cover image Loveless


Alice Oseman. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-338-75193-2

Combining the plotting of a college sex romp with a queer sensibility that foregrounds aro-ace identity, Oseman’s frank, kindhearted novel follows Georgia Warr, a white British college freshman curious about finding romance of the sort she reads about in fan fiction. As Georgia and her friends—Colombian British Pip, who’s gay, and Jason, who’s white and straight—rehearse a medley of romantic Shakespearean scenes in their theater group, playing Juliet (and, indeed, any attempts at kissing) makes her “feel sort of nauseated.” But Georgia’s not gay, and dating Jason only leads to hurt (his) and confusion (hers). After a lively, candid conversation with her pansexual roommate Rooney, cued white, about wank fantasies, and a crash course in asexuality from college-assigned mentor, nonbinary Sunil, who identifies as homoromantic asexual, Georgia concludes that she is aro-ace: “How could I feel so sad about giving up these things I did not actually want?” she wonders. Gradually, Georgia accepts her identity, finds role models, and puts her energy into friendships—just in time for a rom-com-style denouement that affirms human connection in any form. Oseman maintains an energetic pace while offering realistic and wide-ranging takes on identity, from internalized phobia to true self-love. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)