Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Edition: Hodder Children’s Books, February 7th 2019, 288 pages
After being outed the previous year, Year 10 Charlie Spring is finally free from the bullying, and maybe sort-of-has-a-boyfriend. Nick Nelson, a cheerful Year 11 rugby player, knows of Charlie, but the two have never spoken. Until they’re sat next to each other in their new form group.
An unexpected friendship blossoms, and soon enough, the two are best friends… or more?
There is no way for me to talk about this graphic novel without sounding like a massive cheese ball because I love Alice Oseman and all her characters [see my I Was Born For This review!]
Back when Heartstopper was first being released online in 2016, I supported Alice on Patreon. I’ve literally been here since 2015, silently hoping for a continuation of the story of at least one of the characters from Solitaire, one of my all-time favourite novels. Hearstopper is like a dream come true for me.
I splashed some extra cash just to get the signed and doodled edition of this from Waterstones!
Forcing myself to stop gushing about Alice Oseman for once, I guess I’ll start with the characters/plot. In this first volume, the main focus is on the development of Charlie and Nick’s characters and personalities, rather than a larger storyline that becomes more prominent in the second volume. We spend a lot of time getting to know these characters, how they feel and process things, so the changes that happen in their character feel significant. The development of their friendship into something more is done so gradual, and is very well paced. You never feel like you or the characters are being rushed, and I love that.
Although I’ve read way past what will be the third volume on patreon, reading this felt like such a new experience. You can see how much Alice’s art has changed since the comic originally started, where she’s made edits to drawings and scenes to translate it into graphic form. She even included a little diagram she initially did of their first meeting that I loved, along with a letter about the start of Hearstopper.
There are some panels of Charlie that are so breathtaking, you can genuinely feel his emotions coming off the page. The ‘action’ scenes- rugby, fights, etc.- are all drawn so well and fit the pacing, and Alice strikes a perfect balance between the more jokey panels and the serious ones. Also, it’s always a treat seeing Tori pop up, just so everyone knows. I love her! All I want to do is re-read Solitaire!
I also really love the way this was packaged. The paper is thick, so it feels great to hold and flip the pages of; all of the lines and pages come together and are printed well; the colours on the cover are also amazing. It’s great to see this come together printed so beautifully! I wish more companies would print their comics/graphic novels with thick paper, to be honest.
It’s just so amazing that Alice published Solitaire as her debut, and now she’s got a 4 volume deal for Heartstoppers, based off two characters in Solitaire. An ICON.
I love this graphic novel. It’s soft, the characters are wonderful, and it only gets better [trust me]. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it!