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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