Book Rating: 4.5 Stars
TV Series Rating: 4.5 Stars
THE BOOK REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE TV SERIES – THE SERIES REVIEW WILL BE AS SPOILER FREE AS POSSIBLE!!
Synopsis: Charlie is an openly gay, easily stressed, over-thinker. Nick is a soft-hearted rugby player. When the two meet in form room they become friends, but something more seems to grow between them.
CW/TW (for books and show): Mentions of transphobia/homophobia/bullying/forced kissing/mentions of poor mental health/Eating disorders/mentions of self-harm/biphobia/mentions of being outed.
Rep: Lesbian couple, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters. Inclusive PoC cast.
So I read volumes 1-4 of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman and loved them! I’d been meaning to pick up this series for a while but the release of the show motivated me to do so before starting it on Netflix!
The graphic novel series is definitely one I wished I picked up earlier – and is a series teenage me wished she could have read. So we follow Nick and Charlie who meet by chance after being assigned seats next to each other. Charlie is a year 10 student who is openly gay and has been bullied in the past because of it. But, Charlie is a sweet and friendly boy. Nick is a year 11 student and star of the school rugby team. He is soft-hearted and sweet and ends up trying figuring out his sexuality.
The plot follow the two boys as they spend more time together and start to fall for each other. It was so fantastic to read a series that follows an inclusive cast of characters who are open about or working through their different sexualities. Charlie is open about his identity but is also dealing with other personal issues over the course of the series from his mental health to his physical health. I thought these issues were handled nicely and sensitively, but also lightly without dismissing it. Nick is not certain about his sexuality – his feelings for Charlie leaves him confused and trying to figure out if he is gay or bisexual. Nick’s story of figuring out his sexuality was dealt with in a realistic way that is easy to connect with and feels very natural and real. I really felt for his story. I also really liked how their relationship is explored throughout the novel, slowly growing closer, actively trying to be better together, and supportive of each other in different ways.
Another thing I really loved was the friendships in the series. We get a great cast of characters – Darcy and Tara, they are girlfriends and a great source of support for Nick and Charlie. They are two excellent characters that I really loved and thought they had a great dynamic. Elle is another excellent character who transfers from the boy’s school to its girl school counterpart. Elle is a really sweet character and I love her dynamic with the friend group but especially with Tao, the two have so much fun and its so great to see. I also loved the little side story of the teachers we get later on in the series and other characters such as Aled!
The novel has some really touching and heartfelt moments and yet still deals with some more serious and darker themes in a sensitive way while keeping the series a light story.
Overall I really loved this graphic novel series. I loved the representation we get throughout the book, the inclusivity, and the sensitivity. The plot was sweet, the friendships were brilliant, and the relationships were nicely developed.
TV Series Review:
After reading the Graphic Novels I binge watched the Heartstopper Netflix series! I have to say the Netflix adaptation was a really good one – it followed the novels quite faithfully and the changes made complimented the story and didn’t take from it at all.
The plot is the same ad the graphic novels, we deal with friendships, relationships and sexuality. We still get Nick, Charlie, Elle, Tao, Darcy and Tara – which I absolutely loved! The dynamics between all of the characters worked wonderfully. The tv series stops early-ish in the graphic novel series and I really really hope we get a season two because the cast just bring so much life to the characters and the story and capture everything so sensitively.
Much like with the graphic novel, this is the queer/lgbtq+ series that I wish I had seen as a teenager. It perfectly captures what the graphic novel achieved and the cast is truly amazing – it may be one of my favourite book to tv adaptations I have seen.
Overall, both the graphic novel series and tv series of Heartstopper are truly great and sweet. I am so glad I picked them both up and really hope we get a season 2 because I would love to see more of the graphic novel come to life with this amazing cast.