Book Review: “Heartstopper” Volume 3

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I’ve reviewed the previous Heartstopper volumes and the Netflix tv show adaptation. Read those reviews here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2022/05/04/tv-show-review-netflixs-heartstopper/, here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/06/22/five-graphic-novels-to-read-for-pride/ and here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2022/02/22/heartstopper-vol-2-is-a-heartwarming-tale/. So it was only a matter of time before I reviewed Heartstopper Volume 3. And Volume 3 did not disappoint. This graphic novel focuses on Nick and Charlie’s school trip to Paris. Nick and Charlie are still figuring out to navigate their relationship which isn’t entirely ou. They are anxious about the potential reactions from classmates and family members. There are also hints of awkwardness over their sexual attraction to one another, but their hesitance to “consummate.” In addition, Nick becomes worried about Charlie’s eating habits or his lack of eating. Volume 3 also focuses on other queer relationships like Tao and Elle, and Mr. Ajayi and Mr. Farouk. Much like Nick and Charlie, Tao and Elle are friends but Tao has a crush on Elle that he is scared of sharing with her. Mr. Ajayi and Mr. Farouk are teacher chaperones for the Paris trip, but they seem to be becoming more than colleagues.

I loved that so many of the characters in the graphic novel were LGBTQ+ and it had a diverse cast of characters. Although Charlie and Nick are white cisgender MLM protagonists (a group that certainly is marginalized but also receives the most representation). However, there are many queer characters of color; Elle is a Black trans girl, Tao is Asian, Tanya is Black and lesbian, Darcy is also a lesbian, Mr. Ajayi is queer and Black, and Mr. Farouk is queer and Middle Eastern. I also appreciated that mental illness addressed the volume as well, something that is important for teenagers to know about. So it was great the see this representation in a young adult graphic novel. It wasn’t romanticized either.

I also still enjoy the art style of Heartstopper in Volume 3. I love the vibrant yellow color of the graphic novel and the illustration of Charlie’s postcard from Paris to his sister in the UK. Volume Three was also romantic. For example, Nick speaks fluent French and uses it to flirt with Charlie. Alas, I need to mention one more time, that the setting is Paris! I’ve noticed that Heartstopper Volume 3 is the second Young Adult realistic fiction book in a series about an MLM teen relationship where Paris is part of the setting. It is, after all, the city of love.

This volume was not that exciting or the most fast-paced of books, but I was not bored reading it. These are characters that I have become attached to, and I want to see what happens to them. I would recommend the series as a whole and this specific volume after the first two volumes which provide important context.

Heartstopper Volume 3. Alice Oseman. Graphix. 2020. Hardcover. 351 Pages.

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