Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for LOVELESS by Alice Oseman! I’m so excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today, AND more information about the author and tour, PLUS you can enter the giveaway to win a print copy!Loveless by Alice Oseman
Published on March 1, 2022 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Aspec, YA, Romance
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, TikTok
This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn't understand why she can't crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She's surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It's not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum -- coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she's been told since birth isn't easy -- there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia's determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends.
There were literally three separate couples sitting around the fire making out, like some sort of organized kissing orgy, and half of me was like, ew, and the other half was like, wow, I sure do wish that was me.
To be fair, it’s probably what I should have expected from our prom after-party. I don’t go to parties very often. I hadn’t been aware this actually was the culture.
I retreated from the fire pit and headed back towards Hattie Jorgensen’s giant country house, holding up my prom dress in one hand so I didn’t trip, and dropped Pip a message.
i could not approach the fire and retrieve the marshmallows because there were people kissing around it
How could you betray and disappoint me like this Georgia
do you still love me or is this the end
When I entered the kitchen and located Pip, she was leaning against a corner cupboard with a plastic cup full of wine in one hand and her phone in the other. Her tie was half tucked into her shirt pocket, her burgundy velvet blazer was now unbuttoned, and her short curls were fluffy and loose, no doubt due to all the dancing at prom.
“You OK?” I asked.
“Might be a tad drunk,” she said, her tortoiseshell glasses slipping down her nose. “And also Ido fucking love you.”
“More than marshmallows?”
“How could you ask me to make such a choice?”
I slung my arm round her shoulders and we leaned back together against the kitchen cupboards. It was almost midnight, music was thumping fromHattie’s living room, and the sound of our classmates chatting and laughing and shouting and screaming resonated from every corner of the building.
“There were three separate couples making out around the fire,” I said.“Like, in unison.”
“Kinky,” said Pip.“I sort of wished I was one of them.”
She gave me a look. “Ew.”
“I just want to kiss someone,” I said, which was odd, because I wasn’t even drunk. I was driving Pip and Jason home later.
“We can make out if you want.”
“That wasn’t what I had in mind.”
“Well, Jason’s been single for a few months now. I’m sure he’d be up for it.”
“Shut up. I’m serious.”
I was serious. I really, really wanted to kiss someone. I wanted to feel a little bit of prom-night magic.
“Tommy, then,” said Pip, raising an eyebrow and smiling evilly. “Maybe it’s time to confess.”
I’d only ever had a crush on one person. His name was Tommy. He was the “hot boy” of our school year—the one who could actually have been a model if he’d wanted. He was tall and skinny and conventionally attractive in a Timothée Chalamet sort of way, though I didn’t really understand why everyone was in love with Timothée Chalamet. I had a theory that a lot of people’s “celebrity crushes” were faked just to fit in.
Tommy had been my crush ever since I was in Year 7 and a girl had asked me, “Who d’you think is the hottest boy at Truham?” She’d shown me a photoon her phone of a group of the most popular Year 7 boys at the boys’ grammar over the road, and there was Tommy right in the middle. I could tell he was the most attractive one—I mean, he had hair like a boy-band star and was dressed pretty fashionably—so I’d pointed and said him. And I guess that was that.
Almost seven years later, I’d never actually talked to Tommy. I’d never even really wanted to, probably because I was shy. He was more of an abstract concept—he was hot, and he was my crush, and nothing was going to happen between us, and I was perfectly fine with that.
I snorted at Pip. “Obviously not Tommy.”
“Why not? You like him.”
The thought of actually following through on the crush made me feel extremely nervous.
I just shrugged at Pip, and she dropped the discussion.
Pip and I started to walk out of the kitchen, arms still slung round each other, and into the hallway of Hattie Jorgensen’s fancy country home. People were slumped on the floor in the corridor in their prom dresses and tuxes, cups and food scattered around. Two people were kissing on the stairs, and I looked at them for a moment, unsure whether it was disgusting or whether it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen in my life. Probably the former.
“You know what I want?” Pip said as we stumbled into Hattie’s conservatory and collapsed onto a sofa.
“What?” I said.
“I want someone to spontaneously perform a song to declare their love for me.”
She gave this some thought.
“Your Song from Moulin Rouge.” She sighed. “God, I am sad, gay, and alone.”
“Solid song choice, but not as attainable as a kiss.”
Pip rolled her eyes. “If you want to kiss someone that much, just go talk to Tommy. You’ve liked him for seven years. This is your last chance before we go to uni.”
She might have had a point.
If it was going to be anyone, it was going to be Tommy. But the idea filled me with dread.
I folded my arms. “Maybe I could kiss a stranger instead.”
“No, you’re not. You’re not like that.”
“You don’t know what I’m like.”
“Yes, I do,” said Pip. “I know you more than anyone.”
She was right. About knowing me and about me not being like that and about tonight being my last chance to confess the crush I’d had for seven years, and the last chance to kiss someone while I was still a schoolkid, while I had a chance to feel the teenage-dream excitement and youthful magic that everyone else seemed to have had a little taste of.
It was my last chance to feel that.
So maybe I would have to bite the bullet and kiss Tommy after all.
I loved romance. Always had. I loved Disney (especially the underappreciated masterpiece that is The Princess and the Frog). I loved fanfiction (even fanfics for characters I knew nothing about, but Draco/Harry or Korra/Asami were my comfort reads). I loved thinking about what my own wedding would be like (a barn wedding, with autumn leaves and berries, fairy lights and candles, my dress—lacy and vintage-looking, my soon-to-be-spouse crying, my family crying, me crying because I’m so, so happy, just, so happy that I have found the one).
I just. Loved. Love.
I knew it was soppy. But I wasn’t a cynic. I was a dreamer, maybe, who liked to yearn and believed in the magic of love. Like the main guy from Moulin Rouge, who runs away to Paris to write stories about truth, freedom, beauty, and love, even though he should probably be thinking about getting a job so he can actually afford to buy food. Yeah. Definitely me.
I probably got this from my family. The Warrs believed in forever love— my parents were just as in love now as they were back in 1991 when my mum was a ballet teacher and my dad was in a band. I’m not even joking.They were literally the plot of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” but with a happy ending.
Both sets of my grandparents were still together. My brother married his girlfriend when he was twenty-two. None of my close relatives had been divorced. Even most of my older cousins had at least partners, if not whole families of their own.
I hadn’t ever been in a relationship.
I hadn’t even kissed anyone.
Jason kissed Karishma from my history class on his Duke of Edinburgh expedition and dated a horrible girl called Aimee for a few months until he realized she was a knob. Pip Kissed Millie from the Academy at a house party and also Nicola from our youth theatre group at the dress rehearsal for Dracula. Most people had a story like that- a silly kiss with someone they sort of had a crush on, or didn’t really, and it didn’t necessarily go anywhere, but that was part of being a teenager.
Most people aged eighteen have kissed someone. Most people aged eighteen have had at least one crush, even if it’s on a celebrity. At least half of everyone I knew had actually had sex, although some of those people were probably lying, or they were just referring to a really terrible hand job or touching a boob.
But it didn’t bother me, because I knew my time would come. It did for everyone. You’ll find someone eventually- that was what everyone said, and they were right. Teen romances only worked out in movies anyway.
All I had to do was wait, and my big love story would come. I would find the one. We would fall in love. And I’d get my happily ever after.
Pip, Jason, and Me
“Georgia has to kiss Tommy,” Pip said to Jason as we slumped down next to him on a sofa in Hattie’s living room.
Jason, who was in the middle of a game of Scrabble on his phone, frowned at me. “Can I ask why?”
“Because it’s been seven years and I think it’s time,” said Pip. “Thoughts?”
Jason Farley-Shaw was our best friend. We were kind of a trio. Pip and I went to the same all-girls school and met Jason through the annual school plays, where they’d always get a few of the boys from the boys’ school to join in, then after a couple of years he joined our school, which was mixed in the sixth form, and joined our youth theatre group too.
No matter what production we put on, whether it was a musical or a play, Jason usually played essentially the same role: a stern older man. This was mostly because he was tall and broad, but also because, at first glance, he did give off a bit of a strict dad vibe. He’d been Javert in Les Mis, Prospero in The Tempest, and the angry father, George Banks, in Mary Poppins.
Despite this, Pip and I had quickly learned that underneath his stern exterior, Jason was a very gentle, chilled out dude who seemed to enjoy our company more than anyone else’s. With Pip being a harbinger of chaos and my tendency to feel worried and awkward about pretty much everything, Jason’s calmness balanced us our perfectly.
“Uh,” Jason said, glancing at me. “Well… it doesn’t really matter what I think about it.”
“I don’t know if I want to kiss Tommy,” I said.
Jason looked satisfied and turned back to Pip. “There you go. Case closed. You have to be sure about these things.”
“No! Come on!” Pip squawked and turned to face me. “Georgia. I know you’re shy. But it’s totally normal to be nervous about crushes. This is literally the final chance you have to confess your feelings, and even if he rejects you, it doesn’t matter, because he’s going to uni on the other side of the country.”
I could have pointed out that this meant a relationship would be pretty difficult should he respond positively, but I didn’t.
“Remember how nervous I was telling Alicia I liked her?” Pip continued. “And then she was like, sorry, I’m straight, and I cried for, like, two months, but look at me now! I’m thriving!” She kicked one leg into the air to make her point. “This is a no-consequence scenario.”
Jason was looking at me though all of this, like he was trying to suss out how I felt.
“I dunno,” I said. “I just… don’t know. I guess I do like him.”
A flash of sadness crossed Jason’s features, but then it was gone.
“Well,” he said, looking down at his lap, “I guess you should just do what you want.”
“I guess I do want to kiss him,” I said.
I looked around the room and, sure enough, Tommy was there, standing in a small group of people near the doorway. He was just far enough away that I couldn’t quite focus on the details of his face- he was just the concept of a person, a blob, a generic attractive guy. My seven-year crush. Seeing him so far away and blurry took me right back to being in Year 7, pointing at a photo of a boy I thought was probably attractive.
And that made up my mind. I could do this.
I could kiss Tommy.
I’d had times when I’d wondered whether I’d end up with Jason. I’d had times when I’d wondered whether I’d end up with Pip too. If our lives were in a movie, at least two of us would have got together.
Bud I’d never felt any romantic feelings for either of them, as far as I could tell.
Pip and I had been friends for almost seven years. From day one of Year 7, when we’d been sat together in our homeroom seating plan and forced to tell each other three interesting facts about ourselves. We learned we both wanted to be actors and that was it. Friends.
Pip was always more sociable, funnier, and generally more interesting than me. I was the listener, the supportive one when she’d had her am-I-gay crisis at the age of fourteen, and then her I-don’t-know-whether-to-do-acting-or-science crisis last year, and then her I-really-want-to-cut-my-hair- short-but-I’m-scared crisis several months ago.
Jason and I had met each other later, but we bonded faster than I’d ever thought possible, given my poor track record for forming friendships. He was the first person I met who I could sit quietly with and it wouldn’t feel awkward. I didn’t feel like I had to try to be funny and entertaining with him; I could just be me, and he wouldn’t dislike me because of it.
We’d all had what felt like a thousand sleepovers with each other. I knew exactly where the broken springs were in Pip’s bed. I knew that Jason’s favorite glass in my cupboard was a faded Donald Duck one I got at Disneyland when I was twelve. Moulin Rouge was the movie we always watched when we hung out—we all knew it word for word
There were never any romantic feelings between Pip, Jason, and me. But what we did have—a friendship of many years—was just as strong as that, I think. Stronger, maybe, then a lot of couples I knew.
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What do you think about Loveless? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!