Wholesome LGBT love story
Charlie is a 14/15 year old boy at an all boys school. He’s open with the fact that he is gay, and although he was bullied for a while, things are starting to calm down. There’s a guy named Ben that he makes out with in hidden corridors at school, but he’s tired of being used. Charlie is a little lost in life in general, as we all are around that age. Then he meets Nick, who is about 16 and a year above him in school. Nick’s a big guy, popular and on the rugby team, but seems generally nice. They’re assigned to the same homeroom and sit next to each other, and their slow burn from strangers to friendship to romance take up most of volume one. Nick invites Charlie to try out for Rugby because he’s quick, and Charlie invites Nick to hang out with his friends because honestly, Nick’s friends kinda suck.
Their friendship grows and Charlie falls hard for Nick, and Nick keeps finding excuses for why he has to hang out with Charlie. After dealing with a homophobic “friend,” Nick finally snaps and realizes he’s interested in Charlie romantically even though he’s never consider himself anything other than straight before. Nick defends Charlie when he’s being assaulted by his semi-ex, Ben, and from that moment on he really begins to see how important Charlie is to him.
The romance in this is very realistic and sweet. The whole book can be described as a happy sigh. The slow burn was well done, the characters are all likeable, and you are rooting for the two to get together the whole time. Overall a total feel good story.
In volume 2, we explore more of Charlie and Nick’s relationship. They’re entirely into one another, sneaking off to kiss all the time, but the whole relationship aspect is very hard for Nick to come to terms to. He really likes Charlie, he confesses his devotion to him often and his character is written so genuinely, you absolutely believe it as the reader. That being said, Nick is finding himself interested in a male for the first time in his life, and he’s struggling with defining both who he is and how comfortable he is admitting this and ‘coming out’ to people he knows. Charlie is completely understanding to what Nick is going through and is willing to wait for him to be ready, even if it does bother him a little. There’s a very touching scene where Nick finally gets the guts to come out to his mom and tell her he thinks he’s bisexual, and she responds well. All the parents in this book are great and very supportive of their kids sexual identities, which is great. Volume 2 brings the reader a lot of making out but that’s paired with excellent communication between the couple, which is fantastic for those reading this in that age range. The more teens learn about communicating in relationships, the less terrible new adult books we have where they have to learn about it as twenty-somethings.
Volume three wasn’t available for me to order online just yet but I am waiting joyfully for it. This series is sweet, romantic and makes you believe in cute, heartwarming love again.
Title: Heartstoppers (Volumes 1 & 2)
Author: Alice Oseman
Pages: 288 // 297
ISBN: 9781444951387 // 9781444951400
Three Descriptors: Wholesome, hopeful, charming
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