“Nick and Charlie! Are you two coming, or… Oh. You’re being gay. Good job. Carry on.”
This is the third volume of Heartstopper, the story of Nick and Charlie. In this, they take a trip to Paris, deal with a lot of judgement, struggle with coming out and having some serious relationship conversations. Our boys are growing up and I’m not ready.
I was always going to pick this up because I adore Alice’s work, but I picked this up when I did because Alice did a tour event in my favourite Waterstones (Newcastle), where she was brilliantly chaired by Tsam and Martha with loads of interesting and insightful questions. and after finishing the event I wanted to read it so much. I started it one morning before work and I didn’t want to put it down to get dressed and be an adult.
The recap of the previous volumes in diary entries at the start is brilliant: very useful for people like me who have the remembering skills of a deceased goldfish. As always, I loved the writing and the drawings. Alice is the most talented of all the humans (if she weren’t so utterly lush I would have to hate her).
Volume 3 is set in Paris which was really cool. There are places in this volume that I recognise; places where Husband and I took photos together many years ago that Nick and Charlie are taking photos now. My heart.
The teachers in this book are just the best; one helping Nick with his feelings, and the two who take them on the trip. It’s refreshing to see teachers being excellent humans in a YA book. Also, these teachers have this whole side story going on, and I am going to be needing more of this (much, much more). There is also a lot going on with their friends. I love Tara and Darcy who are hugely supportive of the boys. I really love how there is other stuff happening in their lives and their friends lives, and their relationship isn’t just shown in a vacuum.
Not everything in this book is rainbows and smiles though. Nick’s brother is an absolute arse and I wanted to throttle him (ideally with his own entrails, but I’ll take whatever is to hand). They are facing some prejudice whilst navigating the minefield that is coming out as a couple. Both are realising that coming out is something that they have to do over and over again, and it isn’t always easy. Charlie is opening up about some mental health issues, which was heart-breaking but beautifully dealt with.
I always knew this was going to be amazing: I loved the first two volumes, and Alice is yet to write a book I don’t enjoy. I just love the world Alice has created here (yes, I know it’s technically the real world. Shush.) and being here again is like cuddling up with a warm drink in a fluffy blanker. Nick and Charlie are the most adorable boys, they give me all of the warm fuzzy feelings and I would kill for them. Although highly lacking in Nellie, this is my favourite volume so far and I absolutely cannot wait for more.