Our latest Book Club meet up was last Thursday, a week later than usual as we were both away in London for YALC the week before. We decided to read Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman for July, a graphic novel developed from her webcomics. You can still read Heartstopper online for free if you wish to! We are continuing using the Google form responses in our Book Club posts to get direct thoughts from people who have read it – those who have both been to Book Club or can’t make it but still want to join the conversation.
We had a smaller group at Book Club this month but still had a wonderful little time! Heartstopper: Volume One follows Charlie and Nick, two teenage boys at secondary school who are seated next to each other for the first time in a new class. They quickly become friends and clearly have feelings for each other. It also has a wonderful little array of side characters who really add to it and I hope become bigger in the rest of the story! We all loved Nick’s dog, Nellie – truly the best character!
The lowest rating this received was a 4 star but the group mainly rated it 5 stars. It was loved by everyone and the only negatives were absolutely tiny things. It’s always fab to have everyone gush over a book – the meet up was basically just a bunch of us saying how adorable Nick and Charlie are!
LGBTQ+/Queer themes and representation in Heartstopper: Volume One
We all agreed it was lovely to have a book which shows such a lovely relationship built from a healthy, caring friendship. Seeing Nick’s confusion surrounding his sexuality was really touching and when he ended up seeing it as knowing he likes Charlie even though he’s only liked girls before was really lovely! It’s a side of bisexuality rarely shown. Here’s some direct quotes from people who joined in this month!
“Alice is brilliant, in all her books, of including a range of representation that always feels real – never forced. She really does show the world many people live in. I particularly loved the representation of bisexuality which we don’t get very often, and especially so with male character.” – Jen – Twitter | Instagram
“I bloody loved it. I loved how the relationship formed in an adorable way – too often in YA, LGBTQ+ people only tend to fall in love after serious adversity. More cutesy gay YA please!!!!” – Kimi – Twitter | Instagram
“I thought it was good rep and just really cute and sweet. It felt real.” – Gabby – Twitter
“It was really soft and cute, my stonecold heart felt things! I also liked that it explored a character who knew their sexuality and a character who had to explore and question it. Provided a nice variety.” – Lauren – Twitter | Instagram
“So pure and so wholesome!!! The rep was really great and I like that it showed 2 very different lgbtq+ experiences. Charlie being so sure of his sexuality, and then seeing the other side of this with Nick and watching him figure it all out. It was nice to read a story that wasn’t some big dramatic love story, it felt very real and very tangible and I think it’s something lots of people could relate to or at the very least get something out of reading it.” – Charlotte – Twitter | Instagram
We also asked more generally for any opinions on the book, reasons for the star rating etc. We spoke about this at Book Club. A couple of people said they had to get used to the art style but once they got into the book they really liked it and it definitely fit the story and narration too. Most people agreed the art and story were beautifully intertwined and complimented each other perfectly. Here’s some more direct opinions!
“It was nice to see a developing relationship between two young boys that was healthy and not filled with toxic masculinity.” – Gabby – Twitter
Thank you to everyone who came to Book Club and who joins in however they can! We truly appreciate everything you do and we are super proud and happy to have such a lovely bunch joining us to chat LGBTQ+ books!
Next month we are reading…Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman! We all enjoyed the first so much that we have decided to do the second volume for this month. It’s also only three weeks til our next meet up instead of four so we decided on a shorter one. The date of the next meet up is Thursday 29 August at 7pm, Chapter One Books in Manchester!
Let us know if you’ll be joining this month!