How would you describe FBH in one sentence, to someone who hasn’t read it yet?

An ambitious girl must choose between her head and her heart during an election where magic buys votes.

What do you think would happen in an interaction between the main characters of Tarnished are the Stars, and Fire Becomes Her? Do you think your characters would get along?

I don’t think Ingrid would get along very well with any of the main characters of Tarnished, to be honest. She’s a little too prickly in a very specific way for them. She and Eliza might do okay, but I think Eliza would see right through her and Ingrid wouldn’t love that. I do think Charlotte and Nathaniel would get along swimmingly, and Louise and Anna would be like two angry peas in a pod.

And lastly, unrelated to your writing, but what are some books that you’ve enjoyed reading in the past few months?

The last year or so has brought some amazing books to my shelves. A few favorites are In The Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland, The Mermaid The Witch and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath.

Ha you read Fire Becomes Her, or heard of the author? What did you think of the interview? Are you interested in picking up this book?

My 5 Favorite LGBTQ+ Books

Given that it is still pride month, I figured I would publish a list of my five favorite books with queer rep in them! I feel like I haven’t done a list post in a long while so I thought I’d start with this! I clearly don’t know what to say in my intros, given the blatant repetition, so I’m just going to hop right into this!
(I am now going through my books and wondering how the heck I’m going to be able to choose five)

Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender

I have talked about this book before and I will continue to talk about this book because I very much love this book.
This book is all about exploring identity and who you are and it’s also just queer teens being happy. But it also explores a lot of important issues and a lot of unfortunate issues that black, trans, queer teens face.
When I picked this thing up, I did not at all expect it to be such a good book. I usually read fantasy back then (though now I’m in a realistic fiction kick) so I sort of just read it because it was there. But all the representation felt so natural and the book itself is just so well written and an excellent story that I loved it so much. Would 100% recommend to anyone looking for a book.

Loveless, by Alice Oseman

There are a lot of mixed reviews on this one but I loved this book and I would still recommend it to anyone. It’s okay if you didn’t like it, etc but…I did. Clearly.
I’d probably go into why it actually is a good book and defend it from other people’s views but given that this is where I’m supposed to say why I like this book not talk about why others don’t, I won’t.
Anyways. I loved this book because it had aroace rep, which is not often seen at all, and I thought this rep was great (though some people will say otherwise). But the thing I loved most about this book was the friendships. Georgia, the MC had AWESOME friends who totally stick with her through everything and I just loved seeing that so much since awesome friendships like that are so rare in books (you’ve heard me say that 1,000 times before, I bet).

I’ll Be the One, by Lyla Lee

This book is basically a ray of sunshine.
Seriously, this thing is such an amazing book to read. Though it hits on a lot of hard topics and is super important for that, it’s also able to keep up a lot of fun and sweet moments. I really enjoyed this book just through and through and would highly encourage everyone to read it! There’s some awesome rep in it (MC and LI are both bi, there are two side characters in an F/F relationship) and it’s just such an amazing book.

Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore

This is not a book that I have talked about on my blog at all, mainly because I just read it, but it was AWESOME. There were honestly a few parts that weren’t perfect but overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved to see all the friendships, especially, because it was super cool throughout the book to see how Carey slowly gains more and more friends who help them and they become closer with the friends that they have.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

This is another one that I read super recently and enjoyed. Just like a lot of the other books, there are some important discussions in it and also I learned a lot about HIV which is not something I knew ANYTHING about before and I’m glad this book is the one that I read to teach me about it because there is a lot of stigma around it and by reading this book to learn about it, I never fell into that stigma in the first place.
The main character’s sexuality is not the main focus of the book but throughout the book she is questioning and ends up figuring out her sexuality in the end, and also her two closest friends are both queer.

I have literally no idea how every single one of these books ended up being realistic fiction given that I barely read that genre until late April (though let it be known that I’d read two of these before then).

That’s all for this post! What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ books? Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments, I’d love to speak with you!
As always, stay safe and keep on reading!