Wrap Your Heart Around the YA Comics Behind Netflix’s Heartstopper

Wrap Your Heart Around the YA Comics Behind Netflix’s Heartstopper
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Back on April 22, 2022, Netflix released the adorable, swoon-worthy and inclusive new series, Heartstopper. For the LGBTQI+ community, it was hurrahed as the romance movie many needed in their teens — even dreamt of. But little did we all know that Heartstopper was actually based on a book, or more accurately, a webcomic by Alice Oseman.

If you’ve loved the Netflix series and want more, or you have no idea what everyone is talking about but want to find out, here’s everything you need to know about the Heartstopper books.

Potential spoiler warning: Read on at your own risk.

What is Heartstopper?

Charlie and Nick's first kiss is very similar to what happens in the Heartstopper comics
Image: Netflix

Heartstopper is based on a webcomic by Alice Oseman that was turned into a graphic novel and is now a Netflix series. That’s why you’ll see all those adorable animations around Charlie’s head whenever he looks at Nick or the two share a kiss.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Heartstopper is a new Netflix TV series set in the coastal town part of Hente, which is located in Kent, England. The plot follows the romance between the sweet, sensitive and openly gay Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), and rugby player, Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), who happens to be one of the most popular guys at the all-boys school they attend. Why popularity and football are always paired together will forever be a mystery in our minds.

Heartstopper is another one of those awesome self-publishing journeys that have given rise to popular series such as Beth Reekles’ The Kissing Booth and even E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

Oseman originally started uploading the webcomic to her Tumblr and Tapas accounts back in 2016, before she decided to self-publish physical copies of her first two chapters. Two years later, she was offered a publishing deal by Hachette Children’s Group and the rest is history.

As you would expect from a series called Heartstopper, it follows how the two fall in love — with a few blips along the way. Namely, a certain scene when love interest Nick has to search for an “Am I gay?” quiz on Google. Bless his cotton socks.

But running in tandem with this beautifully queer love story are a couple others. There’s Tao, who’s best friends with Charlie but begins to grow anxious when he notices his friend group is drifting apart. While another character in their friend group, Elle, has moved to an all-girls school after coming out as transgender and befriends two girls (Tara and Darcy) who have been keeping their relationship in the closet.

Sorry to interrupt for a moment but where was this representation when we were all in high school, figuring out our sexualities for the first time? Instead, the closest we got was that one semester of sex-ed in science class and an uncomfortable cartoon doco on puberty that flashes back to the forefront of your mind every so often.

Will there be a season 2 of Netflix’s Heartstopper TV series?

Tao from Heartstopper
Image: Netflix

You betcha! In fact, Netflix has confirmed that there will two more seasons to come for the young lovebirds. But alas, season two’s release date remains a mystery for now.

Next season will likely see the lovers head to Paris (as per Volume Three) and deal with all sorts of trials and tribulations, including Nick’s homophobic family. This was acknowledged by the author in an interview with Digital Spy: “If we do get a future season, we’ll be moving into Volume Three of the books.”

As for even more seasons? We have hope, folks. That’s right, Oseman reckons that “It would probably [take] four seasons to cover the full story.” So yes, depending on how the screenwriters pace out the next couple of seasons, we might be treated to a little extra Heartstopper before the series wraps for good.

A cool thing about Oseman’s graphic novels is that her stories take part in the same world. This means we might get to explore other significant LGBTQI+ relationships in the show, like Tara and Darcy’s or maybe even Tao and Elle’s will-they-or-won’t-they love story.

How to read the Heartstopper books in order

Heartstopper books are actually comics
Image: Lifehacker Australia

Thankfully, the graphic novels have been conveniently named Heartstopper Volume One, Two, Three and Four respectively. This makes it super easy for anyone who wants to read the series in order (unlike Julia Quinn‘s Bridgerton series).

In Volume One, Charlie and Nick meet for the first time and become friends. Then in Volume Two, Nick begins to develop feelings for Charlie and starts questioning his sexuality.

In the third volume, Nick has clearly worked out his feelings and the pair are now a couple. However, the two begin to navigate their first problems within the relationship and must work it out during a school trip to Paris. C’est la vie.

In Volume Four, Nick prepares to come out to his father, while Charlie grapples with an eating disorder.

And if you thought there were no more books to come — you’ll be happily mistaken. The fifth and final volume of Nick and Charlie’s love story will be released around February 2023. Here’s hoping our little bebes keep it together in the last book.

Where can I read the Heartstopper graphic novel series?

heartstopper netflix
Image: Netflix

Can’t get another of Narlie? Or Chick? (Who gets to decide these official ship names, anyway?) Then, you’ll simply need to pick up all of the graphic novels. Yes, all of them.

You can grab a physical copy of Heartstopper below:

And if your heart hasn’t been reduced to mush after binging the Netflix show and reading all four volumes of the Heartstopper books, then you’ll be stoked to hear it ain’t over yet.

To tide you over until Volume Five hits shelves, Oseman has blessed us with a lil bonus novella dubbed Nick and Charlie. In this heartfelt story, Charlie and Nick wonder how their relationship will survive once Nick leaves for university.

You can shop it from either of the retailers below:

There’s even a prose novel on Charlie’s endearingly monotone sister, Tori Spring. It’s called Solitaire and it’s about “the time she had friends”. In this book, Charlie and Nick are background characters, allowing Tori to step into her own story.

Grab a copy below:

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