Review – Love Is For Losers

Time for another review, I think! This was one of my January reads (you can see them all here), and honestly it was just what I needed. I had a couple of really rough days, both mentally and physically, and this was like a genuine antidote. I really enjoyed just losing myself in a book that was both easy to read, and full of emotion at the same time. It might not be Valentine’s right this moment, but it’s the kind of book to read around this romantic (or not) time.

In this wry and hilarious queer romantic comedy, fifteen-year-old Phoebe realizes that falling in love is maybe not just for losers.

Did you know you can marry yourself? How strange / brilliant is that?

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe thinks falling in love is vile and degrading, and vows never to do it. Then, due to circumstances not entirely in her control, she finds herself volunteering at a local thrift shop. There she meets Emma . . . who might unwittingly upend her whole theory on life.

This is a laugh-out-loud exploration of sexuality, family, female friendship, grief, and community. With the heart and hilarity of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed Sex Education, Wibke Brueggemann’s sex positive debut is required reading for Generation Z teens. Think of this as Bridget Jones’ Diary, if it were written by Bridget’s daughter. 

This young adult novel is written in diary entries – each with a designated hashtag as well as a date – over the course of six months, letting us get to know Phoebe in the most intimate way; via her private thoughts. It’s very cleverly written, from a teenage perspective that could only be written with adult reflection on being a teenager.

Throughout it is genuinely hilarious, making me laugh out loud both at Phoebe’s actions and thoughts, and possibly a little bit because she is as hilariously awkward as I was as a teenager. When the book begins, her best friend, Polly, has Fallen In Love and, as we all know, teenagers who are In Love cannot be physically separated from the person they are In Love with, leaving Phoebe feeling very alone. Between that and her mother leaving on a six month work station, she is feeling very lonely and fed up when she arrives at her godmother Kate’s for that six months that we get to know her over.

When one of Kate’s designer cats, who she had planned on breeding, escapes in heat and ends up knocked up by a non-designer cat, Phoebe feels guilty, and wants to pay Kate back. Kate offers a compromise: Phoebe can work off the hours in volunteering at the charity shop Kate manages. This is where Phoebe meets Emma, and where life changes for her.

It really is beautiful, watching her fall in love without her realising that she is, and again, reading as an adult, you can’t help but smile, remembering falling in love that first time yourself. Throughout, this comes with dips and bumps in the road, and falling in love is never easy – especially when you are absolutely, 100% sure you do not WANT to fall in love.

An easy read, with important subtext, and a reminder that sometimes life throws us just the right curveballs, it was especially amusing to read as someone who didn’t realise she was gay for sure until nearly thirty. I also loved that this book was completely sex positive – both straight and gay – with no shaming teenagers for their natural… inclinations. A great addition to the YA queer fiction that is on our shelves.

Thanks for popping by. Another review will be up again soon!

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