cover image Heartstopper


Alice Oseman. Graphix, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-61743-6

When lanky, openly gay Charlie Spring, 14, is seated next to burly rugby lad Nick Nelson, 16, in a new “vertical class group” at their English all-boys school, they form a friendship that appears unlikely to those around them, quickly becoming a central part of each other’s lives. Charlie, having recently realized that the boy he thought might be his boyfriend is just using him for casual make-out sessions, starts falling for Nick, though it’s presumed that Nick is straight. Nick, meanwhile, starts to examine how he feels about Charlie, and what that means about how he sees himself. A leisurely pace and focus on everyday events—school, sports, hangouts—allows the characters’ relationship to develop in a natural, relatable way. Art by Oseman (I Was Born for This) is loosely drawn in black, white, and a cool gray-green that fits the story’s quiet, casual vibe; facial expressions, particularly Nick’s, effectively communicate what the characters find difficult to say. While the familiar-feeling school romance doesn’t break new ground, it does deliver a warm, comfortable story of fledgling love starring two shippable leads who will be familiar to Oseman fans. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12–up. [em](May) [/em]