Synopsis: Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the second volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.
Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.
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
Last week, I reviewed Heartstopper: Volume One … which I enjoyed so much! What I didn’t mention is that I LITERALLY read volume one and two back to back … in one night … when I was supposed to be sleeping … #bookreaderproblems
These graphic novels are just so heartwarming! I’m a sucker for adorable stories, especially when the winter holidays are coming up! Full of more adorable moments and heart-wrenching discoveries, Oseman’s second book will have you wanting more! I know I do!
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding bullying, harassment and violence.
↠ Pro 1. Oseman’s artwork’s STILL phenomenal, depicting the tone of the plot through her illustrations. Honestly, the best part of her artwork is how it correlate with the tone of the graphic novel, showing that lightness yet still more developed story-line through her drawings. They never feel out of place. If anything, I found Oseman’s artistic talents have grown!
↠ Pro 2. Oseman dives into Charlie and Nick’s stories more, not rushing the story as much as the predecessor. My biggest complaint with volume one was the lack of mundane moments to develop Charlie and Nick’s characters and connection. In volume two, Oseman introduces these elements more through birthday events and movie nights and so forth. These may seem insignificant, but I HONESTLY found these parts made me love and understand Charlie and Nick even more!
↠ Pro 3. Oseman explores MORE social pressures than volume one, developing the plot as well as inviting readers into a relatable story. Volume already addressed a LOT of heavy and sensitive topics, but volume two goes even further by addressing those and many more. But she also looks at the simple and sweet concerns that come with falling in-love and befriending new people, helping break up the story. What I really enjoyed was how she used certain elements to REALLY make the story for personable. From using online tests and web searches to discover your own sexual identity, to being overly concerned about what your crush will think of your new haircut. The WHOLE thing just felt so real and authentic, addressing real and interesting topics that are relevant to many of us in some way.
↠ Pro 4. The exploration of previous and new characters in volume two’s fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all the Charlie and Nick moments. But these new characters REALLY help enhance the story! Some of them have VERY brief cameos in volume one, so I’m glad Oseman re-introduced them AND had an important role for them to play. Some help Charlie and Nick realize that who they are is okay, that having friends who watch your back are important, and that accepting yourself no matter what anyone else thinks will make all the difference. Unfortunately, some of these characters represent the negative parts of humanity, illustrating the existence of prejudice and homophobia in our world. But the REAL heroes of this book are the open-minded and accepting ones, helping Nick and Charlie through their journey.
↠ Woe 1. Similar to volume one, there’s still a REAL lack of dialogue. There were many opportunities where Oseman could’ve explored how the characters are feeling and what they are thinking, but didn’t. Since we don’t really get that “ALL SEEING” perspective, I really wanted Oseman to show us more THROUGH the dialogue.
Volume Two definitely includes more than Volume One, but there’s still not enough to help develop each character and the plot more.
↠ Woe 2. I’m still left feeling that there wasn’t much happening in the story and that the story is unfolding too quickly. Volume Two DEFINITELY worked on this more than Volume One, but it was still not enough. Since the pacing of the story’s pretty fast, there really wasn’t enough time for Oseman to explore more events in the novel. Those cute yet mundane moments at the coffee shop or going shopping together would’ve been PERFECT! There are also a number of times where everything felt REALLY rushed when more time should’ve been given to develop the story and characters more, especially in regards to Nick’s story.
Like its predecessor, Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume Two really captures the life of a teenager, both the grand and harder times. Oseman isn’t afraid to show the world what people really face when it comes to hate and discrimination through her graphic novels. But she also maintains this light-hearted and warm element to the story.
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?