By: Amy Lawton

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Graphic Novel “HeartStopper” by Alice Oceman has been gaining popularity since its publication in February of 2019. It has sold over one million copies and won Waterstones book of the year award in 2022 and that’s just talking about the first book. The book follows the highschool life of two young men discovering who they are as well as who they would like to date. It is a sweet love story between characters Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring who battle not only their own feelings, but bullies and homophobic peers. On April 22nd of 2022, Netflix released a TV series version of the novel which quickly gained popularity, making Top ten on Netflix within two days. It also gained a 4.9 on RottenTomato.

Reading just the first book in the four book series, I found myself smiling the entire time. The wholesome story leaves readers wanting more. As soon as I finished reading, I had the urge to purchase the second part. The art style adds to its charm and somehow, without any words being spoken, conveys the idea that everytime Charlie and Nick look at each other their hearts are stopping. In contrast, the television series uses music among other things to convey this feeling. It adds elements of animation, such as cartoon hearts above a character’s head, to add the perfect amount of tribute to the graphic novel version. Personally, I prefer the graphic novel version over the Netflix series, however there is a certain charm to this version as well. While this book is a joy to read, there is a greater depth to it than just entertainment. The book is a way for members of the LGBTQ+ community to have something that they can relate to. They can read the book and feel seen and accepted for who they are. This is something especially important for those who don’t have the supportive family and friends they deserve.

When interviewed by Vox Alice said, “I want Heartstopper to inspire young people – especially LGBTQ+ young people – to be whoever they want to be, and to believe that they can find happiness and find love and find friendship…”. If you prefer to read your books digitally, Alice Oceman also published her novel on an app called Webtoon. The app is free to download and provides readers with all different varieties of graphic novels. Heartstopper has gained 1.8 million subscribers on the app.

Positive Reviews of Heartstopper are widely spread:

  • Rainbow Rowell– “Absolutely delightful. Sweet, romantic, kind. Beautifully paced. I loved this book.”
  • Zoё Rose Bryant– “Heartstopper is revolutionary representation for LGBTQ+ teens, offering affectionately acted and wittily written escapist entertainment from start-to-finish.”
  • Gay Times– “The queer graphic novel we wish we had in highschool.”
  • Julio J.– “Incredibly emotional for all kind of viewers! You can be lgtb+ friendly or fully straight but you haven’t heart if you dislike this…”

To learn more about Alice Oceman, and or Heartstopper, you can visit her website

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