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Book/Series Review: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

**May contain spoilers for Volumes 1-3**

Lately, I’ve been in a major reading slump. Now that classes have started up again and there’s required reading, doing it for enjoyment has gotten a LOT more difficult. While scrolling through my bookish Instagram (@tessasreads, a little shameless plug), I found a lot of reviewers discussing the graphic novel series Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. I’ll be quick to admit that I typically don’t reach for graphic novels. At times, I find graphic novels really difficult to follow, and despite them being quick reads, I get agitated too quickly trying to figure out how they’re supposed to be read. Luckily, Heartstopper was incredibly straightforward with its formatting, which made the actual reading experience enjoyable. 

As for the storyline of Heartstopper, the series follows two boys, Charlie and Nick, who start off as friends. They gradually get closer throughout the first volume and, as you could probably guess, end up falling for each other. Of the three volumes I’ve read (with more being available on Oseman’s Webtoon), I have absolutely fallen in love with these two characters. From watching Charlie cope with his feelings toward Nick before they confess to each other, to seeing Nick figure out his sexuality and eventually come out as bi, I found myself relating to both of them in various ways. As a young queer person, seeing that my experiences are shared by others, even in a fictional form, is comforting in a way that is nearly indescribable. 

Now, although the writing itself is beautiful, I also want to take time to mention the absolutely adorable artistic style of the books. Oseman’s expressions and fairly simplistic style make each panel easy on the eye, but interesting enough to want to continue reading. Not to mention, the use of monochromatic palettes makes the experience even more enjoyable. There aren’t any absurdly bright colors to distract from the story being told, which is really nice from a reader’s perspective. Overall, I really loved the Heartstopper series. The characters were lovable, the storyline was easy to follow, and the read was super quick. I’m finally getting back into my usual reading habits thanks to Oseman’s work, and I’m really looking forward to supporting her as more volumes come out. Her work is lovely and brings a lot of important issues like homophobia and sexual assault to the forefront without making them the sole purpose of her story, along with happy endings for queer individuals being the end result. I can only hope she continues to release lovely stories similar to Heartstopper in the years to come.

Tessa is a sophomore journalism and theater double major at SUNY Oswego. They love reading, hanging out with friends, and crocheting when not doing homework. They also adore theatre, and are hoping to get more engaged with the art as they go through college.
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