Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: September 2016
Source: paperback (purchased)

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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...
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The first volume of Alice Oseman's collection of graphic novels, Heartstopper, is a short and sweet book that will certainly warm your heart. This book series originated in the webcomic that the author started in 2016, about two characters from her book Solitaire. After having it available on both Tumblr and Tapas, Oseman decided to self publish the first part of her comic: she was surprised by the number of people who adhered to her project. After that, the book was picked up by Hodder Children's Books and is currently on its third installment. Heartstopper talks about Nick and Charlie, two boys that go to the same boys-only Grammar School. They are very different people, with different personalities, ages, and interests and they don't even flow in the same social channels. That is, until one day, by chance, they are sat together in a class and their paths finally crossed. Quickly, a beautiful and awkward friendship starts to bloom. Nick and Charlie hold each other up through some complicated situations, all the while they are getting to know each other.

I don't want to talk a lot about this book because it would spoil your reading experience but there are a few things that I can tell you. There are some big and important themes in this book in regards to the LGBTQ+ community. My perspective as a heterosexual white cis female may not be the most accurate but I feel that this book portrays issues that people go through when coming out or coming to terms with their own sexuality. I believe that it is very important to "normalize" this  - not that it isn't normal, I just believe many people in society just don't see it as such - especially regarding young people, when they may feel that they are alone, just because they don't conform to the norm. Seeing Nick come to terms with his sexuality and discovering more about himself warmed my heart, we all need to be able to look within and should not be ashamed of whatever we find there.

Oseman also portrays how much the outer perception we have of others may not correspond in the slightest to the truth. I love to see societal tropes challenged and I loved to see how a relationship blooms from the ground up, all built on friendship, trust, and mutual understanding. This was the perfect book to get over my book slump and I can't wait to read the next installments and have my heart stolen again!

Also, please give Alice Oseman some love! 💕

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