I always thought there were two types of book which allowed for social commentary on absentee parents, broken friendships, and the prospect of new romance. Those that allowed characters to breathe, reflect and learn. And those that rush through the narrative at breakneck speed.
Somehow, Love is for Losers does both.
‘Mum’s a docter first and a mum second. I’ve always known that. And I stopped doing goodbyes a long time ago.’
The day by day structure allows the reader the plough through the narrative, whilst creating an image of isolation and abandonment. Phoebe is not a happy teenager. Her mum has prioritised her calling as a ‘doctor without borders’, her best friend has replaced her with Tristan (the new boyfriend who can’t ride a bicycle (I don’t really get why this is such a big thing for Phoebe)), and she has to get the bus to school.
The style of writing feels like it has been stripped directly from my teenage journals, and it all feels very ‘Adrian Mole’ and ‘Bridget Jones’. Everything is perfectly curated to remind you how rubbish it is being a hormonal teenager.
I suppose I could have watched Polly and Tristan make out while eating my sandwich, but then there’s the gag reflex.
One criticism I had was the slander against the Lush staff. I will not have the peppy people at Lush besmirched. They’re smothered in a scented fog for hours at a time, washing people’s hands and getting covered in glitter. If you think they’re intense, it’s because they’ve not smelled unperfumed air for days, and they’re busy trying to provide products that don’t hurt the planet. Cut them some slack.
Overall this is a contemporary, docile teen drama that doesn’t isolate New Adult or more mature readers. The voices are authentic, if a little pessimistic. It has a convincing narrative and a protagonist with agency. And you can’t overlook the importance of representation included and the friendly and stylised design of the page. I’ve enjoyed it.