This week, I explain:
- I am a complete romantic and can’t stop myself from reading love stories
- Why this is such a good recommendation for LGBTQ+ and Allied teens
- That British authors writing about schools and not including school uniforms irritates me
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is a webcomic, available online here in a serialised version, or as a comic book in print from all good bookshops.
I will be talking about Heartstopper Volume 1.
What it’s about
Heartstopper is about Nick and Charlie, two teenage boys at an all-boys Grammar School. They meet one day and become unlikely friends.
As the story progresses, they become closer and start to become more to each other than simply friends.
I first encountered this as a physical book, which I devoured, and I wanted more. It was only once I’d read it that I discovered it was part of an on-going series and, not only that, the comic was available for free online. You can tell I’m new to webcomics.
The stories told in the Heartstopper volumes are the back-story for Nick and Charlie who are characters in Alice Oseman’s debut novel, Solitaire (2014). As I said, I didn’t know any of this when I picked up Volume 1 and read it, so you don’t need to know anything about the novel before you get to this.
3 Reasons you should read Heartstopper
There are many reasons why you should read Heartstopper but these are the ones I think are most important:
1. It’s about true love!
I have to admit, I’m a complete sucker for a romance, and this comic is about two boys who are starting to fall in love.
I’m basically already sold.
It’s cute and both boys are utterly adorable. You fall in love with both of them and absolutely root for them all the way through.
Heartstopper Volume 1 is about the two of them meeting and becoming friends, and struggling to commit to more, but the following volumes are about Nick and Charlie in a committed, loving relationship and the day-to-day trials and joys which that brings. As a romantic at heart, I like the following volumes more (so far).
2. It’s realistic
It’s not some grand overarching plot about overthrowing dictators, Chosen Ones or building the greatest love of all time. It’s about two normal, lovely, flawed people finding love together.
The comic focuses on random days, trips, events, and moments in their relationship and as they develop as people. It shows how all the little things people do make up their life.
I particularly like that it’s realistic, even down to the school uniforms they wear. It irritates me when British writers depict school pupils wearing non-uniform, like they’ve forgotten eleven years of scratchy collars, ties and constantly being told to tuck their shirt in from their own school days.
3. It covers some major themes in an accessible way
The most obvious themes to begin with are LGBTQ+ and the comic depicts a wide range of people with various sexualities.
Oseman is outspoken about this on social media, and reinforces the idea of acceptance in her literary work.
I particularly like this because, although she clearly depicts the difficulties of being anything other than cis-gendered and heterosexual, she doesn’t dwell on those difficulties. She balances them out with moments of joy, acceptance and positivity.
On the webcomic, there are trigger warnings for each instalment that requires them, in case you’re worried about encountering something you’d rather not.
If you’re looking for something to give to teens, this is one I would highly recommend.
Let me know what you think of Heartstopper Volume 1
If you’ve read it, let me know what you think. And if you’ve read Solitaire, let me know how quickly I need to bump that up my To Be Read pile.
If you have any other, similar recommendations then get in touch – I’m always looking for more sweet, funny, positive stories!
Leave a comment below or follow me on Twitter @AlisonJanetBro1.
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I hope you give Heartstopper a go and love it as much as I did!
If you want to read more about positive LGBTQ+ representation in fiction, check out my review of Kings of the Wyld here.