Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 26. Has an “Author’s Note”

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 9. A book that sparks joy, 33. A bilingual character, 40. A book with photographs inside (though it’s a stretch!), 43. An author who’s published in more than one genre, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 52. Published in 2022.

EEEEEEE. I know I’ve never actually taken the time to review the Heartstopper series’ books individually, but I hope that my excitement for it has ooozed out when I mention it here and there. I LIVE for the release of these sweet, sweet books.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of picking up Alice Oseman’s darling work, start with Heartstopper Volume One. The internet comics turned graphic novels tell the story of Nick and Charlie, two boys who go from rugby buds to boyfriends and have the most heart-melting romance. Volume four takes us through a journey with Charlie’s mental health, navigating the words I love you, and speaking up for yourself even when words are hard to say.

As I’ve mentioned in previous book lists, the thing I love most about Heartstopper is what a wholesome, feel-good story it always is. It’s real: there are negatives, especially negative people, that hurt Charlie and Nick because of their relationship and their sexuality. But a lot of these representations are just really healthy relationships and positive examples of same-sex couples. I don’t think you see that kind of representation enough in literature, and I hope we see more of it in the coming year. What we read about lgbtq couples shouldn’t always be negative: I think it’s important to show them in a positive, healthy light, too.

I sobbed through much of this book, to be frank. Even in just two colors, I can’t help but tear up over the images of love, family, and even struggle that Oseman always nails in her depictions. Charlie’s struggle with his mental health and eating disorder was gut-wrenching, but it was handled so well within the pages, with true mindfulness that his story is not everyone’s…I cannot sing the praises of this book, and this series, enough. Every story Oseman puts forth hits on an important topic of conversation (coming out, mental health, codependency, homophobia, family relationships) in a way that is met with support and warmth by her characters, but reality and a great message throughout. It’s a talent, and I think it’s a huge part of what makes her work so appealing to such a large group of readers.

To say I squealed with delight upon reading *the* very author’s note in question for this prompt would be an understatement. Heartstopper is being made into a Netflix series! I simply cannot wait to see this play out on screen. The wholesomeness is just going to be too much to take. THRILLED. The cast is adorable.

Heartstopper comes with my highest praise. I know it probably seems exaggerated after such a long string of five star reads this month, but I really love this series and I always have. Check it out if you haven’t already, especially with Valentine’s coming up!

Have a great week (and month – happy February!) friends!

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