Alice Oseman’s Loveless paves the way for inclusive fiction. Far from the usual sideline representation, this YA novel puts an Asexual Aromantic protagonist in the driving seat.
Loveless radiates the warmth of finding your Queer family and encourages us to widen our definition of soulmates to include platonic friendships, which, as Oseman writes ‘can be just as intense, beautiful and endless as romance’. As the title suggests, false stereotypes brand Asexual lives as Loveless. We must do more to accurately represent Asexuality as valid and fulfilling, something Loveless achieves in a personal and lighthearted way.
The novel successfully depicts the safe space to discover and express one’s self that University can be. This makes Loveless an ideal read for Queer students missing their diverse University community during lockdown.
Oseman’s novel touches on the negative assumption that experimentation is a necessity in discovering sexuality. During her self-questioning, Georgia experimentally kisses two individuals; they are left feeling used and Georgia, repulsed. This narrative can be unhelpful for Ace individuals who feel pressured into normalised ‘experimental student experiences’ that go against their preferences. Thankfully, Oseman acknowledges this; Georgia’s friend realises ‘You know when straight guys find out that a girl is gay and they’re all like ‘haha but you haven’t kissed me so how do you know you’re gay’. That’s basically what I did to you!!!’.
Loveless is brimming with pronoun normalisation and a diverse cast. However, it falls, at times, into the stereotypical. The choice to make Georgia a fanfiction obsessed English studying introvert may be highly resonant for some, but lacking in resonance for others, and the inclusion of text messaging, though representational of our times, can feel forced. But any individual who has questioned their sexuality can find glimpses of themselves in this novel, a comical example being the classic ‘Am I Gay?’ quiz that the Queers of the digital age will know well.
One of Oseman’s characters reminds us that Asexuality is ‘not in films. It’s hardly ever in TV shows, and when it is, it’s some tiny subplot that most people ignore. When it’s talked about in the media, it gets trolled to hell and back. Even some queer people out there think it’s unnatural or just fake’. Loveless is as important a read for non-Ace identifying individuals as for the Asexual community and feels like a step in the right direction for LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
Loveless is available through its publishers website, HarperColins, or all good book retail outlets