Well, this series is SO CUTE.
In the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, Charlie is a shy kid who is told to sit next to rugby player Nick in class. They soon become friends, then best friends, sharing more with each other than they have with anyone else. But Charlie, who’s also secretly nursing a crush on Nick, knows it can’t be anything other than friendship. However, Nick is fighting feelings in return, and soon both of them learn about the messy but wonderful ways to love each other.
This is mostly a summary for the first volume in the series, but I’m going to review all three, hopefully avoiding major spoilers along the way.
I really like Nick and Charlie! They’re rather different, but both are so sweet and funny and have fantastic chemistry. The way their feelings developed for each other feels very organic and earnest, and I loved seeing them grow closer. The other characters, especially those you get to know more in the third volume—like Elle and Tao and Tara, and even the teachers—are wonderful and full of life.
This storyline is, for the most part, very wholesome and gentle, but it does touch on several serious topics. There are scenes that deal with homophobia and bullying, scenes where a character is grappling with the reality of coming out as LGBT, and scenes that feature a character talking about self-harm and an eating disorder (nothing is shown visually, though). However, all these scenes are presented with sensitivity, and the characters are supported. The world of Heartstopper is a difficult one sometimes, but it’s also so very kind.
The art style is adorable, too. The characters are expressive, the settings lively, and the action dynamic. I also found the pacing (aided by the visuals, if that makes sense) to be perfect. These are stellar examples of graphic novels.
In the end, the first three volumes of the Heartstopper series are uplifting and sweet, though not without serious moments. I think some aspects of the story could be lingered on more, but it’s not a complete series, so hopefully I’ll get my wish. There’s humor and heart, strength and support, and it’s amazing. The characters are well written, and the story is just so cute! (I know I said that already, but it bears repeating.) I can’t wait for volume four!
Overall rating: 8.8/10 for all three volumes