Heartstopper Vol. 2 and 3 by Alice Oseman

My Rating: 5 stars X2

I read the first volume of Heartstopper last year and adored it. But I’ve also read chapters on Tumblr (out of order), so I knew I would. These two volumes contain more of the excellence I’ve come to expect from Oseman. As the with the first volume, I’ve read most of what was in these volumes before. But again, reading it in order is a great experience. Context really helps you understand things–who would have thought?

The second volume deals with the aftermath of the boys’ kiss at the end of the first. Both are freaking out for their own reasons, and it was kind of adorable even though I also felt bad. But then they communicate and everything comes out okay! I really appreciate what a healthy relationship Oseman has created. A lot of relationships in YA literature are…not great. But this is just so wholesome and sweet. And yes, Nick and Charlie run into issues in their relationship. Everyone does. But they communicate and work it out together. Charlie is so supportive of Nick as he’s figuring out his sexuality. And Nick is so concerned about Charlie being uncomfortable keeping their relationship a secret for a bit. It’s just great!

I also appreciate how Oseman handled Nick figuring out his sexuality. The conversations he has about it with Charlie and Darcy are so lovely. Oseman emphasizes that it’s okay to not have it all figured out immediately. Discovering your sexuality can take time, and I love that Nick is given the space to do that. She also emphasizes that you can come out when you’re ready, not when other people think you should or because you feel pressured by other people being out. That’s something important that I think sometimes gets ignored in real life.

Volume three features their school trip to Paris, which is just ❤❤❤. There is so much fluff, and it is beautiful. But Charlie’s eating disorder also gets highlighted in this volume. This is what originally drew me to Charlie as a character back when I read Solitaire. Oseman handles this topic so well. It starts off quite subtle, almost barely noticeable, and steadily grows until it becomes a major problem. Which is exactly what happens in real life. It’s so rare to see representation of a man with an eating disorder, so I really appreciate the representation here. It’s important for people to know this isn’t just a disease that affects women. It’s clear from the end of this volume that we’ve only touched the surface of this issue and will be seeing more of it in the rest of the series. I’m confident that Oseman will continue to handle it in a excellent manner.

Overall, Heartstopper is a beautiful graphic novel series that combines adorable fluff with serious issues teenagers face. I highly recommend it to anyone of any age. Can’t wait for volume four to be back in my library!

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