Top critical review
Overdone with a poor story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2022
We should all learn about and respect the identities and preferences that come under the Q+ extension of the grouping LGBT. This novel is about one such identity, where people do not experience sexual or romantic feelings towards others, though they can experience love. If this book helps people with this identity to be proud and happy, and helps others to acknowledge and respect those people, then that is clearly good. However, I don’t think it’s a good novel. The main protagonists, three friends going to university together, are a caricature: pleasure-seeking, self-obsessed, constantly worrying about their identity and neglecting their studies. It is hard to get interested in their personalities or behaviour. I think the essence of the main identity theme – asexuality and aromanticism – could be covered in an interesting short story. Here it is rammed home over more than 400 pages. This makes the story boring, and it doesn’t really pick up through the rather contrived narrative around relationships and a theatre performance. Even the title is misleading: the whole point is that the identity is not loveless! The author also uses the tired and unnecessary mechanism of liberal inclusion of the ‘f’ word. This makes the book unsuitable for younger children who may be drawn to it by their liking of the Heartstopper books and Netflix series. A good topic, but overdone through a poor story not well told.