A review by theengineerisreading
Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann

challenging emotional funny informative relaxing medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


As my first five-star read for 2021, the pressure to write a cohesive review for this book is on.

Love is for Losers is Wibke Brueggemann's debut novel that is set to hit bookshelves in the UK this January 21 and next month (Feb 23) for the rest of the world.

But before I go ahead with my review, I would like to thank MacMillan UK and Wibke herself for sending a proof copy my way in exchange for honest review.

When I heard that this book is pitched as Sex Education but make it in Bridget Jones format, I know that I need to read this ASAP.

The first thing I noticed when I started this book is how the writing style fits my personality. I love reading humorous content and Wibke successfully delivered all the LOL moments in this book through Phoebe Alexandra Davis' complicated character. The way Wibke wrote Phoebe's diary entry feels like me rereading my elementary writings. 

However, the main plot of the book revolves around Phoebe and how she explores her gender, identity, and expression. Phoebe's character develops in an unconventional way and it is evident with the way she sees how the world works and how steady she tries to be by trying to avoid complicating things around her.

Being an only daughter of a humanitarian daughter, Phoebe questions her mother's intention on leaving her alone by letting Phoebe stay in her godmother, Kate, every time she has a work overseas (which is most of the time.) This mother-daughter relationship sub-plot highlights a different kind of interaction and how presence comes to play with attachment.

Speaking of Kate, she is one of the most vibrant side character I encountered. I love reading scenes with Kate on it and the way she handles things with Phoebe is extraordinary. It may appear that Kate's character is too good to be true but she definitely did her best to compensate for her best friend's shortcomings to Phoebe.

It's notable that Wibke writes so well in terms of supporting characters. I like reading about the charity shop group (Kate, James, Emma, Alex, Bill, Melanie, Pat) and the school gang (Polly, Tristan, Miriam.)

Although I admit that Phoebe's character is really annoying at the start with the way she handled Polly and Tristan's relationship and she even mocked Alex (who has Down syndrome) which is unacceptable, I pushed through reading this book because I acknowledge how we have different ways of processing our emotions. Even I, sometimes, have a hard time comprehending why I reacted so badly on specific scenarios because our brain is such a complicated and wondrous mess.

This is one of the greatest challenges with authors - handling the reality about people and how to convince readers about the development of characters that has a bad first impression. I think this book reminded me that people can still change the same with how Phoebe continue to do her best even though she finds it difficult to be responsive to things that include huge changes and/or strong emotion - which is totally valid because I believe that all of us have our own rooms for improving ourselves. I really love how the Wibke captured that and translated it into this lovable chunk of a book. 

If you're looking for a recommended read that involves a teenager exploring sexual orientation, gender, and identity, then this book is perfect for them. 

I hope you give this book a chance because Phoebe, with all her unconventional views, will surely make her way to your heart. 

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