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YA Book Prize winner is a timely and Illuminating read

Don’t let the melancholic title mislead you, Loveless by Alice Oseman is a novel absolutely brimming with love in a myriad of guises, some of which you may never have considered. Awarded the YA Book Prize 2021 by judges keenly aware of the literary zeitgeist, this warm and engaging story introduces us to Georgia, a young woman coming to terms with her asexuality. A decidedly 21st century campus drama, Loveless contains the classic elements of a coming-of-age tale, while also presenting a welcome challenge to lazy heteronormative thinking.

Part of a tight-knit friendship trio, Georgia loves the harmony of her relationship with chilled Jason and merrily chaotic Pip and is thrilled that they’ve all been accepted into Durham University. An exciting new chapter of her life is beginning but there’s a sex-shaped blot on the landscape. At the ripe old age of eighteen, Georgia has never been kissed and never once experienced the magical spark of sexual attraction. In fact, the whole idea alarms and disgusts her, although without it, surely a loveless future and lonely death awaits.

Fervently hoping that she’s merely one of life’s late bloomers, Georgia begins her hunt for a romantic partner by embracing the whirl of university social life. After some distinctly underwhelming encounters with booze, Tinder, and the ‘sticky, terrifying hellhole of regrets’ that local nightclubs represent, Georgia takes the online Kinsey Scale Test on sexuality, the response planting a seed in her troubled mind.

‘You did not indicate any sexual preferences. Try adjusting your answers.’

As Georgia awakens to the concept of asexuaIity and aromanticism, she begins to consider the very nature of love and the connections she has created with her beloved friends, themselves embroiled in the messy chaos of young relationships and the struggle for self-acceptance. Sparky, humorous, and challenging, Oseman’s exploration of personal identity and modern teen life makes for a unique and illuminating read.

Loveless by Alice Oseman is published by Generic.

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