Love is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann

I like YA books, but no other narrator has ever felt as authentically fifteen as Phoebe, the voice of Love is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann. Slang, text-speak, cringe, angst, and a heaping helping of dense obliviousness all combine for a laugh-out-loud, queer, teen, and generally updated retelling of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Phoebe is living in London with her mum’s best friend Kate (a Persian cat mom who runs a charity shop), AGAIN, since her mum is a doctor with Medecins Internationale and has run off (AGAIN) to help disaster victims. Adding to Phoebe’s feelings of abandonment is a rift with her best friend Polly after Polly finally gets a boyfriend (Tristan, who’s so useless he can’t even ride a bike) and won’t talk about anything else (when she even remembers Phoebe at all). Phoebe has vowed to never get emotionally attached, since falling in love is such a degrading loss of sanity (and frankly gross to look at – who makes out in public?). And that could’ve been the end of it, until one of Kate’s designer Persians escapes while in heat, costing Kate a lot of money she could’ve charged for full pedigree Persian kittens. Determined to pay her back, Phoebe goes out to get a job, ending up working at Kate’s charity shop (humiliating) where she comes face-to-face with Emma, who’s got the bluest eyes Phoebe has ever seen, not to mention beauty and class…

Not only is this book funny, but it delves into a ton of tough topics including loss, grief, selfishness, community, how to be a good friend, emotions, heritage, and what makes a family. The short-form diary entry structure makes the book more addictive by being quick and immersive to read. Heartwarming, hopeful, and inclusive, this is a book for anyone who’s tried to shut away their feelings to keep from being hurt, AND a good readalike for Fredrik Backman’s many fans (A Man Called Ove is a similar vibe).

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