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…
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.