Gr 8 Up–Young love—with all its awkwardness, tenderness, and raw emotions—blossoms between two teenagers who appear to be worlds apart. The only openly gay boy in his British all-boys grammar school, sensitive Charlie was bullied when he came out, but things have settled down, and he is seeing someone: Ben, who hooks up with Charlie but isn't out and won't tell anyone about their relationship. When Charlie is assigned to sit next to Nick, he begins falling for the older boy. He's sure it's hopeless—popular "rugby lad" Nick seems to have more in common with Charlie's tormentors. But Nick, who has always assumed he was straight, begins to question his identity—and to realize how bewildering and wonderful love can be. Based on a webcomic, this graphic novel centers on two secondary characters from Oseman's debut prose novel, Solitaire, set before the events of this story. The sweet, two-color, manga-inspired art seems simplistic at first glance, but detailed expressions convey the boys' longing, uncertainty, and joy. Quirky dialogue (with some profanity) and a font that mimics handwriting add to the adorkability factor. VERDICT Realistic yet uplifting, this tale of self-discovery will make readers' hearts skip a beat as they root for Charlie and Nick.—Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT
Praise for the Heartstopper series:
"Absolutely delightful. Sweet, romantic, kind. Beautifully paced. I loved this book." Rainbow Rowell, author of Carry On
"You'll smile watching Charlie and Nick open up to one another, and sigh as they tiptoe into romance... falling in love doesn't get more charming than this." Ngozi Ukazu, New York Times bestselling author of Check, Please!
* "Nick and Charlie's lighthearted and tender romance is delightful, and the genuine heart present in the characters makes for a wholesome and uplifting ride... Incredibly lovable from start to finish. " Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Realistic yet uplifting, this tale of self-discovery will make readers' hearts skip a beat." School Library Journal
"The romance and realistic fiction will draw readers in to this sweet story." Booklist
"Will win readers with its sweet romance, its queer-friendly storyline, and its light-touch relationship drama....This graphic novel lives up to its heart-stopper title." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A warm, comfortable story of fledgling love." Publishers Weekly
"The storytelling moves effortlessly from tearful poignance to laugh-worthy moments to stirring romance." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Not only does Oseman imbue Charlie and Nick with plenty of charm and vulnerability, she also treats them (and their interior worlds) with a level of understanding and care that elevates the story, blending the genres of teen romance and coming-of-age in a highly moving manner. The resulting product is an understated exploration of love and self, full of quiet joy." The AV Club
"A must-read for fans of slice-of-life high-school manga like Nio Nakatani's Bloom into You." Booklist
Mismatched British schoolboys fumble their way toward romance.
Charlie is a waifish year 10 (equivalent to ninth grade) who is popular despite some taunting and social backlash for coming out at Truham Grammar School for Boys. Year 11 schoolmate Nick is a red-blooded rugby player with a warm demeanor and hunky exterior. When the two are paired in a vertical classroom experiment, Charlie develops an immediate crush on presumably straight Nick, and Nick craves more and more time with Charlie both on campus and off. As the two veer toward a mutual romance, they individually struggle through wondering how to make it come to fruition, questioning if it’s even possible, and deciding whether a first boy-boy crush is a definite proclamation of gayness. Organic frame borders and fragmented panels underscore the respective action on the spreads (sweet and tender moments, run-ins with homophobic jerks) and prevent the visual graphics from going aesthetically stale. Handwritten text reinforces the lens of humanity through which Oseman spins this to-be-continued story. Crisp, clear-cut font is reserved for tech moments when back-and-forth texting is the storytelling vehicle. Charlie and Nick appear white, and there is ethnic diversity in the supporting cast. Fans of Oseman’s debut, Solitaire (2015), will enjoy this story that centers on protagonist Tori’s younger brother, Charlie; however, this volume stands alone and will engage readers new to her work.
An adorable diary of love’s gut punches. (Graphic novel. 12-16)