Throughout June, GeekMom celebrates Pride Month with lots of LGBTQ content. Follow the Pride Month tag to find all the content in one space (including LGBTQ content from previous years) and keep checking back for more throughout the month. Today’s book review is the Heartstopper Series by Alice Oseman.
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Trigger warnings: biphobia, self-harm, eating disorders, some homophobic language.
My first book recommendation for Pride 2021 is one I picked up because it seemed to be haunting me by appearing everywhere I looked! Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is a series of graphic novels about two British teenage boys—openly gay Charlie and apparently straight Nick—navigating their burgeoning relationship.
Nick and Charlie both attend Truham Grammar School for Boys in England where they meet when placed together in the same form group. Nick is immediately friendly which sets Charlie on edge given that Nick has a reputation of being “one of the lads,” but they quickly develop a close friendship forged around Mario Kart and playing with Nick’s dog Nellie. Nick even convinces Charlie to join the school’s rugby team and defends him when the other players initially mock his thin physique.
Both boys soon develop obvious feelings for one another but neither is sure how to handle this. Charlie worries that he is letting himself in for inevitable heartache by falling for a straight boy, while Nick is confused about what his feelings mean because… He likes girls, right? As the two become closer, both Nick and Charlie have to figure out exactly where they want to go from here.
The first Heartstopper volume does end somewhat abruptly but I quickly picked up the second and third volumes from my local library and volume four was published in May. You can also read the entire series online for free on Tumblr, Tapas, or Webtoon. Alice Oseman has written several standalone novels that all take place in the same universe as Heartstopper with many shared characters; these include Solitaire, This Winter, and Nick and Charlie.
I absolutely fell in love with Heartstopper, pretty much from the first page. Nick and Charlie are both wonderfully relatable characters and their friendship and subsequent romance are so cute. I went to an English grammar school so reading this brought back many nostalgic feelings too. The series has also recently been picked up by Netflix as an eight-episode live-action show that I hope will maintain the sweet and almost sappy nature of the graphic novels.