“You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like. And gay or straight aren’t the only two options.”
Synopsis: Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.
Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…
Age Group & Genre(s): Contemporary, Graphic Novel, LGBTQAI+, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: Multi-First Person
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: 2019 (First published 2018)
Oh boy … it’s been a WHILE since I’ve read a graphic novel. After Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books requested the second volume as her giveaway prize from my 1K giveaway post, I decided I would order the first and second volume for myself as well! Treatin’ yourself is good for the soul!
Anyways, I’m so glad I bought these! Not only are they GORGEOUS on my bookshelf, but the characters are just lovable beings!!
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding bullying, harassment and violence.
↠ Pro 1. The artwork’s absolutely stunning, captivating the reader into this beautiful coming of age and self-discovery story. The drawing of the settings, the characters’ reactions and the characters in general truly bring the whole story to life. Oseman’s also just incredibly talented at that cute yet mature looking artwork style, flowing well with this genre, age group and the essence of the plot.
↠ Pro 2. I love the amount of diverse and in-depth characters in the graphic novel, both the lovable and frustrating ones. Jocks, nerds, band geeks … there’s more to them than these stereotypical labels. Oseman paints these characters with uniqueness, going against the norm and standards in a lot of literature today. The amount of diversity in regards to race and sexuality and ideologies was also refreshing, displaying a true sense of the people in our society today.
Charlie and Nick, our main characters, are also so adorable! I honestly couldn’t get over how much I cared for them and how excited I am to follow their story! It was fantastic seeing how different yet how compassionate and compatible they are for one another. Seeing their growth is bound to be a fun ride in the volumes to come, both together and as individuals.
↠ Pro 3. Though an incredibly adorable love-story, Oseman addresses REAL issues that readers can relate to. Discovery ones sexual identity, dealing with bullies and social pressures, being comfortable in your own skin … there are so many different levels to this story. Oseman provides that opportunity for readers to see that they aren’t alone in their struggles and fears … there are people in the world that TRULY know what they’re going through, and there are people who are willing to help and listen.
↠ Woe 1. The amount of dialogue was a little disappointing. Since graphic novels tend to have a lack of narrative writing parts to the story, the dialogue’s (in my opinion) the next best thing — I find these conversations a real opportunity for readers to get to know the characters.
Maybe this is a graphic novel thing, but I really wanted MORE conversations among the characters … both the main ones and the other characters featured in the story. But it’s PRETTY minimal, almost looking awkward at points on some pages and not flowing with the artwork and story well.
↠ Woe 2. I’m not a fan of the massive timeline jumps throughout the novel … GIVE ME MORE CONTENT! Rather than exploring more of the four months that Charlie and Nick begin to get to know one another, there are these weekly or monthly time jumps. Again, maybe this is a graphic novel thing, but this just really bummed me out. I wanted the novel to explore more of Charlie and Nick growing closer to one another. Days out on weekends, going to events … all those fun things. But the story just moved really fast, sometimes making it feel as though not much was really happening?
Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume One is such an adorable and fun read! With beautiful illustrations and the cutest main characters, there isn’t much NOT to love about this story. I do wish the author explored more in the novel, but I feel that this is a solid start to a graphic novel series.
I DO recommend this novel if you enjoy:
↠ Diverse characters
↠ Exploring both light-hearted moments and serious undertones
↠ A quick and fun read
↠ Novels with artwork inside
I DON’T recommend this novel if you dislike:
↠ Fast moving plotlines
↠ A lack of dialogue and narrative
Have you read Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume One?