‘Heartstopper Volume One’ by Alice Oseman – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

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…

My Review

Heartstopper Volume One is a bound collection of the tumblr comic that Alice Oseman created featuring the love story between the supporting characters, Nick and Charlie, from her debut novel Solitaire. (Click here to read it online)

I guess I should preface my review by mentioning that I’m not exactly really into graphic novels. I’ve read Saga Volume 1 and The Complete Maus and that’s it since childhood when I did read the Beano comic whenever I could (which wasn’t that regular an occurrence) and adored the graphic novel of Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

So I’m not exactly a fan of graphic novels is what I’m saying.

And reading this hasn’t altered my opinion in one regard or another.
Heartstopper is really cute. Can’t deny that.
And the drawings are also cute…
But it never truly moved me? I found myself not really paying much attention to the drawings really because there was nothing in them that particularly struck me. So the imagery in many ways felt quite redundant to me… Don’t get me wrong, it’s all rather lovely and very nicely put together but there isn’t one drawing from the book that has seared itself into my brain. Not one drawing that made me go woah this is beautiful, or this is truly a pivotal part of the story etc etc. Instead the images just all blended together too much for me.

I think I love words too much. Words to me create their own abstract image in my head and that’s where I get the true emotion of the work. I think that’s why I’ve never truly understood visual art like painting and sculpture etc. Yes I have my favourites that I find beautiful to look at but I always find myself searching for the emotion and frequently coming up empty handed.

So in many ways my rating of Heartstopper is very much affected by my own limitations of interpretation. It’s too immediately visual for me.

So relying on the story alone my rating comes up at just an average three stars. I love that this book is diverse with its LGBTQ+ theme but the story was just too bland for me. I didn’t get the feels I wanted to feel. Characters felt underdeveloped. The dialogue too spartan.

I still would recommend this to anyone who likes graphic novels and is in the mood for an incredibly sweet love story but I don’t think this book is as memorable as I had thought it would be.

Three stars

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14 thoughts on “‘Heartstopper Volume One’ by Alice Oseman – Book Review

  1. Great honest review, Emer! Although I’m a big lover of graphic novels, I do get what you mean. I’ve gotten emotional over characters and have squealed with love over their stories but not many have the ability to make me very emotional (I think Saga is the only one I’ve read that made me cry at the end HAHA). It’s good you gave this a go though, and three stars isn’t all that bad considering! I’m still quite excited to read this one though. I’ve heard it’s SUPER cute and with all the terrifying reads I’m planning this month, I think I might just cave and finally get it 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Emer, I can get what you mean with visual versus written mediums. I kind of have had the opposite problem lol, it takes a lot of time to feel comfortable in visualizing written word and being that immersed and visual is easy to coast through. Never thought before of how the opposite can happen. It’s great that you try to venture into those other mediums anyway, hope you find a really fantastically effective one someday. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just think I have too abstract a connection with words and storytelling. It’s probably why I don’t like tv or film adaptations of my bookish favs. I just associate words with colour and emotion in my mind’s eye so anything that interferes with that is a little too disconcerting to me. But it’s really interesting that you’re the opposite. I love reading about your take on graphic novels so much. Thanks Kitty :)))))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry this wasn’t what you’d hoped it to be! I adored it, but I quite enjoy minimalistic artwork without much colour so maybe that’s why? Nick gave me all of the FEELS ❤ Each to their own though! Lovely review Emer!

    Liked by 1 person

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