Heartstopper, Book #1
Heat Factor: First kiss
Character Chemistry: There are so many blushing faces images. It’s adorable.
Plot: Charlie, a nerd, is seated next to rugby lad Nick in class, and their unlikely friendship develops into a troublesome crush
Overall: Sweetness overload. I bought the next three books. Whoops.
While still being resonant with a modern young adult outlook, this book is so sweetly, charmingly pure and wholesome. By that I mean, is there some language? Yes. (It’s nowhere close to my mouth, so the fact that I’m mentioning it at all is sort of miraculous. You’re welcome.) But also it’s like that first crush that finally worked out and resulted in shared feelings and sweet kisses.
Charlie and Nick meet when their school combines multiple years (grades in US speak) into what I’m interpreting as, like, homeroom? British school is strange and mysterious. Nick is a rugby player which is, I guess, the cool kid jock archetype, and Charlie is a smaller, younger nerdy guy who is also apparently well-liked throughout the school. They’re just nice. Thoughtful. Considerate. Characters that you can’t possibly feel bad about being happy for them. They become friends, even though their personal friend groups don’t mesh well at all, and Charlie develops a huge crush while Nick starts to wonder WTF is going on with these feelings he’s having.
If you like the nostalgia of those first crush-to-love feelings, or people standing up for other people, or high school friends adding drama (with the best of intentions, of course!), and you don’t totally hate graphic novels, this is an absolutely lovely, fast read.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Netflix series is really lovely to watch, so if you don’t love graphic novels but you might like a show, then watch it! But the book is a little bit different – Charlie has a little brother, his only friend thus far presented is Tao, the girls’ school doesn’t really come into play, etc. Not surprising for a book to show transition, but because the book is illustrated, the show adheres to it better than most books. So far. I’ll update you after Volume 2 comes in.
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