Review: Heartstopper Vol. 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Review: Heartstopper Vol. 1-4 by Alice OsemanHeartstopper by Alice Oseman
Published by Graphix on May 5, 2020
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
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Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. A sweet and charming coming-of-age story that explores friendship, love, and coming out.

Shy and softhearted Charlie Spring sits next to rugby player Nick Nelson in class one morning. A warm and intimate friendship follows, and that soon develops into something more for Charlie, who doesn't think he has a chance.

Please Note: I decided to review the first 4 volumes in this series in one go because, collectively, I loved them, but I don’t have a lot to say about them individually. Most of the book info for this review was pulled from book one, including the release date and page count.

I’ve been waiting a long time to read these. I was hoping to binge them all, but once volume four was out, I couldn’t wait any longer. I read the first four in just a handful of hours, and I’m already desperate to re-read them and can’t wait to get my hands on volume five when it comes out.

I loved these characters so much. They all felt so real and so relatable. I loved Nellie!! I loved the progression of Nick’s character arc, the way he came to terms with his identity. His character growth was great. I loved Charlie, but I felt so bad for everything he went through. I loved the friend group – I wish I had a friend group as amazing as this one! I also loved that the adults all had stories and parts to play. I loved the teachers, especially!

I loved the overall plot. This series had the perfect balance of angst and fluff, hurt and comfort, serious moments and silly moments. It had me going “awwww” on one page, then crying on the next. Book three definitely started to take a slightly darker, more serious turn, and I loved the way the author handled everything. The way Nick accepted that he could be there for Charlie, but that Charlie needed more help than he could give; and the way Charlie accepted that he needed help.

There was so much representation in these books, both across the sexuality spectrum, gender spectrum, diversity spectrum, and mental health spectrum. It was amazing to see. I especially loved how they all kept correcting everyone who said Nick was gay when he’s bi – that matters so, so much.

Overall, I just really loved this series and I can’t wait to see how it ends. Highly recommend!


Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Guts by Raina TelgemeierGuts by Raina Telgemeier
Series: Smile #3
Published by Graphix on September 17, 2019
Pages: 213
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face -- and conquer -- her fears.

As a bookseller, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Raina Telgemeier from the droves of kids who come in asking for her books. Guts was the first book of hers that I’ve read – and it certainly won’t be the last.

Guts was so ridiculously relatable, I just can’t even… Reading it was like an emotional rollercoaster. I swear, Raina was telling my story, not her own. I found myself nodding in agreement a lot… And also crying a lot. Very early in the beginning, Raina described herself as being a “Nervous kid. Self-conscious. Shy. Quiet… Most of the time” – the “most of the time” being the moments when she was talking about something she was excited for/obsessed with. This was 100% relatable.

Another really relatable thing? When Raina was being bullied by Michelle. The few times Raina lost her temper and lashed out at Michelle, RAINA got yelled at for being disruptive, but Michelle didn’t get yelled at for the bullying. I found this INFURIATING because it happened to me ALL THE TIME in elementary school.

When Raina goes to the therapist for the first time, there’s this great visual representation of what goes on in your head when you have depression and anxiety. Without giving away too many spoilers, the therapist asks Raina why she’s there, in her own words. The illustration shows ALL this stuff going through Rainas mind, but she just says “…I dunno.” This was suuuuuch a mood. Sometimes, it’s so hard to articulate what’s going on in your mind when you’re dealing with depression/anxiety/etc, so this was just SO SO relatable.

Also, I never realized fear of vomit was a thing until I read this, and it explains a lot!

So yeah.. As a reader, I highly recommend this to anyone who deals with mental health issues. It was just SO beautifully done, I can’t even put it into words. And as a children’s bookseller, I HIGHLY recommend this one to those who enjoyed Raina’s other books – you’ll DEFINITELY enjoy this one, too. It’s especially great for kids who are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues. It can be difficult for kids to talk to adults about this kind of stuff for various reasons, and I think this book is the perfect gateway for kids to open this discussion. I think it will help them feel less alone.


Favorite Quotes:

“Can you be sick even if you’re not sick? Can you be healthy even if you hurt?”

“Thoughts can exist. Feelings can exist. But words do not exist.”

“It sounds like you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life!”

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

“You … only have control over yourself … “