Heartstopper: Volume One
This book made me so happy. I devoured it within an hour. It may have even been half an hour because I couldn’t not know what would happen between Charlie and Nick. Will they? Won’t they? Will they just interact in the sweetest way possible and crack my heart and make me bleed little smiley face stickers and heart-shaped confetti? Yes. Yes they will.
Heartstopper started its life as a webcomic. Thanks to popular demand, and a well-thought out crowdfunding plan by author Alice Oseman, this caught the eye of a publishing house and -- voila! The world can now be treated to 288 pages of the cutest love story, told through wonderfully drawn comics.
Charlie is the only openly gay boy at his all-boy high school. It’s not easy, but everyone has accepted him for who he is. If they have a problem with him then they stay clear of him. He does have a boyfriend…sort of. The boyfriend just isn’t very nice and has told Charlie to keep him a secret. Enter Nick. Nick is on the rugby team. He has the perfect body and a cute hairstyle and he’s nice to Charlie. Really nice to Charlie. He invites Charlie to join the team. They start hanging out and become firm friends, but Charlie feels something more. And…maybe Nick does too?
Good lord if I could read this book on repeat, I would. It is so nice and a perfect cure to a world which is full of terrible news headlines. The comics are simple and effectively portrayed in a black and white Manga-lite style. And the story is perfect. Nick and Charlie talk and act like real teenagers. They text each other a lot. They lie on their beds and stare at the ceiling, lost deep in angsty thought. And they are awkward as hell. It brought me right back to my own does-he-doesn’t-he-I-like-him-so-much-but-he-doesn’t-know-who-I-am teen years (it also made me really glad that I survived teenhood as well as I did). Once I started reading this, nothing could drag me away. Awkward, because I was at work, but what’s an extended lunch break when a good love story is on the line! Finishing it made me want to hug the book to my chest but also left a gaping ache in me for volume two. I am so solidly invested in the love story of Nick and Charlie now and will be waiting for the next volumes with greedy little grabby hands.
I loved the comic drawings and the way the boys interacted but what I loved the most was that this is a book about two boys having a relationship. Oseman doesn’t make it blatant or gratuitous, she just makes it adorably tentative and normal. Which is exactly what it is. It is a story of friendship, of more than friendship, of crushes, of teenage angst and hormones, and also a story about identity and being true to yourself and how hard that can be sometimes. I didn’t think all of those things could be covered in a little comic book, but Oseman does it and does it so well.
This book has a magic to it that just captured my heart from page one. Take a look at the Amazon look inside page and see what I mean. I am sure Oseman will catch you under her spell, just like me, and will leave you craving more.