The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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REVIEW: Heartstopper touching hearts through graphic arts

News Senior Staff Writer Jay Edward’s praises the “Heartstopper” series by Alice Oseman for its strong characterization and inclusive themes. (Graphic Ellie O’Connor)

“Heartstopper” has captured the hearts of thousands and sparked an obsession in many LGBTQ+ youth since the release of the Netflix series in 2022. The series continues following  two young lovers on a journey of self discovery with the release of the newest book, “Heartstopper Vol. 5” as the lovable characters navigate the ups and downs of a relationship.

The graphic novel series by Alice Oseman not only focuses on one couple, but a multitude of different romantic and platonic relationships. The series also covers other issues faced by teenagers like family quarrels, eating disorders, self harm, balancing academics with a busy life and more. The series takes place in England, with the main characters attending either an all boys’ or all girls’ secondary school (high school).

The first book in the series starts off with year 10 student Charlie Spring, a sensitive teen who was outed as gay and bullied the previous year in the library with another boy named Ben. Ben is popular and taking advantage of Charlie. After the first bell rings, Charlie heads to his first class and he meets his new seating partner, Year 11 student Nick Nelson, a kind, athletic and popular student who is captain of the rugby team who Charlie has always assumed to be straight, until the two boys develop a friendship that could be more.

Oseman is a queer author who has also written the book “Solitaire,” which focuses on Charlie’s sister, Tori Spring. Oseman has also written other novels, such as “Radio Silence” and “Loveless.” Both are about queer youth and cover topics of mental health.

The latest release in the “Heartstopper” series dives into how different couples handle the idea of switching a romantic relationship to long distance as well as how to discuss and go about taking a romantic relationship to the next level. The book (and series as a whole) doesn’t just target LGBTQ+ readers, but is applicable to anyone in any kind of romantic relationship who may be going through the topics covered.

The story of “Heartstopper” is one filled with many different characters, all with their own lives and struggles that come together to combine their own stories to make the story of “Heartsopper.” The main story follows two characters who initially find themselves in a slowly escalating friendship when one of the friends catches feelings for the other. Stuck between the line of friendship and romance, the friend has to find out what to do in their seemingly life changing situation.

In addition to Oseman’s five amazing books capturing the eyes of many, she has also aided in the creation of the Netflix series “Heartstopper.” Although the two-season series is a great watch on a rainy day, the true beauty of the show can only be fully appreciated after reading the books. A lot of people say that reading the books is always better than watching the movies, but in the case of “Heartstopper,” this saying is a reality. The books are quick and easy to read and every page is beautifully drawn, so there’s no chance of getting bored or lost midread.

A reason for this is because you can fully visualize everything in the books. Since “Heartstopper” is a graphic novel series, you don’t have to imagine everything like in other books which solely consist of words. Seeing how the cartoons are adapted into a live action series is truly time well spent.

A common criticism of “Heartstopper” is how perfect the main friend group seems. The main friend group is, admittedly, almost too perfect to be true. The characters go out with each other, are almost perfectly diverse and always seem happy whenever they’re with each other. However,  the individuals in this “perfect” friend group have their own lives and personal struggles. Not everyone in this friend group is perfect; in fact, nobody in this group is perfect. They each have unique struggles that they have to deal with or have overcome throughout their lives.

Another criticism the book gets is that it’s only for readers of the LGBTQ+ community, a criticism the books do not deserve. Although it’s true the leading characters in this book are members of the LGBTQ+ community, the books cover teenage life as a whole, making the books not only accessible for young LGBTQ+ youth, but also youth that  aren’t a part of the LGBTQ+ community and even older readers who want to read the series and recall moments from when they were high schoolers.

The plot, inclusivity and visuals make the “Heartstopper” series appealing for not only LGBTQ+ readers, but also a safe haven for all who wish to read.

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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Jay Edwards
Jay Edwards, News Senior Staff Writer
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