I have tried multiple times to start the first book in the Heartstopper series. However, I learned that my trick of “starting on a random page to see if it can grab me” did not work. This book is one you must start with page one and work your way through it. And actually, one should read it slowly as, even though there is little text, and frankly little traditional action, you do not want to rush it. There is a lot going on and sometimes it is subtle.
Alice Oseman based the Heartstopper graphic novels on the Charlie and Nick characters from Solitaire (which was told by Nick’s sister, Tori). This series tells the story how the two have the relationship they would have in this novel. And that journey started when Boy Meets Boy. And Boy (Nick) thinks Boy (Charlie) is cute but believes that he does not have a chance with him. Or does he? The ins and outs of two boys trying to figure things out is the bottom line of this book. There are laughing moments, crying moments, realistic moments, and all the other possible moments. There are doubts, first kisses, and understanding. The publisher review comments: “It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger” and I could not have said it better myself (though I just tried).
However, even as good as this book is, there are a few darker moments, and does have a few places/actions/events that could trigger the reader. If there is any complaint that I have, it is that it can get a smidgen “meet cute” at times, but it is a solid, comfortable read. Yet, due to concept, context, and some language, I would go with ages 14 and up as a reader (though slightly younger would be fine, if you know the readers comfort level).